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.