1xRun Thru Interview
Queen Lili’uokalani & Lanai Island by Gaia
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale?
Gaia: This print is based off of a painting and mural concept directly inspired by my research in preparation for Pow Wow Hawaii. The original oil painting will be available through Thinkspace for their group show that will run in tandem with the mural event this February.
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Gaia: I pursue many different themes within my mural and studio work. This particular piece attempts to develop a simultaneity of history by producing backgrounds that correspond to the context of a place and a portrait of a politically charged figure glazed over the composition. These pieces depend upon a nation or culture’s imagination of the contested and idealized landscape.
1xRUN: When was this piece created and with what materials?
Gaia: This piece was created very recently just a few weeks ago in early January 2014, using oil paint on canvas.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Gaia: Especially when creating murals, I am intrigued by the impossible effort to depict the conflict between independence and domination. In this particular instance, Queen Lili’uokalani is a sacred royal figure in Hawaiian history and is utilized within this piece to evoke resistance to United States colonial exploits. Subjugation of indigenous peoples and the earth continue to this day through the guise of tourism, agribusiness and real estate ventures.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Gaia: This piece took about one week from start to finish.
1xRun: Describe this piece in one gut reaction word.
1xRun: Have you been to Hawaii before or will this be your first time out there? What are you looking forward to?
Gaia: I was in Hawaii once as a child on a family vacation sequestered in a beautiful resort. Now I am returning as a very young adult and am excited to see how people maintain, navigate and potentially reconcile their contemporary and traditional cultures, whether that be Asian, Hawaiian, Ethnic European, American etc.
1xRun: Do you have any plans for your wall out there or are you just going to improvise it when you get there?
Gaia: I have a lot of plans, whether they come to fruition is a different story. When working with this kind of imagery, imagery that must be respected, especially as a visiting “haole,” one must confer various facets of local communities before acting. But there are stories abound to depict while visiting Oahu.
1xRun: You’ve seem to have been staying crazy busy, bring us up to speed on some of the walls you’ve been doing lately?
Gaia: Lately I have actually been in the studio for the first time in two years and really enjoying being sedentary. Hawaii will be my next trip and am looking forward to being uncomfortable again. The last walls I had concluded prior to the end of the year were a massive piece in Kingston, New York depicting Artemus emerging out of an exhausted Hudson Vallery Quarry ( One that I was called a God Hater for producing in a local paper)
I also painted a strange composition in Rome that was a sort of consideration on the role of unearthing the built past of ancient Italian culture to produce a fascist identity (One in which Italy’s largest Oil company prevented me from painting a small silhouette of Mussolini, understandably so) and also painted some horses in Lexington, KY leaping through a United Emirates keffiyeh pattern
1xRun: How did 2013 wrap up for you?
Gaia: A lot of much needed time with family, and on New Years a lot of various substances.
1xRun: Aside from Pow Wow 2014, what are your plans for the new year?
Gaia: I will be curating Open Walls 2 for the spring and being the gentrification villain again, traveling to Australia, Italy and Turkey for various projects and fun.