PowWow Worcester 2018 is now in the books. It’s amazing to think about that when October 2018
concludes I would have been a part of 5 PowWow’s as one of the primary photographers.
People say that only a few people truly know what it is that they want to do for a living/career right from
the get go. Most of us have to experience and try many different positions/roles/activities just to find
out what we DON’T want to do, or what we are willing to make personal compromise over. I fall into
that later category, having worked 18 different jobs, in vastly different sectors. However, with a few
Pow!Wow!’s under my belt I can state without hesitation that being a mural/streetart/graffiti
photographer is what I want to do until I physically cannot. Worcester showed me it is possible.
It’s hard to explain the feeling that comes over me when out in the field shooting. The warm & fuzzies,
the adrenaline that come from the pressure to perform, the way you have to react or adjust based on
the environment, and so much more is rolled into the appeal. Being a part of something greater than self, something
that brings the community together, like when the local sport team wins. The chance to capture active
creativity and masterpieces that have no guarantee to remain on display or untouched is an amazing thing …
Then you add all of the incredible people you meet that are just as passionate and quirky as you, the
folks who keep their inner child alive…It is just special.
It seems like with every Pow!Wow! some aspect of self or the world is revealed. Worcester drove
this home. I can happily deal with 12-15 hour work days if I enjoy what it is that I am doing. I also get to
learn about different cultures and customs from around the world from the artists who have come to the
events, and how to make it in the photography/creative field…..I something that is hard to put into words.
Here are a few pictures taken during the event. I hope you enjoy, be easy.
In 2013, I suffered a bad injury while playing basketball, which kept me sidelined for quite awhile. I got frustrated and needed to get out of the house, so I signed up for art classes at 1am in San Fransisco. Over the next 6 weeks my dormant interest in graffiti consumed me. After countless attempts (and more failures than I’d like to admit), I put down the cans and picked up a camera. I was fascinated with finding and photographing as many hidden grimy places covered in graff and public display as I could. This interest threw me deep into Google. It was here I found out about Pow! Wow! Hawaii and shortly there after, my not-yet wife brought it up that there was one going on in Long Beach. We went and so it began.
Pow! Wow! does an amazing job of instilling a sense of community wherever they go. Their festivals involve the larger community as well as the actual artists themselves. Pow! Wow! is a non-profit, but it can’t succeed without the help from different vendors, businesses, and individuals. And when Pow! Wow! rolls in, the city unites to ensure its success by volunteering supplies, man hours and enthusiasm.
In 2015, I was fortunate enough to see their Long Beach installation in person…a few months after the fact. The art was slick as hell and I was impressed. It inspired me to continue photographing murals, graffiti and abandoned places. This was what I was doing in July of 2017, when I bumped into my friends at Empire 7 Studios (@empire7studios) in San Jose (my hometown) at an art show. They took my wife and I aside and said, “hey we might be bringing Pow! Wow! to San Jose.”
Hold up!!!! Say what!!!! Y’all ain’t yankin’ my chain are you!?
They reached back out in September.
“Yo, it’s happening.”
They asked if we wanted to be part of the media team as photographers.
The artist list was posted and I was stoked!. Adele Renault from Belgium, Trav of MSK from LA, local legends Ricky Watts, Griffin One, and Messenger of LORDS would be there. The icing on the cake? Husband and wife combo Sean Boyles and Roan Victor–two very good friends of mine had their own walls. Dude, it was on.
When the event happened in October, it was a week of balls to the wall. I’d wake up at 4:30 am and go to work, get home at 4:00 pm, swap shoes, grab the camera and capture free-flowing creativity for four hours, go home, process, upload and repeat. I never had so much fun, everyday was eye smiles and the feeling that it was a Saturday on a weekday.
Stay tuned. My wife and I were shoulder tapped to photograph the kick-off event in Hawaii this year. Yeeeee.
Be easy all.
Pow!Wow! Hawaii…a lightning bolt of concentrated fantastic.
This past February my wife (@lannysphotos) and I (@1ill510) had the privilege of being asked to document the premier mural festival in the world. We said, yes, in a matter of seconds.
The art speaks for itself. Its nothing but a celebration of colors, creativity, social awareness, and the environment coming together on walls, by artists as rad as their work. All around the Kaka’ako area in Honolulu Hawaii you will find something kind of wonderful.
What made PowWow Hawaii so amazing was all of the other things that took place during the week, that was not painting.
The jokes, the conversation, the side work that has to happen before the paint, herding of cats, food breaks, dancing, drinking….on and on.
The instant community and family that created was a treat. I had never felt more at home, nor have I ever encountered a situation where I could be myself right from the get and make friends instantly. Everyone had a streak of goofball in them. You had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 artists from Japan, Detroit, Australia, South Korea, Ohio, Berlin and more, another 10 directors from other PowWow’s around the world, a handful volunteers, and reps from the sponsors all coming together almost instantly. Yes, there was a common goal of, “Let’s rock these walls”, but there was more of a common bond and understanding of what it meant to be there and what it meant to be…well, human.
Y’all got to bear with me as I am no wordsmith and this week left me speechless, to try to convey the feel goods.
Anyone who took the time to listen, I mean really listen and observe with all the senses saw the happy hustle. And I’m in no way trying to sugar coat the hard work, the persistence, the failure and the successes of the people involved. We all have had them, we all are still going to have them, but the love and passion involved in what everyone was doing was palpable. This was/is a group that you want to surround yourself with, because you are the average of those you surround yourself with, and the average here is Boss Sauce.
The energy of the event was the fuel for ten, seventeen-hour days, and the extra jolt came from the walls coming together. It was good vibes errday. Even when Mother Nature put 4 inches of rain per hour on us for 4 hours, no one was bummed or deterred. Shit, some of the artists were savages and kept on painting; others just got down at home base in Lana Lane Studios and had a phat blackbook session and beers.
I can’t say enough of what Jasper, Kamea, and Jeff have cultivated over the years of PowWow and the community they have created. Being part of PowWow has been one of the greatest experiences up till now and has shown me what is possible and what I want to work for.
Here is a small slice of photos from the week, and I’ll these try to convey the rest.