What’s your background… did you go to art school ?
I grew up in public schools on the plantation side of Oahu, Hawaii. I couldn’t afford to go to the bigger art school at University of Hawaii, so I went to Honolulu Community College. I slacked off and wasted my scholarship on video games, which rendered me broke when it came time to shop for art supplies.
During my academic hiatus, I got a low-paying graphic design job at a local gay publication. The $20/week wasn’t enough to pay my student loans back, but that was my foot-in-the-door of designing for bigger publications, eventually landing a design gig at the Star Advertiser & Midweek. Throughout my life, I’ve always chosen the path of real-world experience over the classroom experience associated with academia. As far as I could remember, I’ve always been this way, rejecting the traditional route in favor of practical hardship and growth. That being said: I’m a completely self-taught photographer. I’ve never taken a photography course in my life, but I don’t regret any second of my tumultuous journey.
How is your work contemporary?
Culinary Fusion is such a trendy and contemporary thing - my photography works the same way. I combine east and west, old and new, traditional and bizarre to create new forms of art. If that isn’t contemporary, then I don’t know what is!
Is your imagery a deep seated idealization of your parents, or are you just having fun?
I grew up in a single-parent household where my mom worked hard to provide for me and my siblings, so I can see where that might have influenced my work, my mind transforming my past into a picture-perfect version. That’s not the case, though. I think looking back at everything, it was the photo albums that my mom kept that influenced me the most. The way the photos were tinted and degraded over the years combined with the fashions documented in them were what led me to be start creating my own legacy
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