Last week, an international community of nearly 100 artists came together for POW WOW Hawai'i 2013 to cover the walls of the Kaka'ako neighborhood in Honolulu with arresting murals and graffiti. POW WOW, organized by artist Jasper Wong, is in its fourth year, and is growing bigger each year. I had the good fortune of being sent to Hawai'i to cover the event for Juxtapoz Magazine, and wanted to take this opportunity to offer a rundown of Bay Area artists' creations for POW WOW.
Mark Bodé is a boss when it comes to comics. Carrying on the legacy of his father, Vaughn Bodé, famous for his Cheech Wizard cartoon character, Mark painted a huge mural representing Hawaiian culture. Working with a team of assistants, his wall was located just outside of Fresh Cafe, an artist hub and headquarters for POW WOW. The Bodé family's characters are prominent in contemporary art history, and young artists often borrow styles and characters from the Bodé oeuvre without even realizing it.
San Jose and San Francisco came together on one wall painted by Poesia (SJ) and APEX (SF), running the length of an entire city block. Working with colorful geometric patterns, these two worked on their wall up until the very last minute of POW WOW, and the results were striking. The building owner requested something abstract, and the artists worked together to create perfectly integrated rainbow patterns that represented both of their styles.
San Francisco illustrator Hannah Stouffer collaborated with Kamea Hadar from Hawai'i to create a lush graphic wall titled Physical Optics. Like many of the collaborative works at POW WOW, it wasn't easy to predict how two very different artists' styles would mesh until their walls were complete. Part of the reason the collaborations were so well-coordinated was the fact that the artists spent a week living together in a big house, sketching, researching, and planning their projects.
Hannah Stouffer and Kamea Hadar
San Francisco's Erik Otto painted a three-panel sunset in his signature style, which "captures the moment where beauty meets chaos." Using both spray paint and house paint, Otto maintained his aesthetics while also representing the beautiful, magical sunsets that can be seen every day off the islands.
POW WOW is so named not only because of the definition of the term (a celebratory meeting) but also for its impact and the reactions it ignites. The "Pow" represents the visceral feeling of seeing murals around every corner in Kaka'ako--stunning displays of color and technical skill -- and "Wow!" sums up the verbal reactions of onlookers. The beauty of this event is that the audience participates in the process, watching the walls come to life as each day passes. Next year's POW WOW planning is already underway, so start booking your tropical art holiday now.
See the finished murals and learn more about POW WOW Hawai'i 2013 at powwowhawaii.com.