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Contrast Magazine

Island Fin Design


Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito
Photography / John Hook

Island Fin Design is a family business located on the North Shore of O‘ahu that is built on stoke, quality, cool factor and aesthetics. There is always an emphasis on performance in their product, but beauty is never sacrificed and is always present in every piece that comes from their shop in the old Waialua sugar mill. The founder and owner of Island Fin Design is Steve Mock, who is still designing, cutting and laminating skegs to this day. He came to the North Shore in 1976 by way of Newport, Calif. to ride the world-class waves of the North Shore. Surfboard shaper Billy Barnfield of Raging Isle gave Steve his start and taught him how to foil fins. At the time, single-fin surfboards were the norm in The Country. Then Simon Anderson invented the thruster fin setup and won the 1981 Pipeline Masters, legitimizing Anderson’s innovation and essentially tripling Island Fin Design’s business. At first, Steve was on the fence about staying on the North Shore and his budding business. He was considering “going-going, back-back to Cali-Cali” until Billy Barnfield stepped in and gave him some life-altering advice. Read more

Kanoa Zimmerman

Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito

The summer of 2012 was a dismal season for waves on the South Shore of O‘ahu. Old-timers and the local news called it the “worst summer of surf in history.” From Memorial Day to the end of August there were only two substantial swells in Town. Photographer Kanoa Zimmerman, 30, happened to score one of the brief windows of waves while in Honolulu for an exhibition of his work put on by Interisland Terminal. Kanoa showcased black and white images captured with Nikonos, Contax and Mamiya 35 mm film cameras. The San Francisco-based, Native Hawaiian prefers the tangible aspect of shooting film and having something physical in the end over DSLRs with images stored on a hard drive. Read more

James Jean

JAMES JEAN
Words / Carolyn Mirante
Photography / Brandon Shigeta

James Jean is an enigmatic figure. Trained as an illustrator, Jean acquired a cult following with his unique and meticulous style. In 2008, he surprised the world by leaving the realm of commercial illustration for the more structured world of fine art. His first foray into this realm—a solo exhibition at the Martha Otero Gallery in LA—was met with great success. Today, nearly two years after the opening of a much-speculated-on exhibition at the Tilton Gallery in NYC (Parallel Lives), Jean opens up about his life, creative inspirations, and what the future has in store for him. Read more
 

Contrast Magazine

The Vanimals


Words / Mark Kushimi

Eight friends, 18 days, one van and an absurd amount of cameras; cruising up and down the West Coast, snapping photos, and getting lost in the freedom of living with only two goals: (1) to collect enough images to assemble a book; and (2) to have more fun than you. Read more


Matthew Tapia
Matthew Tapia
Words / Jenny de Jesus
Portrait / Mark Kushimi

Matthew Tapia will tell you he got lucky. The self-taught artist was working odd jobs and drawing in his free time when the owner of clothing giant Ecko Unltd. happened to spot Tapia’s work in his first and only art show in a small skate shop on the Windward side of O‘ahu. Impressed with what he saw, he left his card with the store and asked that Tapia call him before he left the island in two days time. Tapia made that call not knowing it would change his professional life forever. Just a couple of months later, he accepted a full-time job with Ecko in New York City. Read more


Estevan Oriol

Estevan Oriol
Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito
Portrait / Mark Kushimi

The first camera Estevan Oriol bought was a Canon AE-1, and it’s been his tool of choice ever since. He didn’t find photography, rather it found the Los Angeles native in the early-’90s as the tour manager for hip-hop heavyweights House of Pain and Cypress Hill. His father, Eriberto, who was a photographer, gave Estevan a Minolta to document life on the road with the rappers. From there it manifested into a career for the burly, tatted-up Latino. His stunning images of low riders, gangs and tattoo culture gained him a loyal following, while his portraits of athletes, artists and celebrities garnered Estevan mainstream recognition. He shot campaigns for big brands like Cadillac and Apple; directed music videos for artists like Enimem, Cypress Hill and Blink 182; and produced shoots for internationally renowned photographers like Luca Babini for GQ Italy. His book, “LA Portraits,” showcases the gritty, street culture of his hometown, but moreover, shows the beauty that he is able to capture with analog film. Read more