Once a year, the walls of Kaka‘ako are painted with vibrant colors that make up the work of creative minds from all over the globe. For Pow!Wow! 2017, we tagged along for a couple of days with artists who use different mediums to create street art: Oakoak, Glazed Paradise, and Dan Witz.

OAKOAK

FLUX: Where are you from?

Oakoak: Saint Étienne, France.

How do you find inspiration?

I walk a lot on the streets and I look everywhere, on the ground, the walls, etc., and sometimes the perfect urban element is [there] and it appears.

How do you know when a piece is done?

When the urban element has a new identity and when people will understand the transformation.

How do you utilize the street environment in your work?

It is the most important thing in my work. I have to play with the street and with the urban elements. I have to give another vision of a plot, box, or everything I find in the street.

Is there a common theme for your pieces?

I like to reference comics and video games of the ’80s or ’90s. Calvin and Hobbes and The Simpsons are my inspiration.

Oakoak Powwow FLUX Hawaii

Oakoak Powwow FLUX Hawaii

Oakoak Powwow FLUX Hawaii

A timelapse of Oakoak painting this artwork:

Break

DAN WITZ 

FLUX: Where are you from?

Dan Witz: I grew up in Chicago. In 1978, I moved to New York City to go to art school. I now live in Brooklyn, New York.

What is your medium? How did you find it?

I’m a realist painter—a devoted student of the old masters. At art school, I assumed, like most of my fellow students, that I’d evolve out of the realism into something hipper and more modern, but I stuck with it. For most of my career, I’ve combined traditional illusionistic painting techniques with transgressive, more contemporary agendas.

How do you find inspiration?

Well, as I said earlier, my goal is to be a part of the contemporary conversation. And as an artist who works on the public commons, I accept a measure of civic responsibility when I put my work out there. So a lot of my themes derive from social and political causes I’m concerned with.

Is there a common theme for your pieces?

Besides my usual weird synthesis of old master realism and social maladjustment, a common motif of my street art for the past few years has been activism. Another running theme within my work is its anonymity—I make a point of changing the look of what I do every few years so my stuff isn’t instantly identified as mine. Instead, at least initially, my hope is that the initial encounter would be an experience of surprise and random mystery.

Dan Witz FLUX Hawaii PowWow

Dan Witz FLUX Hawaii PowWow

Dan Witz FLUX Hawaii PowWow

Dan Witz FLUX Hawaii PowWow

Break

GLAZED PARADISE (Sandra Fernandez and Mark Jenkins)

FLUX: Where are you from?

Sandra Fernandez: We are both from Northern Virginia, but have gone bi-coastal for about a year now.

What is your medium? How did you find it?

Our medium is mainly tape that we use to build forms or make casts of things. After that, we use all kinds of building material to strengthen them and fill them up. The final touch is usually clothes.

What excites you about your process? 

I think removing the cast is pretty fun. It’s like peeling off a second skin.

How do you utilize the street environment in your work?

Join our newsletter to get stories right in your inbox.

(No spam unless it comes in a musubi!)



We usually do whatever we feel like but also try and make things last as long as possible. People really like to mess with the work since, I think, it bothers them so much, they have to make sure it’s not real.  To make them last on the street, we either make them super heavy or put them up very high.

Have you been to Hawai‘i before? How might your process or theme be different here?

This is our first time in Hawai‘i.  The idea of wind chimes has always been around, and we thought this was a perfect place to do it. The piece is a little different and will maybe be read as meditative or spiritual, and I think Hawai‘i has that vibe. We really like how in-touch people here are with the nature and the environment, and I think this piece really puts it together well.

Glazed Paradise Pow Wow Hawaii FLUX

Glazed Paradise PowWow Hawaii FLUX

Glazed Paradise Pow Wow Hawaii FLUX

Glazed Paradise Pow Wow Hawaii FLUX

Glazed Paradise PowWow Hawaii FLUX

Glazed Paradise PowWow Hawaii FLUX

[This interview has been lightly edited.]