“It’s like this area’s been injected with life,” says Alex Weiland, editor for Australian street lifestyle magazine Acclaim (and one of the greatest female bloggers I might have ever met in person), as I drove her through the Kakaako neighborhood. Damn, I need to hang out with writers more. She so perfectly and simply put into words what I have been trying to say all week. I don’t mean to keep going on and on (and on) about Pow Wow Hawaii, but I am pretty deep into this right now. I’m sure there are amazing things going on out there but for me, it’s all about these 40 artists and media running around our city. Even with 16 people it’s an experience like no other. Each of them is coming here with their individual backgrounds and talents and sharing that with everyone else. The time they are spending together is in one house, not spread out around hotel rooms. They’re eating together, sleeping together, riding to and from Pupukea together, then painting together. With a large local representation of artists also included we are all getting one of the best, most organic collaborations possible. You can see it in the streets. Nobody worked alone.
The media subset has felt like an event in itself this year. These guys have so much to offer besides just covering the event. Getting to know and love people who are killing it in their cities (and the world) in both print and online media has been fantastic. Eugene Kan, the managing editor of Hypebeast, a street lifestyle blog with more than 4 million hits a day, gets just as excited as I do about an açai bowl. Jeff Hamada, owner-operator of the hugely successful art blog Booooooom, has like 50,000 followers on Twitter but probably doesn’t even know it. He’s the most down-to-earth guy that just happens to have brilliant recall ability and a keen eye for up-and-coming artists. As humble and unassuming as he is, I find myself taking notes whenever I get a chance to talk with him. I was thrilled to be able to get him on a panel to speak at UH, where art students and the public were able to join my obsession. When someone so modest speaks in such a relatable way when he is behind something huge, it makes everyone feel inspired. It’s so true: just do something you truly love and believe in and all the wonderful things (like followers, readers, hits, etc.) will come. They will.
Anyway. This is all coming to an end soon. I already feel the depression creeping in. It’s only going to be a day or so episode, however, it leaves us with all this art! Kakaako has definitely been injected with life. The Friends of the Library building by the park on Pohukaina St. has been touched by five different countries. The private road that once held Pipeline Café now has entire buildings full of work by the ER Crew, Aaron Martin, Estria, Prime and many others. Fisherman’s Wharf is now a giant canvas of 123Klan, Slick and Flying Fortress. Drive around and take a look, or read about it in the hundreds of online publications and Instagrams tagged with #PowWowHawaii. The best gift we had though was being able to watch them work. All that blood, sweat and tears going into something so massive available to everyone. Is it 2013 yet?