It has been a little bit since the wrap of POW! WOW! Hawaii 2020, its 10 year anniversary. And I’m still trying to figure out how 14 days passed in such a blur. Was it the 90+ artists, the 70+ walls, family, friends, food, night events, all of the above and then some? It doesn’t matter. It was outstanding and that is all that matters.
I’m so incredibly grateful to have been a part of such a beautiful slice of humanity before COVID-19 came in and put a death grip on humanity. It hasn’t been 40 days since my wife and I landed back home and now we can barely leave our home. Wild to think about, but I digress .
I have done a few write-ups for POW! WOW!’s but I’m going to go in on this one a little bit more that those in the past.
What is POW! WOW! you may ask? If you don’t know already it is the brainchild of Jasper Wong, Kamea Hadar, and Jeff Gress centered around a week-long event in Hawaii that includes large scale mural projects, gallery shows, lecture series, schools of art and music, and live art instillations. From Hawaii it has grown into a global network of artists and contributors across the globe. The central event takes place during Valentine’s Day week in February in the Kaka’ako district of Honolulu, and 2020 was the 10th anniversary.
That is more of an official “what it is” but it is so much more. From everyone involved and for those who witness or participate it holds a different meanings. Personally, it is much much more than just a week-long creative jam.
It’s one thing to witness an artist work their magic on a wall regardless of the medium they use. It really is something to behold to watch imagination come to life on a large scale before your eyes, but that is not what makes POW! WOW!, POW! WOW!.
For my wife and I we have had the privilege and honor to be involved with a number of POW! WOW!’s across the world. That unto itself is special, as we are able to share the experience together and have the chance to work side-by-side. You could call it just a week of awesome and kickin’ it, but that would be doing it a disservice. (truth be told for us as photographers there is not much kickin’ it at all). I don’t really have an idea where to begin describing it.
For me at least, POW! WOW! Is a place in time where I can be 100% myself without second guessing anything. The community of artists, directors, volunteers all have different personalities and mindsets, but we are all creative nerds at heart. We all know that is someway we are all kooks, we are quirky, and will geek out at a moment notice for no reason at all. But we are all together to create something so much larger than self it doesn’t matter at all.
Outside of being accepted for who you are, another gratifying component/experience of POW! WOW! is witnessing how the community comes together during the week. Not just those who are involved, but the neighbors, the shop owners, or the random passer-by who comes to cheer on the artists, drop them food and water, and offer encouragement. Truly amazing. It is one of the few things that give me faith in humanity.
Inspiration is another thing that is in spades at POW! WOW! Whether or not you are creative or not it will inspire you to be creative or just get shit done. Or you will find inspiration to push yourself harder in what you are doing already, know that even with a family it is all possible. You get the opportunity to the pick the brains of those doing it and doing it well. It can be the simple act of getting re-energized or getting the seed planted to go home and do something for your community. You could be the person who spends 15 minutes at a wall or the person who puts 17 hours in a day to make sure everything runs smooth when it is all said and done your cup is full.
All of the above mentioned is a high level description of what happens on a personal level but nothing specific. This year was off the chain thanks in part to the sponsors (Hawaiian Airlines, XL Large, Scotts, Montana USA, Alohilani Resort, Toyota, and so many more). We got to go on a cultural tour at Kualoa Ranch, Sunset booze cruise, and a performance by The Green just to name a few. Not to mentioned getting to see the likes or Persue1, OG Slick, Aaron De La Cruz, Woes, 123Klan, Dragon76, and Cryptik do their thing.
Imma leave at this. Its surprisingly hard to convey the passion I hold for this organization and the process of photographing it in writing. But I guess that’s why we have writers. I’m going to let the photographs finish this up.
Be easy all.