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Artists unleash bold visions during Pow Wow Hawai’i
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / email@example.com
Back for a third year, street-art festival Pow Wow Hawai’i has reached a critical phase, with two increasingly impressive installments at its back. Fans now expect to be bowled over, so fest honchos have to show holding power and prove worthy of the enthusiasm.
Organizers have shouldered a big responsibility, but they’re ready. A small army of artists, musicians, teachers and community volunteers has been prepping for the past year. And now, a neighborhood’s worth of walls await the estimated 100 local and international artists who will flood Kakaako with paint.
POW WOW HAWAII 2013
Where: various locations, Kakaako
When: Saturday-Feb. 16
Cost: Free for the street festival; some events require tickets
There are streets to fill and warehouse parties to hold.
“People come in from a point of passion,” said artist Jasper Wong, co-director of Pow Wow Hawai’i, noting that all work for the event is done without pay. Wong originated the festival after conceiving it in Hong Kong, where he operated a gallery — and he’s seen it grow locally, achieving international recognition in its own right.
PUBLIC EVENTS for Pow Wow Hawai’i kick off Saturday with an art show, featuring works by artists from Japan, France, Australia, Hawaii and other countries.
Beginning Monday, much flamboyance and compressed creativity will spill out onto the walls of Kakaako.
Artists who are participating vary wildly. A first-timer this year is Nychos (aka “Nychos The Weird”), a young Austrian who mashes up the tongue-flapping kineticism of Rat Fink hot-rod imagery, classic comic characters, medical illustrations and his own psycho fantasies into wildly graphic, kinetic pieces.
Participating since the first Pow Wow and promising to return for every festival is 123Klan, a Montreal-based, French-originated studio project comprising couple Scien and Mrs. Klor and their two children. Describing themselves as “hyperactive,” 123Klan has created designs for Nike, Stussy, Sony and Wired Magazine. Its graffiti style is colorful, angular and flat, hearkening to the classic styles of outlaw graffiti’s heyday and infused with a gleeful, childlike spirit.
Estria, an internationally known street artist from Honolulu who founded the “Estria Battle,” a nationwide urban art competition, has returned to Hawaii to combine artistic forces with Prime, aka John Hina, Honolulu street artist and figurehead of 808 Urban. Together they will create a mural combining Estria’s preoccupation with ocean life and Prime’s translation of Hawaiian history to contemporary times.
“One unique aspect of Pow Wow is collaboration,” said co-founder Kamea Hadar. “You’ll have five artists working on one wall. … The artists create something as a whole.”
As organizers point out, most patrons of the arts see only a final product. But Pow Wow Hawaii argues that there is “grandeur” in the process, and invites you to observe and engage with artists as they are involved in creating works.
At the Pow Wow finale on Feb. 16, at the organization’s new (and still evolving) Lana Lane Studios, a piece that has been painted live by Pow Wow artists will be “blacked out,” painted over and destroyed. It’s a recognition that street art has a finite life.
The painted buildings of Kakaako may be replaced with high-rise apartments or upscale retailers in the future. But for the present, and in the coming week, public art will thrive.
Pow Wow Hawai’i 2013
Schedule of Events:
» Saturday: Opening art show. Pow Wow Hawai’i begins with a group art show, including gallery pieces by the artists and students of affiliate youth program 808 Urban, 6-10 p.m. at Fresh Cafe and Loft in Space, 831 Queen St.
» Sunday: Refinery Project party and exhibit. North Shore chef/DIY event producer Lan Thai and a crew of creative fellow travelers host the Pow Wow artists for a gathering and artists’ jam, 6-9 p.m. at the Refinery Project, adjacent to Waialua Sugar Mill. refineryproject-hi.com
» Monday-Feb. 16: Street painting. The 100 or so local and international artists of Pow Wow Hawai’i will be painting throughout Kakaako, and onlookers are welcome. DJs and live music will pop up on occasion, too; map at powwowhawaii.com.
» Tuesday-Feb. 16: 1xRUN showcase. Pow Wow artists’ prints will be shown in limited editions, with mural art by Estria and Prime as a centerpiece exhibition. Print-signing and reception, 5-10 p.m. Feb. 16 at Mahoa, 679 Auahi St.
» Wednesday: Artists’ talk. Meet Pow Wow participants, 6-8 p.m. at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Art Department auditorium.
» Thursday: Pow Wow music artist panel. Christian Mochizuki, Compose, Mox and others, 6-8 p.m. at Loft in Space, 831 Queen St. (This date was changed after the original schedule of events was released.)
» Thursday: Pow Wow club night with DJ Neil Armstrong. A dance party featuring Armstrong’s “Sweeet Mixtape 10-year Anniversary,” midnight-2 a.m. at Addiction, the ultra-urban nightclub inside The Modern hotel, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd.
» Feb. 15: Pangea Seed exhibit. Pow Wow joins forces with Pangea Seed to benefit shark protection and the oceans, 6-10 p.m. at the Box Jelly, 307 Kamani St. theboxjelly.com
» Feb. 16: Pow Wow finale. This street/studio party at Pow Wow’s Kakaako workspace is open to all ages, with live art by festival artists, live music, DJs Anton Glamb, Compose and Christian Mochizuki; free admission with a no-host bar, 6 p.m.-midnight at Lana Lane Studios, 432 Keawe St.