Blog | Latest News | Information | Hawaii Coworking Office Space
22070
blog,paged,paged-2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,select-theme-ver-3.6.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.6,vc_responsive
 

Hawaii's First Coworking Space

BRADY EVANS ON ART AND THE POWER TO LIBERATE

Comic artist and illustrator Brady Evans shares a strong interest in manga and other art forms of imagery and storytelling. His work often displays narrative themes of death, humor and our place in both the natural and supernatural world. Evans received an BFA specializing in drawing from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2012 and received the Recognition Award from the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts in 2015. We caught up with the artist to talk story about his journey as an artist, experience as a freelancer and his current art series, Void, which is on display at fishcake until May 4, 2019.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do as an artist.

I do comics and illustration, but my work takes the form of different things. From books to drawings on paper for an exhibition or illustrations, I like to think of myself as working a lot with narratives and stories. Either the story is informed by the drawing or vice versa. I leave it open ended.

Was there like a pivotal moment in your life where you wanted to follow this career of being an artist and illustrator?

Both of my parents are heavily involved in the arts. My dad’s a musician and my mom creates textiles, paintings, and drawings. Since I was young, they were really supportive of me going into the arts. I recently made a pivotal shift in my art career. Last October, I decided to leave my job at the Honolulu Museum of Art to work solely as a freelance artist. For the first time ever, I was going to give my art more attention than I had in the past. I had already been sending my work and exhibiting for about nine years, in addition to studying at the university or working at the museum. With the amount of time that I spent in it, I didn’t want to regret not trying freelancing at least once and seeing how it works out. I didn’t want to make my art suffer for not putting in enough time.

You have an art show in FishCake. Can you tell me about the pieces you put in the show?

The show is called Void. It started from a series of drawings and paintings that I did for a show at ARS Cafe in 2017. The show happened right after a few people in my life passed away very suddenly and it was a response to that trauma. These drawings display various objects and forms shaping into silhouettes of people. Even though a person is missing, there’s a presence in their absence. Absences create a physical feeling. People leave an imprint in our memories and from the objects which they leave behind.

In addition to Void, I will be showing some illustrations for a book called Magic Show which is a collaboration I did with musician Gary Liu. Gary wrote the short story and I made five complimentary illustrations. I will be presenting illustrations I made for a performance/tea ceremony by Keiko Hatano.

Can you talk a little bit about your process when you’re making these illustrations?

I start with the silhouette drawing in pencil to make sure the figure is visually legible. Once I have the silhouette figure down I draw the the forms. I use plant and wildlife imagery in a lot of my illustrations in Void. Recently I’ve been looking at the Japanese painter Ito Jakuchu. He lived during the 18th century in Japan and was known as an eccentric painter. His work is extremely detailed and he did a few temples paintings where he painted hundreds of individual flowers and plants. Half of them were dead or dying. I thought it was so beautiful how they referenced death in subtle ways. These works influenced me to put plants and wildlife into my illustrations as a way to symbolize life and death.

Can you talk more about your connections to art history?

I became invested into art history when I studied at UH Manoa.  As an undergraduate, I took all of the art history classes. After I graduated from UH, I was the collections manager at the Honolulu Museum for almost five years. Art history gives me a wealth of visual influences for my work. When I create work I’m never too concern if it’s original or not. All that matters is if I can fully flesh out ideas that I find interesting. I look at pieces throughout art history and take from works that I find compelling and I synthesize it into my own work.

How did you get into doing work and collaborating with Drowning Dreamers?

I know Gary the Drowning Dreamers frontman from my time as the collections manager at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Gary was a teacher in the art school. He would contact our department to use artworks for his classes. Gary happened to see my work and he reached out to me for collaboration.  He felt my style of drawings would work perfectly with Drowning Dreamers and suggested we work on a couple of projects together. One of the projects was Magic Show and then Gary suggested projecting a live illustration during Drowning Dreamers performances.

While the band plays I illustrate in Photoshop to the music. I treat the canvas like an animation screening so I layer the images and colors. Gary always sends me the setlist beforehand and I have the lyrics to the songs. Before the show, I have it printed out and I look over and circle some words that are interesting to me to do a sketch to begin my live performances.

Other than that, I just let the music and the images developed from that first sketch. The songs are only four minutes long so it goes by relatively quickly. This means that I have to see what kind of marks I want to incorporate throughout the performance. So it’s been fun for me, trying those things and not watching the drawings display upon the wall. Instead I focus on the work at hand on my computer screen. It’s good to see other people’s videos of it and seeing the band get integrated with the drawings.  

What’s like the biggest difference for you in terms of doing a live drawing to doing these illustrations?

With the live drawings I can’t go back. I try not to undo and to be more spontaneous. If I want to delete it, I just draw over it. I’m more okay with things just being spontaneous while the ones that I plan out, I am a little more picky about composition. In a way the live ones are more freeing because I can just make it and it’s big. I love when you project the image on the wall, the color bounces onto the other walls as well.

Have you ever doubted with your art practice? How do you get past that doubt?

Something that is challenging for me is that I’m comparing myself to other friends who are similar age but are at a different points in their career. I’m getting a little better at just talking myself out a bit and looking at what I do have and what I am able to enjoy doing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist or someone who wants to start doing freelance for a living?

It’s important to very committed to what you’re doing. You’ll need to develop good habits and be disciplined. They’re important because freelancing offers freedom and flexibility. Also, I don’t think I am so much of a list person, but I’ve found that making to-do lists helps a lot. Even if you don’t get it done you can just start it again the next day. It’s probably good to have a nest egg and to have some money saved up because if you ever hit a dry period, you’ll need to hunker down and be frugal.

March 22, 2019

0
0

Pernicious Optimization

Anne Helen Petersen’s viral Buzzfeed article, “How Millenials Became the Burnout Generation” resonated with us, as well as millions of others who shared the article widely on social media. Petersen’s piece hit a nerve in its examination of the erosion of any barriers between work and home life and it got us thinking about the damage that occurs when young people spend their youth and adulthood relentlessly devoted to priming for employment.

I think it’s time to come clean, because I suspect that many of you are doing the same and we’re all, collectively, responsible for the damage this has caused. I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life relentlessly perpetuating a lie: success or prosperity is difficult to achieve, but possible if we work hard enough and work smart enough.   The glaring truth is that efficiency and success are not always correlated and I know enough brilliant, but exhausted (and poor) optimization junkies that won’t be convinced otherwise.

This culture of hyper competition has deep, sturdy roots that took hold without us even noticing. As students, we were ultracompetitive, with CVs that listed more volunteer experience, extra-curricular activities, and internships in 4 years than our parents amassed in a lifetime.  Not to forget to mention that we paid record-high tuition for it all as well. Many of us went back to repeat the same process, even more intensely at graduate programs with the aspiration that there were dream jobs out there. And to have any kind of a shot at landing one, we had to stand out among our peers.


We graduated with honors and aimed for jobs that would be stable, well-paying, satisfying for the soul, and in some way glamorous.  We were convinced such roles, however unrealistic, existed and that we could get them if we bested the competition. What we never anticipated was that in the wake of  the 2008 recession, many of us would be competing against both highly qualified recent graduates AND far more experienced workers who had been laid off from the financial crisis. To adapt, a lot of us took jobs that paid us far less than we hoped for, but we vowed that we would prove ourselves through hard work and rise through the ranks.  We took on side hustles to make ends meet, answered work emails from bed, and leaned in hard, 24/7. We didn’t just drink the Kool-aid, we butt-chugged it and were left frustrated when years of hard work failed to get us any closer to a sense of financial security.



We found partners, and sometimes started families, dreaming of achieving the same quality of life and stability that our parents had enjoyed. We fed our kids and dogs the good, expensive organic shit that’s supposed make them healthier, sent the kids (often at great expense) to the very best, cutting-edge schools we could. We enrolled them in all kinds of costly music and sports lessons because we KNOW first-hand that they will need an edge to stand out in a hypercompetitive world.


To sustain the demands we’ve put upon ourselves, in the limited time available, we’ve embraced an excessive number of habits and technologies to streamline life. We devour news in 140 characters or less, Slack emojis of support to our co-workers instead of well-wishes, and catch up with friends over 5 second stories. We listen to audiobooks on the drive in to work to save time on reading and we sync our personal and work calendars across all devices, destroying any remnant of barrier between work and home life. The pace of life is exhausting and relentless, making our daily 10 minute meditation breaks that much more crucial.


One quick glance at FB or IG tells me that on any given night, my friends are effortlessly meal-prepping Michelin Star-worthy Whole 30-compliant meals in 20 minutes, in between yoga sessions on a mountaintop and weeknight $20 cocktails with the girls. We dutifully curate and craft an online narrative of our lives that intentionally mask the grittiest parts of our struggles and disappointments. We could have used social media to commiserate over shared frustrations, but opted instead to use it as a tool to boost our self-esteem, prioritizing inspo over honesty.   If we allow ourselves to believe that all of our peers are cruising through life, while we’re perpetually on the grind, it’s easy to be duped into thinking we’re not working smart enough, because our hard work is undeniable.


Our obsession with efficiency hinges on the mistaken belief that it is an essential ingredient in the recipe for success. Our belief in and perpetuation of this myth is hurting us and our ability to connect with others. We’ve leaned in so far that we’re on the cusp of toppling over So as an experiment, I’d like to propose a deep embrace of the inefficient. Well, at least while at home. If you’ve worked your ass off for the last 10 years and feel like you’re spinning your wheels, taking a break and leaning OUT may be worth a try. This means quitting life hacks, app notifications, and anything by Tim Ferris. Cold turkey the moment you set foot in your house.  For maximum benefit, drop social media too. No one truly needs to see pictures of your new haircut, dinner with dad, brand new end tables, or adorable kid trying avocado for the first time. Take the pressure off from constantly performing, both at work and for an online audience, and use that space to be a little more forgiving and flexible. It’s okay to be unstylish, a few minutes late, or to just hang out at home watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000 reruns with frozen pizza. In most cases, emails can wait to be returned until you get to the office. And the sun will still rise if you don’t get in 10,000 steps each day, or abandon bullet journaling for a week. Pick up a good (hardcopy) book, browse a department store aimlessly, or take a 2 hour nap and cut yourself some slack.


The hustle is grueling and only made harder with the pressures we put on ourselves.  Yes, even during our down-time. Many of us have habitually competed for years so while shrugging off the yoke of optimization may feel foreign,  it is something we deeply need. Success, in whatever way each of us chooses to define it, relies not just on the quality of our efforts, but also on the influence of chance, privilege, and the behavior of others, all of which are factors beyond  the algorithms of optimization and control.

0
3

Entrepreleader: DevLeague

DevLeagueʻs Latest Graduates!

DevLeague is a software development and cyber security bootcamp that specializes in preparing students for a career in the tech industry. DevLeague, one of the premier technical services bootcamp in the Pacific, focuses on strong mentorship to guide students through skills development. DevLeague also values community building and fostering a competitive environment for software developers in Hawaii. I met up with Russel Chang, co-founder and Operations Lead, to gain an in-depth look into DevLeague. Here’s what he had to say about  the formation of program, the current curriculum, and the importance of mentorship in professional development. 

What was the  pivotal moment where you wanted to start DevLeague?

Russel: My business partner Jason Sewell and I were collaborating on my sixth startup before we started DevLeague. That company wasn’t working so we shut it down. We came together and brainstormed ideas for another startup. We saw the opportunity to build a coding bootcamp with accelerated programs. We would be one of the first ones in the state of Hawaii. At the time there were probably only around five nationwide. We were one of very few schools that were purely concentrating on Javascript at that time as well. 

Why did you choose to involve accelerated programs into the Devleague curriculum?

R: What normally takes people years to study, we teach in a matter of weeks. To give you an example for our Javascript course, it’s 16 weeks for the full-time program and 30 weeks for the part time program. Our courses are immersive. We teach at a quick pace so students can apply their skills in the working world. This is where the game is played: outcomes are the key drivers of what we do. Currently, there’s a shortage of technical workers that hold back many companies. Most university programs take around 4 years to complete and for many people this is simply not feasible. For instance, most of the people that come to Dev League are already college graduates or they have professional work experience. Our students primarily come in to sharpen their skills.  

DevLeague seems very accommodating by offering both full time and part time courses. You’re really focused on giving people every opportunity to learn.

R: It’s all about skills development. Increasingly, we believe that skills are what people need to stay relevant in the workforce. This applies whether you’re trying to get into the software development or cybersecurity . This also applies If you are an existing employee trying to improve in your current position. Employers want to retain their employees and they do this by giving them new skills so that they can hit their business goals.

Can you talk about DevLeague as a network? Every time I meet someone who’s involved with software development or coding on the island they’re familiar with DevLeague.

R: This was deliberate from the beginning of DevLeague. It has taken a long time. Jason Sewell and I set out to build a community of like-minded developers. In the beginning, we only had five students. Then it was eight and then fourteen. It continued to grow. Now we’re five years in and we have over 200 graduates who have come out of the program. The majority of them have been successful in securing a full-time positions after finishing our program. One of our core values is giving back to foster a community. Because of this, we have graduates all over the world a that still contribute and participate. Recently, we just had graduate visit from Tokyo. His younger brother is in the program now.  

 

 What are some of the companies people went to after being involved in your program?

 R: I believe Microsoft has hired most of our DevLeague graduates. Jason would probably disagree with that and say Sudokrew, his other company, has hired the most graduates. It’s probably a tie between those two companies. We have some graduates working at Apple and Amazon. Some have moved to local companies such as Hawaii Pacific Health.

How would you describe your network in Hawaii compared to the mainland?

R: Anybody who is a software developer in Hawaii is here because they choose to be. They could have gone and worked anywhere else in the world but they want to be on the islands. Our goal is to build the competitive technical workforce so that they can actually stay in Hawaii and thrive. People who attended Dev League recognize this and want to be part of the network in the Pacific. One advantage that we have over mainland is that we have smaller student to teacher ratio. This allows our students to have a more intimate experience. DevLeague teachers are very hands-on. We guide each student to understand the material. It comes down to mentorship. We share our experiences to guide the current cohort which in turn builds the following generation. If we can do this successfully, it makes for a richer experience and a better developer.

I love that you talk about mentorship and building relationships. Was there a mentor in your life that has influenced you greatly?

R: I have had many mentors over the years. One mentor that helped me the most was Greg Kim, a partner at Convergent Law Group.  He took me under his wing. Greg was one of the Hogan Entrepreneur Program mentors. He bought me into the program. That is how I got connected with Rechung, co-founder of BoxJelly. Greg was instrumental in showing me how to outline information in a very direct fashion. He showed me the importance passing down knowledge through mentorship and how to guide someone else to reach their goals.

Can you talk about your experience working out of BoxJelly?  

R: Working out of BoxJelly has been a very positive experience. We came from a different environment where we operated in partitioned areas and smaller rooms. At BoxJelly we work in a more open space. I think our students really enjoy being able to spread out. Working in the shared spaces allows our students from different classes a chance to interact. Students who are just beginning the program can work alongside those who are further along. This gives those starting the opportunity to see what they will accomplish later in the program. Working at the Boxjelly has has enabled us to achieve a degree of collaboration that we didn’t have in the past.

As a mentor, how do you help people get through doubt?

R: It’s important to focus on what the person is trying to accomplish. Everyone has big dreams. Once you identify that dream I tell them to break their goal into smaller pieces. This can be difficult. From the start, people want to sell the bigger vision. I suffer from that as well. By breaking your dream down into smaller goals, you can make them more approachable. Next, it’s important to just get started and take one step at a time and go from there. Also, remember it’s important to  celebrate the easy wins along the way.

0
3

Artist in Residence: Thad Higa

BoxJelly is is proud to announce Thad Higa as the BoxJelly + Fishcake Artist in Residence for the Spring 2019 cycle.


Thad Higa is a writer and multimedia zine and book artist based in Honolulu. He graduated from Seattle University with a BA in creative writing. He started Tiny Zine Hawaii in 2017, a project of collaborative, and experimental zines. Higa is currently working to open HIZAB Library, an alternative zine and book library in Chinatown, Oahu which houses specially curated books, artist books, poetry and zines from all over.

0
4

Arts and Culture: Roger Bong

Aloha Got Soul is a record label based in Hawaii specializing releasing in funk, soul, jazz, and R&B music and is run by couple Roger and Lei Bong. Aloha Got Soul started as away to to pay homage to older soul/funk Hawaii musicians by re-issuing vinyl records from the 1970’s. Recently Aloha Got Soul has been focusing on releasing music from new Hawaii-based artists. Roger and Lei feel a big part of their label is forming connections with artists, both young and old, to foster a community locally in Hawaii and present it on a global scale. In addition to Aloha Got Soul, from mid-to-late 2018, the Bongs formed an online radio station called Central Pacific Time which was located at BoxJelly. Before they left we had the opportunity to sit down with Roger Bong and discuss his vision for his record label Aloha Got Soul.

 

Was there like a pivotal moment in your life where you decided to follow your passion?

 

Roger: There was a time when I was trying to work a day job while doing Aloha Got Soul at the same time. I knew that if I was going to continue doing both of them, they would both suffer. I needed to choose one or the other. It wasn’t fair to my own business if I did not dedicate 100 percent to my project. It also wasn’t fair to the company that I was working at. That’s when I decided to let go of my day job and work on Aloha Got Soul full-time. The hardest part about the decision was a leaving a job with steady paycheck. When youʻre working for yourself you have to make things happen.

 

If you were giving advice someone who want to be an entrepreneur, what advice would you give them?

 

R: Try to utilize the resources that are out there, whether it’s reading stuff or just reaching out to other independent record labels.

 

How did you start Aloha Got Soul?

 

R: I started Aloha Got Soul as a blog to document records from Hawaii in the seventies and the eighties. These records, primarily consisting of funk, soul, r&b, and jazz, are now out of print. A lot of people say that the 1970s was a period of Hawaiian music renaissance. During this time there were a lot of fusions of genres happening and a lot of underground content coming out. So, around 2010, I started a blog promoting the underground music in Hawaii during the 1970s. I became friends with a lot of artists that I featured in my blog. I noticed that people frequently were asking where they can get copies of the records on my blog. Thus, the label started out of this necessity to re-issue out of print music so that people today can hear it, own it and love it. In turn, the artists can also reap the financial benefits financially, gain new fans, and make new connections.

Leimomi is your personal and professional partner. What’s the hardest part of working as a couple?

 

R: The hardest part is just always being in an environment where our conversation might be about business. When we’re at the BoxJelly, we’re going to talk about business. At home we’re just trying to enjoy ourselves. Working as a couple is all about that balance between life and work.

 

What’s your workflow like?

 

R: Well I make a list of tasks to do and I try to organize them by priority. I organize each tasks with a letter such as A, B or C, with A being the top priority. B being secondary and then from there going in and adding numerals. For example, A-1 is very top priority. I try to do that every morning.

It’s actually from this book that was written in like the eighties. I just found it randomly at a thrift store. The guy who created the system was actually living in Hawaii. I remember picking up the book and turning to a page when he’s talking about swimming across the channel at Hanauma bay. This guy was writing about Hawaii. I thought that it has to be a sign.

 

What’s your favorite thing Aloha Got Soul has released so far?

 

R: My favorite thing is always what’s next. As of right now in (November 2018) Iʻm into an artist named Jah Gumby. He’s the bass player for a local reggae band called Glow the Mark. They’ve been around for around 20 years.

 

What inspires the vision for your label?

 

R: The difficult thing about being an entrepreneur is having that daily inspiration or motivation to keep doing what you’re doing. For me, I always think about a lot of the older musicians and as time passes, they’re getting older. Soon we won’t have the opportunity to re-release their music and preserve this piece of history. Also, Iʻm really inspired by community aspect. I get the opportunity to make connections with people around the world and locally through music.

 

Define being based in Hawaii?

 

R: Being based in Hawaii makes you very resourceful. We’re kind of isolated living on an island. We have to work with what we have. Honolulu has the vibe of a really big town.

 

Describe your experience working at BoxJelly?

 

R: The best part of our experience was that we had the opportunity to be a connected with online radio stations all around the world. We saw ourselves as part of a community with stations such as Worldwide FM in London, Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, and The Lot Radio in Brooklyn. These networks became an inspiration for us to do something similar in Honolulu. So in January of 2018, we launched an online radio station called Central Pacific Time. Around that time, we also met Rechung. He really dug what we were doing and he offered to bring us into the BoxJelly. For us, it was validation that we had a great idea. Here’s this guy who believes in us and our mission. He was willing to support us and help us foster this community. In March, we moved in. We had people coming through doing shows on the radio station. The experience has been a open and freeform place to work.

If you had to match a song to capture BoxJelly’s vibe, what would it be?

R: I couldn’t do just one song. It would have to be a whole mixtape. There are so many different things happening in BoxJelly. You have entrepreneurs and small businesses working out of the space. BoxJelly is connected to the Fishcake store and Morning Glass up front. It’s just a big mixture and it’s always thriving.

0
5

Entrepreleader: Rumi Murakami

Designer Rumi Murakami, long time BoxJelly resident Atelier, is creating clothing that merges high quality, timeless design with functionality and comfort. Taking inspiration from Hawaii’s tropical climate and growing urban environment, Rumi keeps her designs clean and cool. She aims to create clothing that is wearable without sacrificing style. She and Matt Bruening recently teamed up for a runway show at the Hawaii State Art Museum where their collections were turning a lot of heads. This week, she’ll be launching her online store. We had a chance to sit down with Rumi to talk about the show and her design practice.

 

You had show at the HiSAM in November 2018. Could you tell me about what inspired the work?

Rumi: The name of the show collection is Paper. Matt Bruening approached me about doing the show. Aly Ishikuni, co-founder of Art+Flea and Mori, got approval from the museum and we held it there. For this collection, I tried to think about using the fabric like paper, so I tried to stay really like angular, square and simple. Nothing too literal. I like things that have a little more subtle message.

In addition to that theme, I want clothing and fashion to be accessible to everyone and I think the museum during First Friday was a good venue to show the people that fashion is a viable business in Hawaii and that it doesnʻt need to be about aloha wear or ocean culture.

 

 


 

What is your workflow and how do you project manage?

R: I’m much better if I have a deadline otherwise I can drag the process. I think with a lot of creative processes, it’s hard to tell when you’re done. Typically for fashion when you’re dealing with a collection, you have your theme and your fabrics.  I enjoy the process of being limited to the fabrics. By that I mean picking out fabrics and trying to stay within the theme and again, try not be too literal with the theme either.

In the end, people have to wear these clothes so they have to make sense This is where I feel like art and design kind of go their separate ways. I don’t consider what I do art really. It’s definitely more design because it’s got to be functional. It has to be practical, it can’t be so weird that it’s distracting or you can’t move around in it.I want the clothes to be easy to wear but,I also want to offer something a little different and possesses a timeless quality. I also want everything to have pockets. If I can get a pocket in there, there’s going to be pocket there because it is necessary.

 

Has being in located in Hawaii influenced your designs?

R: Absolutely. I’m originally from northern California originally and so everything was lines and really tailored and layers and buttoned up colors. The environment and the culture has forced me to simplify my designs. We’re in a tropical climate and because of that we’re casual. I want to make tailored separates work in this climate. I still do some of things that I did in California, but it took me years to understand even how to dress myself here and what works and what doesn’t.

What do you want your viewer to understand about your work?

R: I think it’s important that the person who is wearing the clothes feels good. I use really high quality fabrics and natural fibers like cotton and linen. I want my work to come across as quality and really well fitting clothes. Clothes are supposed to feel good and make you feel good, right?

 

 

Do you have any advice to anyone who’s an aspiring designer?

R: Just keep working, keep doing, and keep producing. Even if you start small. Even if it’s a couple t-shirts or a couple pairs of shorts. Whatever it is that you’re doing, just start small and keep working. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to persevere. Talk to as many people as you can. When someone asks you what are you up to, reply like you own it. It took me a while to finally say that I’m a clothing designer. You have to  say it, claim it and put in the work.

Establishing yourself takes time. Everything takes longer than you think it’s going to. You have to establish your reputation so people trust you. This means as a designer, you have to be in it for the long haul.

Check out Rumiʻs online store!

 

 

0
3

Arts and Culture: Lauren Trangmar

Lauren Trangmar is an artist with a focus in design work. Lauren feels working in design gives her the opportunity to work in a multitude of mediums such as drawing, painting, and printmaking. She creates fine-line illustrations influenced by the line work of 17th century European cartographic illustrations. Being a designer who can work with a diverse set of mediums gives her the opportunity to display her pieces in both the fine art and commercial art worlds.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion for art? 


I’ve always wanted to be an artist. At a young age my parents supported my dream but they told me I wouldn’t make any money as an artist. When I started college I really wanted to pursue a painting major. My friends told me that I should go into graphic design because it was one path where I could make a living while making art while continuing to paint on the side. One of my design instructors told me “well you can paint in my class, you can draw in my class, you can do a film, and use it in your design.” I thought to myself that if I can do everything in this design class, then I’m going to do it.  Being able to work in different mediums felt like a super power as Iʻm able to mesh both my art and design skills together. Existing in both the design and art world also gave me the ability to market my pieces to both audiences. For the 2015 Artists of Hawaii Show, I did a series of illustrations and the Museum bought the original illustrations and put it in the archives. Then, I made print copies of my original illustrations in a big quantity and sell in different shops like Fishcake

How do you market yourself as an artist or a graphic designer?


I make most of my connections through word of mouth. I have been really lucky. People come to me for my distinct style. I’ve also gotten a lot of work from the Artists of Hawaii show. The owner of Aloha Green Apothecary saw my work at the museum and asked me to jump on their project. With Aloha Green Apothecary, I was creating various illustrations to represent different strains of cannabis. It’s really interesting because I didn’t know a lot about cannabis at all. I had to do months of research about cannabis. I went through all the crazy names of the different strands and then imagined what I could to do to visually interpret them.

I make most of my connections through word of mouth. I have been really lucky. People come to me for my distinct style. I’ve also gotten a lot of work from the Artists of Hawaii show. The owner of Aloha Green Apothecary saw my work at the museum and asked me to jump on their project. With Aloha Green Apothecary, I was creating various illustrations to represent different strains of cannabis. It’s really interesting because I didn’t know a lot about cannabis at all. I had to do months of research about cannabis. I went through all the crazy names of the different strands and then imagined what I could to do to visually interpret them.

How does the materials you work with inform your work?


I’ll often scan my drawings into the computer a work things out digitally, then I’ll print the new image and print on top of the digital illustration. It’s a back and forth process between illustration, digital work, and printmaking. I tend to do this process with a lot of my projects. 

I do this a lot when I’m illustrating for Flux magazine . I would first draw and paint with watercolor on tracing paper so I could see through it and then I would stack the layers up and I would scan each one into photoshop. In photoshop I can play around with it a bit more to  figure out how it’s going to look.

What is your work flow for doing art and how do you project manage?


When I start a freelance project I tend to intensely sketch out ideas for weeks. Once I have an idea, I go into the production phase and follow up with regular clients meetings. There are lots of up and down times depending on what stage I’m in with my projects. For example, last week I barely left my studio. However, this week I’m taking meetings and installing work. I make sure to meet my deadlines. Usually, the work I do for magazines like Flux, they want it in a week or two so I’ll Intensively work on those. While I work on projects with short deadlines, I’ll also take on a bigger project that will take months. For example, the Aloha Green Apothecary project has been ongoing for about a year now. That being said, I often like to take breaks from the longer projects to focus on shorter projects.

Do you have a favorite book, film or artist, which inspires you?


A lot of my work is influenced by 17th century cartographer Andrea Cellarius. Andrea Cellarius creates these crazy star maps filled with detailed drawings of mythical creatures and planets. I’m constantly looking at his work. I went to the library and I got to look at a massive book full of his print ads. You’ll see his influence in the work I made at the museum.

What does it mean to be an artist in Hawaii?


Wherever you are, the people and experiences you’re exposed to are going to inform your work. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with Aloha Green Apothecary or have my work in Fishcake. Also, the teachers at UH gave me the freedom the explore different mediums within my design practice.   

Have you ever doubted your art practice?


l doubt my practice all the time. I’m friends with people who are at all different levels in their careers. They all share their doubts and struggles with me and this has helped me get over my own fears.. I learned that doubt is something that never goes away no matter what stage you are in your career. You have to figure it out, keep going and learn from your mistakes.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?


Don’t give up. Just embrace the fear and do it anyway. I’m scared all the time. I have projects and I tell clients “yeah sure I’ll do it.” Then I go back to a blank piece of paper and I think to myself, “how am I gonna do that?” Sometimes when you’re working for a client, the hardest part of your job is reading their mind and bringing it out onto the page. I feel like I have to turn into a mind reader, I never know if i’m going to get it right. So I’m always a bit nervous, but I just keep working for it.

0
5

KEEPINʻ IT KAKAʻAKO: CHUBBIES BURGERS

Address: 960 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96814
Hours of operation:
Tuesday – Sunday lunch: 11am-3pm dinner: 5pm-9pm

Occupying the corner stall the Ward and Auahi shopping strip mall, Chubbies has slowly become the go-to burger joint of the Kaka’ako area. Last week, I set out see what the hype is all about.

The small line in front of the truck looked promising. Nestled between a couple of coconut trees and some outdoor dining tables, Chubbies gives off that comforting Hawaii vibe. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to stay.

I order the Classic 50s burger, a side of fries, and the loaded bacon fries. The wait times were manageable. The service staff were quick and responsive. When I picked up my food, I finally understood the hype. The burgers are luxurious, the fries are a must-try, and the loaded fries is an exercise in gluttony. The buns are a light-crisp-on-the-outside-and-fluffy-on-the-inside brioche. The homemade patty was seared to an surface crunch and retained a moist, savory flavor. Fresh tomatoes and butter lettuce balance the grease from the meat. Chubbies signature 50s sauce, which is shares a similar flavor to light mayo, added a bit more body to the burger and rounded out the flavor.

For my sides, I ordered a regular fries and bacon fries. The regular fries, coming in a mini-brown bag with enough to share, were cooked to a golden yellow and perfectly salted. They were the crispy-edges-with-a-fluffy-inside type of fries that one does not stumble upon often. Moving on, the loaded bacon fries is…next-level. Definitely, not a side for the faint of heart. This dish is a healthy serving of standard fries drizzled with the 50s sauce, decked with chunks of bacon, topped with chopped green onions. In fact, the serving of fries were so large that I we shared with everyone back at the Box. One takeaway from this experience is that if there is one way to raise moral around the workplace, itʻs walking around with a mound of fries, and sharing with those around you. I was met with many gracious smiles.

0
3

Entrepreleaders: Dan Ferrari

Dan Ferrari is a copywriter focusing on long-form web advertising. Dan does a majority of his copywriting work for the agency Dig.In, an agency he founded with a few friends. Working in long-form advertising gives Dan an opportunity to do research on products that can greatly affect people’s livelihood. At Dig.In. he writes content for financial services and health supplement companies. For each project Dan does intensive research to fully grasp the companies’ services. Dan also feels an important part of his job is to learn how to better empathize with the company’s target market. Dan tries to connect with the consumers on an emotional level. Being a copywriter that creates web content allows Dan the freedom to work wherever he wants. This freedom to work remotely in Hawaii is one of the main reason why Dan became a copywriter.  

Tell me about yourself and your business

I write the copy for long-form advertisements. Long-form advertising is giving a lot of information to someone in one interaction in order to get them to make a purchase. It’s similar to a thirty minute television infomercial. At Dig.In, I focused on web content with this agency. We make a lot of facebook and instagram ads. We got our start working for a company called the Motley Fool, which publishes accessible financial advice for the everyday person. We also do a lot of work for organic health companies. Those things sound very different, but if you look at them a little bit deeper, what you find is that you have markets where people want to know as much as they can about their services; they are two things that could have a big impact on your life. People tend to do a lot of due diligence when they’re making purchasing decisions dealing with finances and health. That’s why long-form advertising is effective because it takes 30 minutes to 45 minutes to tell someone everything they need to know about the product. Human nature is the same across the board.  People want to be well educated before making tough decisions.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?

I used to live in Washington, DC and I was working a very traditional career suit and tie job every single day. My uncle had just moved to Maui and I came to visit him. I stopped in Honolulu beforehand and I fell in love. After that visit all I could think about was to live in Hawaii. That started me on this journey of trying to figure out how to make a living in Hawaii. I happened to hear about a gentlemen named Tommy Schultz who left the corporate world and started to work for the Peace Corps. While in the Peace Corps he was sent to the Philippines, where he was taught underwater photography. His job was to take pictures of the reef. Tommy and I went to the same college, the University of Virginia. Tommy graduated years before me and I found out about him from researching various alumni. l randomly emailed him and told him that I was inspired by his lifestyle. He responded and we scheduled to grab lunch together. At lunch, he told me how he had used copywriting to build his own career. So, for me, it was a lifestyle choice. I could live anywhere I wanted and surf on my own time. He set me off on the path to copywriting.

“…for me, it was a lifestyle choice.
I could live anywhere I wanted and surf on my own time.”
What is your work flow for doing your work and how do you project manage?

I’m very fortunate that I started this agency with friends. They’re in charge of handling the clients. I get to just do the work. Most freelancers have to wear all the hats in a business whereas, I can just focus solely on the work. Normally, I work on multiple projects for one client at a time. The project flow’s pretty much set in place and then it’s up to me make sure that I meet my deadlines. A typical project takes me generally like eight weeks. During the first quarter, I just research. In those three weeks I’m saturating my brain with the product before I sit down to write. After that I make an outline and begin to write.

How to you make a connection with the consumers of the products you write about?

You have to understand what is driving people to be interested in whatever you’re talking about. You put yourself in their shoes because their concerns and desires are very different than mine. For example, when I wrote for Motley Fool, most projects were directed towards selling services for people concerned about retirement. I’m a 34 year old kid – what do I know about planning for retirement?! Half the time you see me back in the HotBox I’m not actually writing! I’m doing a deep dive and trying to figure out what makes people tick. Then, I put all my findings into a general framework about human nature. All of these products can tug the emotional strings, so you have to really understand what drives human concerns.

If you were copywriting for BoxJelly how would you capture BJ’s voice?

A part of the appeal of BoxJelly is the independent vibe. At a lot of other co-working spaces I’ve been to there are only offices and nobody talks to one another. Co-working may not even be sufficient to describe BoxJelly, it’s a community of entrepreneurs, independent workers, and creatives. I tend to think of it as a creative space as opposed to an office space.

Describe your experience working out of BoxJelly

It’s nice to have somewhere to go work where everyone knows each other and there is no weird co-worker hierarchy. It’s just a bunch of people that I have a lot in common with. It’s liberating to be able to work among them.

Have you ever doubted the work you do?

No matter how successful you are in this business, you always sort of feel like maybe you’re a little bit of an impostor or maybe you just got lucky. The honest answer is that doubt is always there and I made peace with it. I just think that failures are as much part of this job as is breathing. It’s a part of life.

What advice would you give to someone trying to get into freelance work or copywriting?

My whole philosophy on being a freelancer is to just get incredibly good at what you do. Dedicate yourself to your service and dive deep into it. I’ve been doing this for years but I’m constantly studying to improve my skills. First thing I did when I came in today was read for 30 minutes about copywriting. Lastly, meet people who are in the same industry as you. Every industry is a part of a network and it’s all connected.

0
8

Tips for the Wokeplace: Three Steps You Can Take to Be a Better Listener

 

Coworking offers the opportunities to be surrounded by unique, motivated individuals who can offer insights about work and give you genuine human connection. This new workplace landscape creates more opportunities for collaboration than ever before. But in order for conversations to flourish, each person must be able to listen to the other. Like, really actually listen. Not just smile and then forget about what they said five minutes after they walk away. Say your fellow co-worker is in the process of expanding their team and talks to you about having a hard time finding a good fit. Being able to fully engage in a conversation, both listening and responding, will help both people to spark new ideas about how to approach the hiring process.

 

I find that I listen best when I approach with the intent to understand and support, not to critique or analyze. For example, you might be eager to engage in conversation, but if you are constantly cutting others off mid sentence, they may start to feel misunderstood. Actively listening to your co-worker, rather than waiting for your turn to say something, encourages patience during a conversation. Here are three key techniques that help me become a better active listener:

 

1. Pay attention and stay engaged

Look at your conversation buddy directly and try not to get distracted by any passing thoughts or environmental factors.  We all have tasks and concerns on our minds, but making the effort to fully hear someone can offer you a chance to step out of your own head for a minute and show the other person that you care.

Example: you have a tiring weekend playing tour guide for cousins that are in town and you get to work on Monday still feeling drained. One of your fellow co-workers asks how your weekend was, and you respond by telling them about how you drove from Waikiki to North Shore to Kailua then back to Waikiki for a late dinner yesterday and are feeling pretty exhausted today. You know theyʻre working on a big project, but they seem genuinely interested in your story and offer you some expressions of shared tiredness. These small signals of engagement can make a big difference.

 

2. Provide feedback in an honest and respectful way

Once your partner had wrapped up their thoughts, summarize what you heard and start with things like “It sounds like…” or “what I’m hearing is…”. Ask questions if you need clarification on a point. If you start to take something personally, ask for more information. “I may not be understanding you correctly, is this what you meant…?” Being able to recognize when something said makes you feel angry or makes you want to respond defensively can be helpful in keeping the conversation respectful.

Take a second to process your emotions before reacting to what was said. Understand that almost all of the time, it’s not about you.

 

3. Ask questions and let the other person find the solution

Last but not least, unless directly asked for a solution, try to refrain from trying to “fix” the problem. Focus on letting the other person talk through their issues and expand on their ideas. Sometimes asking the right questions can help a friend come to their own solutions.

Example: someone is telling you about the string of difficult overseas clients sheʻs had to talk on the phone with recently. Instead of responding with a helpful tip about how to decompress after a stressful call, ask what specific things made the interactions hard to deal with, or ask what she usually does to relieve stress. This type of unbiased conversation will strengthen a healthy bond between you and your coworkers.

 

Lastly, SHARE and LISTEN – the more you share, the more you become integrated into the community. Being part of a co-working space allows us to share in the community’s success together. Being able to engage with the community gives an opportunity to share wins, creating authentic relationships that will foster growth for everyone involved.

 

0
7