Images: Jonas Maon
Honolulu Airport got a lot more visually stimulating with the Fitted x Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i x Hawaiian Airlines collaborative art project. The largest airlines based out of Hawai‘i, upped their “street cred” by decking out their ground service equipment in custom paint jobs by some of Honolulu’s most well recognized artists and designers. For four days, the Hawaiian Airlines maintenance facility was filled with the low hiss and metal gurgle of spray cans as the vehicles were adorned with brightly-colored “street” art. Contrast caught up with Fitted Hawai‘i Production Manager and Senior Graphic Designer Jared Johnston a.k.a. JJ Parkz to hear about their artistic process for this giant project.
JJ Parkz: Who initiated the art project and what was the scope of it?
It’s funny because if I’m not mistaken, I believe it started as a joke between Kamea and a Hawaiian Airlines special projects representative. Both Pow! Wow! Hawaii and FITTED have great relationships with HA and we were lucky enough for them to allow us the opportunity of executing these types of special projects. Scope? One of my biggest art career opportunities to date.
How long did this art project take and how many cans of paint did you use?
Four full work days… Monday through Thursday and a lot of good lunches provided by our buddy “Gooch” over at Lunchbox. A lot of the base coats were applied using the actual vehicle sprayer in the Hawaiian Airlines paint booth. After that, a couple buckets for the catering truck and a few cans of each green for the Island Camo did the job.
Who were the crews and homies apart of the project?
Kamea Hadar (Pow Wow | Portrait Extraodanaire), Jasper Wong (Pow Wow | Caricature Artist) , Jeff Gress (Pow Wow | Font Master), Defer (OrIginal Font Expertise), Christina Shayne (fellow FITTED designer), Ola Nakaʻahiki (FITTED owner), and also some help from Kaleena (our newest member of the FITTED Ohana) and brother JP (The Green).
Where were you guys painting at?
We were amazingly blessed to have free use of the Hawaiian Airlines maintenance facility directly on the far end of the Tarmac. They did a great job of taking care of us and their whole staff was really supportive. Shouts to all of the required ‘escorts’ who dealt with our bathroom breaks! Haha!
Where can people see the collaboration?
What was the backstory on the artwork that was selected for the project?
It was an amazing project because of the variety of styles brought by the different artist parties. On one side of the catering truck you’ll find an amazing portrait of Bailee Naka’ahiki, painted by Kamea Hadar who specializes in portraits, dressed in a uniquely stylized haku lei by Defer. On the other side, you’ll find a beautifully complimenting “tiger camo” collaboration between Gress and Defer. The three smaller cars (Plane Tug, Belt Loader, and Luggage Cart) were dressed in FITTED’s “ʻĀina Camo” pattern. Lastly, all vehicles were accented with a vibrant safety orange. The “ʻĀina Camo” pattern, a motif comprised of all eight Hawaiian Islands, was chosen as a way to represent Hawaii, our home, as well as to be a juxtaposition to the many safety regulations and precautions on the Tarmac. By executing brightly colored camouflage (usually is utilized to conceal it wearer) vehicles that can be seen from as far as the eye can see, it was an interesting way for us to provide function while adding an unconventional aesthetic through our design. Shouts to fellow FITTED family member, Eric Newhouse, for creating our now staple ”ʻĀina Camo” pattern.
Why did you want to be involved with this project?
I actually only agreed so I could eat the free lunches throughout the week… I guess the amazing line up of artists, the opportunity to work with a world renowned airlines on a first project of it’s kind, and the chance to represent my FITTED Ohana was just a plus… Haha!
When did you know that you were into graffiti?
It’s been 9 years since I’ve first touched paint to a wall. I’ve always been the one to get in trouble for doodling in class as a kid. It was natural for me to progress in art any way possible. My friends were always into graffiti for as long as I can remember, spending the week nights and weekends destroying anything they could. It wasn’t long before I got stuck on one of their missions and became instantly intrigued. Within a few weeks of my first experience, I found myself spending evenings in the ditches. It has taught me so many lifelong lessons.
How often do you get to paint these days?
Unfortunately, it’s rough for me to find time these days. Working long hours in the office doing art on the computer makes it hard for me to pack a bag of paint and hike up to a spot on my off time. I’ve been so focused on handling business now so I can enjoy more free time activities, like graffiti, sooner in life.
How did that experience with graf-art help you in this project?
I feel like anyone who’s taken graffiti seriously at some point understands the positive things it can offer you. From small help with art elements such as color, composition, letter structure, etc., to bigger lessons such as how to work with other artists and problem solve your art on a whim. It’s one of the ultimate forms of freedom and expression through art. Graffiti wasn’t always positive throughout my experiences, but it led me to where I’m at now and I’ll forever be grateful for that.