1xRUN Thru Interview
Kema by Kamea Hadar
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, was it part of a recent show you were in?
Kamea Hadar: This piece was in a recent show I had in San Jose entitled Face Value which featured canvas works that explored the human form and it’s relation to themes of sex, culture, and the human condition. The contrast of highly finished detail and rough paint strokes makes for an interesting balance of seemingly static imagery and the dynamic nature of an artist’s hand. This not only moves the viewers’ eyes around the pieces but pushes and pulls perspectives in and out. The use of negative space also adds to the dancing of perspective as well as allowing the audience to input pieces of their own interpretation.
Hawaiian ancestry is one of the main themes in this painting. It depicts someone who is over three-quarters Hawaiian blood, something which is extremely rare today. The piece gives the viewer a choice of seeing the figure’s face disintegrating into the skull, a common symbol of death, or alternatively looking at the bones as the basis of flesh giving strength and form to the life layered over it. The bones or iwi, were sacred to the Native Hawaiians as they held the mana or spiritual power of a person, and contrasts with the western views of life in flesh. Such comparisons of culture and interpretations of the human form can be seen throughout the works in Face Value.
1xRUN: When was the piece created and with what materials?
Kamea Hadar: It was painted in late July early August of 2013. It was in my head for years but took a week to conceptualize and shoot reference photos for, and about another month to paint. It was created using oils on canvas.
1xRUN: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Kamea Hadar: Paul Kema is a good friend of mine whose family lives in Papakolea on Hawaiian Homestead Land. Behind their house there’s a riverbed where we collected the stones that we use in the imu, a traditional Hawaiian pit to cook the pig for the POW! WOW! luau every year. They are a very specific type of stone that is heated up with a large fire and buried overnight. Paul helped me carry the stones out of the riverbed and sang a prayer to bless them. Ever since then I have wanted to paint him and also painted a mural alongside the canvas piece.
1xRUN: What is unique about this piece?
Kamea Hadar: It’s inspiration is from a rare side of Hawaii that most outsiders do not get to see, but deals with universal issues of life, death and flesh.
1xRUN: Describe the print in one gut reaction word.
Kamea Hadar: Balance.
1xRUN: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Kamea Hadar: There was never a moment when I suddenly decided to create art. Just like any kid, I loved to draw and make messes, but unlike most people who grow out of it I just never stopped. I can’t remember the first thing that I ever drew, but my mom constantly reminds me of the crayon graffiti that she found on her white walls when we lived in Israel. She said that I used to love to draw fish and dinosaurs, and she has a framed drawing from when I was four that I drew for her right before we moved to Hawaii of a horse, her favorite animal.
1xRUN: What artists inspired you early on? What about now?
Kamea Hadar: Early on when I was in school learning the basics I was always inspired by artists like Salvador Dali, and classic painters like El Greco and Michelangelo. I could try to be cool and name some obscure artist but the truth is that I always loved their styles and talent and the combination of skill, aesthetics and concept. I feel that every artist should have a good base. After all, you can not know where you are going until you know where you are from and learning the classics is important.
These days I get so much inspiration from my constantly growing POW! WOW! family. Seeing how my fellow artists are making a living doing what they love, and balancing their artistic visions with finances, their family and friends, travel, and their sanity is inspiring. Some people talk shit, and others do shit. I appreciate the latter, and seeing my friends doing big things around the world inspires me to do the same.
1xRUN: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Kamea Hadar: I cannot create art without music. If I write anything or talk to someone I need silence to focus on the words, but I think that with art I’m using a different part of my brain and it makes the experience more fun for me. I don’t have a specific genre, I listen to anything from the Top 100 on the radio, to Ludacris, to Jack Johnson, Sublime and Bob Marley and local bands like The Green (whom I grew up with and create their album covers). Anything that gets the juices flowing and helps to keep me going. I have songs that I really love that Im embarrassed to play too loud because they are too girly or maybe are kinda lame to the more musically inclined friends, but if it gives me a buzz then I use it to paint.
1xRUN: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Kamea Hadar: Art is such a personal thing so a successful collaboration really depends on the artists personalities. Some of my most fun collabs were with my good friends like Meggs, Poesia, Jasper Wong, Jeff Gress, Hannah Stouffer and Rone just because I love hanging out with those friends anyway and the art is just a nice by-product.
From a purely educational standpoint it would be great to collaborate with guys like Ron English, Conor Harrington, El Mac, Hendrik Beikirch and Aryz because I feel like I could learn so many different techniques both in the studio and on the street, and how to go bigger. Some of them are coming to POW! WOW! Hawaii this year so maybe I’ll get the chance, we’ll see.
1xRUN: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Kamea Hadar: Maybe some really pivotal artist like Pablo Picasso just because he was so influential, but I heard he was not the nicest person so I would probably get over it pretty quick. Even Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol seem a little weird to me. I always liked learning about Hunter S. Thompson and Ken Kesey, and although I know there were some paintings and drawings in there somewhere, they were most famous for writing so we would have to get creative with how to collaborate. At the very least I know the after-party would be worth it.
1xRUN: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Kamea Hadar: Hanasaurusrex, a yarnbomber and part of the POW! WOW! family made these knit spraypaint cans she calls “Spraypaint Pals” for POW! WOW! Hawaii 2014 that I must have. I don’t even use cans too much but think they’re such funny and amazing pieces, they even rattle when you shake them!
1xRUN: Any other shows or events coming up that you want to share?
Kamea Hadar: This winter POW! WOW! and RVCA are teaming up on a project in Hawaii that is going to be really exciting and of course POW! WOW! Hawaii is coming up in February with a stacked list that is going to blow minds. POW! WOW! Taiwan, Forest For the Trees (Portland), POW! WOW! Israel and POW! WOW! Jamaica are all also coming in the next year or two, not to mention some personal projects that I’m working on as well.