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.
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: