Tag Archives: graffiti

Estria Graffiti Battle

Estria International Graffiti BattleEstria International Graffiti BattleEstria International Graffiti Battle The Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle took place in New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu and culminates in a final competition in Oakland, CA on Oct 8th. This past weekend 12 graffiti artist converged at the Academy of Arts at Linekona and over a period of 7 hours gave birth to their creations. Appropriately the word for the competition was Hanau (birth in Hawaiian). This was revealed to the artists at 12 noon, all at the same time. They each then had to come up with their lettering and design concepts on the spot. It was both creative, intense and a joy to witness. The series of photos above show Kawika Samson take a blank canvas and create one of the winning designs. Another winner was Katch and his train car that nearly jumps out of the canvas. Both Katch and Kawika will represent Hawaii in the Graffiti Battle finals in Oakland. The driving force behind this graffiti movement is Estria Miyashiro. He has been a champion for hip hop art for the better part of 20 years. Through competitions like this he has helped to legitimized graffiti as an artform. The Estria Foundation's mission captures the goals of the man and the organization:
The Estria Foundation shifts the social consciousness on critical human and environmental issues through education, art projects and community events around the globe.
Through the foundation, Estria hopes to raise the awareness of the public by showcasing artists behind the hip-hop scene. Graffiti that appears on buildings, freeways, walls and public spaces is still vandalism and the stigma of rebel/outlaw art still sticks. That said, it doesn't take away from the talent these artists have. It's great to see programs like this that demonstrate successfully the transition to legitimacy.

Graffiti Art

Graffiti ArtGraffiti art or street art as I like to refer to these pieces, stirs feelings that range from awe to disgust in those that view it. Born out of the street punk movement dating back to the late 70's and early 80's in the subways of New York City, this was a statement by rebellious youth. Personally I don't condone the defacement of public or private property by illegal graphic expressions but on some occasions I am truly amazed at the artistry. So when I saw these pieces at the Academy Art Center at Linekona, I was quite captivated. Graffiti ArtAs timing would have it, the two artists responsible for this masterpiece (and one right around the corner) were just finishing up, Prime (on the right) and Estria (on the left). I half expected them to grab their spray cans and run as I approached but this was obviously a commissioned work. Prime holds classes at places like Palama Settlement to teach youth art technique and appreciation, mentoring and leadership development. The artist collective known as 808Urban works with kids in underserved areas like Kalihi. In addition to teaching art they work with communities to create mural art, the legitimized version of street graffiti. I've seen their work in various places like the Palama Settlement and a recent mural at Kokua Foods. Checking out Estria's Flickr site, he's got all kinds of work going on in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of it revolves around bringing graffiti artists together to showcase their work and to collectively work on murals like the Four Guardians in Oakland. It's very impressive, in-your-face, vibrant, "happy to be alive" expressions of creativity.