Pow Wow Hawaii 2012 Recap by graffuturism
After a long flight home and being able to watch Hawaii disappear in my window from the plane. I started to finally contemplate a bit. Since arriving in Hawaii it seemed like a whirlwind of activity. After trading in my sweatsuit and sneakers for shorts a shirt and flip flops I was ready to get started. Luckily Mike Bam had arrived a couple days before me and had sorted the paint issues so I was able hit the ground running.
Recently being involved with Art Basel Miami I had some idea of what an event like this might entail, but I knew this was far from being Art Basel. Pow Wow Hawaii was more than an art fair or street art festival. I had heard from fellow artists Samuel Rodriguez and Aaaron de la Cruz about Pow Wow Hawaii 2011. So when the opportunity came about to be able to take part in this event, I knew right away I had to check this out. After getting in touch with Jasper Wong who was directing the project and doing some research about last years event I knew this was going to be something special. I had been asked so what is Pow Wow why are you going to Hawaii. I really didn’t know how to answer that question at first. Street art festival, graffiti gathering? It was much more than either of those things. Only after a week in Hawaii with amazing people was I able to grasp what Powwow Hawaii was and is.
After talking to many of the original Pow Wow artists over a beer at the headquarters Fresh Cafe I had learned that last year only 9 artists took part. This year more than 40 artists made the trek and that is not counting all the artists that just showed up. After quadrupling in size you might think that a once close circle of artists might lose some of its closeness during the event. This was far from the case. With a local headquarters established at the local Fresh Cafe the artists were able to congregate exchange stories and rest from long days of painting at a common area. The reoccurring theme that set in day after day was community. The community of artists, the community of blogs such as Arrested motion, Complex, Booooooom, Hypebeast, Acclaim, High Fructose, but most importantly the local community. Volunteers, photographers, Video crews, supporters, partners, hosts, land owners, spectators, and too many more to mention Pow Wow Hawaii had it all. With trans-formative murals taking place around the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu from too many artists to all mention the neighborhood was transformed.
After a couple of days of Mural painting around town the artists finally were able to celebrate with some live painting and collaborating at the opening party at Loft in Space Gallery. From International artists to talented Local artists, graffiti artists, street artists, and so much more. All labels were left at the door and that same concept of community took over. We are very appreciative and lucky to have been a part of such a well organized and important event. After the dust settled the liquor wore off and walls were given there final touches, we celebrated with a traditional luau at the Pow Wow compound on the North Shore. Gracious hosts, amazing food, and old fashion writers bench style circles where legends, rising stars, and everyone in between sat and exchanged black books, stories and a memorable moment we wont all forget.
text by Graffuturism