2020 Marks 10 Years of Pow! Wow!, the Now-Global Street-Art Festival That Originated in Hawai‘i
HONOLULU photographer Aaron K. Yoshino used to work in the neighborhood and passed the murals every day. He began documenting the artwork and other aspects of the festival over the years. Here’s a look back at the history and his favorite moments.
Pow! Wow! creator and lead director Jasper Wong works on his piece for the first Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i. Now the event has grown so much that Wong rarely finds the time to paint during his own events. @mrjasperwong
Before there was Lana Lane, there was Fresh Café on Queen Street, Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i’s old home base. Pow! Wow! co-lead director Kamea Hadar helps stretch a canvas for a live painting show in Fresh Cafe’s event space. @kameahadar
The Pow! Wow! School of Music makes its debut. The inaugural cohort performs at the closing party of the third Pow! Wow!, at Lana Lane. Behind the crowd, artists participate in a “secret walls” live art battle, where they simultaneously freestyle draw on the same shared wall. @powwowschoolofmusic
The corner of Lana Lane. One of my favorite pieces from all the Pow! Wow!s. Australian artist Meggs painted the left; local artist Estria did the right, inspired by the Hawaiian goddess Haumea. Estria used the eldest daughter of another artist, Prime, as the reference for his piece. @houseofmeggs @estria
Pow! Wow! co-lead director Kamea Hadar takes a break from painting his now- iconic mural on Cooke and Pohukaina streets. Over the next few years, Hadar’s murals popped up all over the island, from Kapolei Commons to Pearl Harbor to Lunalilo Street. While the idea of Pow! Wow! is to paint over the previous murals each year, this one has remained. @kameahadar
Christa Wittmier was an early and dedicated supporter of Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i. We all miss her.
During the first few Pow! Wow!s in Hawai‘i, co-lead director Kamea Hadar hosted the artists at his family home in Pūpūkea. Kamea and his brothers would go hunt for pig, cook it in an imu, and host a big party for the artists, sponsors, friends and family. The mannequin was there for the artists to sign.
Everyone unwinding at the Pow! Wow! closing party in Pūpūkea.
California artist Madsteez painting his Elvis tribute wall on an auto body shop at Kamani and Ilaniwai streets. We learned that spray paint sticks better to steel than to concrete bricks. @madsteez
Six months after Pow! Wow! 2014, Jasper gave me a heads- up that the building painted by Honolulu- born O.G. Slick and NYC’s Persue was going to be torn down. It isn’t every day you see one of these pieces removed this way. @og_slick @persue1
Nuns and their students on a Pow! Wow! art field trip, at the corner of Cooke and Auahi streets. I remember the nuns having a friendly conversation with one of the artists, Buff Monster, laughing with him, then moving on. I found it funny that a few weeks after this was taken, the piece had generated quite a bit of controversy because some in the community objected to the demonic character painted by Austrian artist Nychos. It was painted over soon after. @buffmonster @nychos
The wrap party at Lana Lane is always fun. @lanalanestudios
Bay Area-based artist Apexer working on his mural on Cooke Street. @apexer
Artist Scien of the Montreal-based 123klan working on his mural on Pohukaina Street. @123klan
Artist Aaron Kai, from Hilo, working on his mural on Queen Street. @aaronkkai
Hawai‘i-based artist Roxanne Ortiz works on her mural on Cooke Street. @woodenwave
Hawai‘i artist Matthew Tapia, known for lettering (including a 2015 HONOLULU Magazine cover), painting the Howzit! mural at Lana Lane with his assistant, Cashew. @matthewtapia
Japan-based artist ONEQ working on her mural on Auahi Street. @negiyakisoba