“It’s very important to keep a smile on your face and a positive attitude… if we’re all just down and out, nothing’s going to get solved and we’re not going to fix anything.” Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Kai’s work is all about colour, impact and environment. And walking with him through the broad streets of Inglewood you can see the colourful juxtapositions of tone, line and outlook that come together in the canvases, murals and objects he creates.
“Sometimes just to make people laugh is the best response to any emergency you’ve got,” he says. Aaron’s roots are in the fertile earth of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. “Pretty much everyone around me growing up spent time in the water, surfing, paddling, fishing,” he says, “The big takeaway is not only a knowledge of the ocean’s beautiful fragility — but it’s also a knowledge of the power of the community that can be built around the sea.”
Influenced by the dynamics of Keith Haring’s bugged-out figures as much as the cascading waves of Hokusai, the Aaron Kai aesthetic takes its cue from the offbeat textures and contrasts of the contemporary world. “If my work can put a smile on people’s face but also add another layer of understanding about the environment around us, then I think my job will be done…”
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