1xRUN Thru Interview
Ke Koʻolani by Prime
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale? if so can we offer it? if not do you have any other originals, sketches, studies etc. that we could offer?
Prime: It is titled “Kekoʻolani” meaning the foundation of a Chief or Aliʻi. It is also a chiefly family name. There were so many sacred families that were known to carry the DNA of the gods and were trusted to lead the people of Hawaii. Due to the nature of this piece and the type of energy it carries, I feel it is only proper to keep the original until the rightful owner presents his/herself. So the answer is “no” it is not for sale, but if you feel a spiritual connection to this piece, feel free to give 1xRUN your contact info. I would love to hear your story!
1xRun: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
Prime: No, this piece was based on a recent vision that was shared with me during my meditation.
1xRun: What materials were used to create this piece with?
Prime: Spraypaint on canvas.
1xRun: When was the piece created?
Prime: This piece was done around January 14, 2014. According to the Hawaiian moon calendar, this is the night of Akua when it is said the god spirits are out and about.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Prime: The ancient wisdom that is passed on to me through my hands when it is creating art. The magic that happens during the process and post observation is something that cannot be taught in school..any school! But the knowledge I share in this piece is not mine to keep, but to share.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Prime: Through meditation and prayer. I sat for a while and asked for spiritual guidance prior to painting. Then, I got up and started painted unaware of how the outcome would be..it is so awesome to witness the transformation both on the canvas as well as within myself.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Prime: It took me a whole night to execute the painting part, but the understanding behind this piece took me months to develop visually in my head.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Prime: There are multiple layers of understanding in this piece. Iʻll start with the obvious imagery:
The Koʻo(Wooden Staff) -represents knowledge and wisdom.
The Ao(Day light) –represents the female (positive) energy. The symbol above this side of the staff is called “Uli-nana-pono” which means “peaceful serene flame”. It also means “to teach, to become light; to enlighten.
The Po(Night sky) –represents the male (negative) energy. The symbol above this side of the staff is called “Waha Hamama” or “to reveal secrets”; secrets of your soul-why are you here?, etc. It increases understanding.
It gets even deeper. Now, I am by no means an avid church goer, but I do know God. In Hebrew, His name is “ALOHA”. Coincidence? Letʻs keep going..
In the most common understanding of the most famous Hawaiian word, ALOHA means “hello”, “I love you”, but it never meant “goodbye”. It was more like, “until we meet again”.
When you break the word into syllables, you get another layer of meaning. ALO=In the presence of; or face to face. HA=The breath of life. Our lives begin and end with this ʻbreathʻ(The breath of God). We greet and we depart one another with this breath until we meet again. In other words, nothing in this world or the next are ours to keep, but rather, ours to take care of..such as our land, our elders, and our children.
There is a law in Hawaii called “The Aloha Spirit” Law. It breaks the syllables down even further in acronyms. So much more to cover so I will stop here for this part. What I have just shared with you in the two previous paragraphs is a deeper understanding of “The Koʻo”(Wooden Staff).
Now the rest talks about duality, balance, and harmony. Everyone has a KU(masculine) and HINA(feminine) side to them. Reciprocation between positive and negative energy is vital to the balance of life. Going back to the Hebrew scriptures, was a man in the Book of Genesis named Enoch who simply disappears off the face of the earth and is appointed the chief of all the archangels. As an angel, he is given the name METATRON-The keeper of the ultimate secrets of the universe and more. Then we have the prophet Elijah, who is carried away and called the angel SANDALPHON-The witness to the Truth of God and protector of the unborn. The wooden staff is, metaphorically speaking, the TREE OF LIFE that reaches the heavens.
This is my interpretation of this painting and will continue to awaken more folks to offer versions other than mine..
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Prime: It is my hope that when you buy a print from me, you are buying a piece of me. A lot of thought and positive energy is put into my pieces. I wouldn’t encourage someone to buy it if itʻs only going to be used for just decoration. I hope this piece reminds folks to look deeper inside themselves and connect with the higher spirit within.
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
1xRun: Yourself and Estria take a very different approach to painting your murals than most painters, tell us a little bit about your method, how it began and how it has continued to evolve?
Prime: Well, there was a bunch of us that got involved with Estriaʻs Water Writes series(Honolulu). Thatʻs where it really changed the way we do things. Our intention was to paint the Queen(Liliuokalani), but we didnʻt really understand the protocols. So many people that we are way more knowledgeable on the history and culture have come to our aid since then and serve as our guides as we serve the youth and our community. Basically, we meditate on our pieces prior to painting and allow the spirit of our elders guide us. Once we figure out what it is they are asking us to work on, weʻll do the research and try our best to tell a visual story with deep layers of knowledge embedded in all parts of the imagery. Looking back, our history in the culture of hip hop writing has prepared us for this journey we are on now.
1xRun: You’ve been an elder statesman so to speak of Pow Wow, how did you first get involved with the event?
Prime: When I first sat down with Jasper, I thought this fool was crazy! Estria was there with me. What I liked about this guy was his perseverance and dedication to his vision. He was open to making sure there is space for the “locals” and more importantly, the youth. Also, to make sure these visitors come with respect and with the same reverence for “Our Hawaii” as our Hawaiian people. I thought I was just going to be a part of the first Pow!Wow, but my role in the Pow Wow Hawaii family since then has been steady. We have joined forces to create the Pow Wow School of Urban Arts.
1xRun: How have you seen the event continue to change?
Prime: It has definitely gotten bigger! Because we live on an island, we are still trying to navigate our way through this awesome madness with the best intentions possible. What makes this event so special is the genuine relationships that are formed between like minded individuals from different parts of the world during Pow!Wow!. I donʻt know if I should be saying this yet, but Pow!Wow!Hawaii will be opening doors in other cities across the globe which means we are bringing the ALOHA to you!
1xRun: Who are you most looking forward to seeing paint at this year’s event? Anybody you’d personally like to collaborate with if the opportunity presented itself?
Prime: I love painting with the locals…but as far as visiting artists, I want to paint with each and every one of them! Iʻll figure something out! Maybe a 1xRun Hawaiian all-star collab series? Home team and visiting team? Lol..fo real tho!
1xRun: As a local Hawaiian artist, what would you like for visiting artists to take away from their time in Hawaii?
Prime: The great thing about the Pow!Wow! experience is that they have time set aside for visiting artists to connect with the culture. From tours of sacred sights to just hanging out on the beach, thereʻs something for everyone. I hope they can draw inspiration from this experience to share with the world the genuine beauty of our people, our history, our land.
1xRun: Who are some of your favorite Hawaiian artists for the uninitiated?
Prime: As far as Hawaiians that do Hawaiian styled art, thereʻs so many to list but off the top of my head Iʻm going to go with Herb Kane, Leohone, Solomon Enos, Brook Parker, Carl Pao, Meleanna Myer, Estria, Ckaweeks, The MOK crew..just to name a few.
1xRun: Do you have any plans for your wall out there or are you just going to improvise it when you get there?
Prime: Yes, this year Estria, Solomon Enos, and I got paired up with GAIA who wanted to do a tribute to Hawaiiʻs Queen Liliuokalani. There are some protocols that go with the responsibility so we will be working together on that and adding a few more things that come up in our research prior to painting. We are also working on a few other surprises but need confirmation first..stay tuned for that one!
1xRun: How did 2013 wrap up for you?
Prime: We were blessed to have Kamehameha Schools supporting our efforts in the community as well as Pow!Wow!Hawaii supporting our projects. The overwhelming support of the Hawaiian community both here and abroad. I would say 2013 was a good year with a promising 2014 ahead.
1xRun: Aside from Pow Wow 2014, what are your plans for the new year?
Prime: Iʻm excited to get started on my new class of the 808 Urban Jr Boards Initiative. Itʻs a youth mentoring program that provides for at-risk teens in Hawaii and Iʻm also excited to be a part of Estriaʻs Mele Murals series. A program that helps Hawaiiʻs youth form their own mural clubs throughout the state of Hawaii.
1xRun: Anything you’d like to add that we didn’t touch on?
Prime: Yes, I have invested all my time and energy towards developing the next generation of leaders from Hawaii through art. For me, they are the artwork that I am most proud of. I wanted to recognize them first and foremost for it werenʻt for them believing in me, I would not have a purpose. So Mahalo to all of you youngins on the rock and beyond that have touched my life. I would also like to recognize the kupunas(elders) throughout the pacific who have come before me who has held on to the most important piece of our identity-our culture. To allow me, and those around me, to carry on the traditions of our collective people with the same integrity to the next generation. Last, but not least, a huge Thank You to 1xRun and all of your fans for making it possible to share what is important to me with the rest of the world. I am forever grateful!