If you’ve driven through the heart of Honolulu lately, especially the Kaka’ako area, you’ll notice a few things: construction, homeless and thank goodness for everyone’s sake, art. It was ten years ago when Jasper Wong & Kamea Hadar had an idea and decided to put on a gallery show with their fellow colleagues. The first POW! WOW! gave the public an opportunity to watch artists come together in the moment, to see where their creativity and collaboration could take them. “The show was just a passion project that we as artists wanted to put on for fun, to bring our friends together, to be creative. We felt that Hawaii had a relatively small scene when it came to shows like that so we created our own.” says Hadar. The show was an instant success, but it wasn’t until the last night where the future of POW! WOW! would-be set-in stone. Or in this case cement canvasses. “The final night of the week of the first POW! WOW! some of the artists started jamming together on the wall in the parking lot of the show. We thought to ourselves that murals are a good way to incorporate our 2 founding principles (collaboration & process). Each year the mural aspect of POW! WOW! grew and we accidentally became a mural festival.”
POW! WOW! Founders / photo: @masonrosephoto
This year there will be 80 artists participating at Hawaii’s POW! WOW! Yes, that’s just Hawaii’s POW! WOW! Nowadays they’re worldwide, with 50 festivals scheduled for 2020. “We are in over a dozen cities around the world and have done POW! WOW!'s in places as far as Israel, Katmandu, and even Venice, Italy with over 700 murals painted. The first POW! WOW! had 12 artists and one mural!” Not too shabby for something that blossomed from an “accident”.
Garage at Scott Hawaii / photo: @mrjasperwong
What’s most impressive about POW! WOW! is that art is only part of their motivation. “POW! WOW! is about beautifying and building communities. Connecting with local artists, local people and local businesses is a priority in any city that we go to.” This year when Scott Hawaii was asked to be one of the sponsors they couldn’t refuse. “Kaka’ako is our home. What Kamea and their team are doing for our community is special.” says Kaione Scott. “We were humbled when asked to be a sponsor and leaped at the opportunity to be a part of something that contributes so much to our neighborhood.” When asked why Scott Hawaii was chosen over other local footwear brands Kamea’s answer was simple, “Scott Slippers is an authentic Hawaiian brand that is ingrained into local culture so the partnership was a no-brainer! We couldn't be more excited to have a partner that not only puts slippers on our feet but also is supportive of culture, art, and most importantly building communities for our future generations.”
More than a mural, more than a festival / photo: @lannysphotos
So next time you’re in Kaka’ako be sure to take notice of the art, you’ll undoubtably be impressed. If you would like to keep up with the artist ‘s progress or to find a full schedule of events follow them on Instagram @powwowworldwide. A map of mural locations is also provided so you can check them out while in the midst of their work. And if you do make it down be sure to stop by Scott Hawaii, 1212 Kona Street to see the what’s being created there. You’ll not only be able to see the largest mural POW! WOW! will be doing this year in Honolulu, but also pick up a pair of slippers from Hawaii’s premier footwear brand. Aloha!