Skip to Content
Contrast Magazine
When Kaka‘ako Comes to Chinatown

The Olu Kai x Wooden Wave capsule collection launch is Manifest(ed) with an art show
Images: Mark Kushimi

Wooden Wave_Matt and Roxy Ortiz

OluKai hosted the launch of their collaboration with Kaka‘ako-based artist couple, Wooden Wave, with an art show and silent auction. Framed pieces from the Lana Lane Studios artists hung on the brick walls as well as live painting on OluKai slip on shoes by Cory Taum, Kahiau Beamer, Keoni Paakaula, Gavin Murai and Hadley Nunes. All of the proceeds generated from sale of the artwork and limited-edition OluKai event tee benefitted Lana Lane Studios.

Pow! Wow! School of Music

The event was a huge success with a massive turnout for a Thursday night with delicious food from the Pig and the Lady as well as a live performance from the Pow! Wow! School of music and an all-vinyl Hawaiian music set by Aloha Got Soul capping off the evening.

Nunes in back_Murai in front

Riding the momentum of Pow! Wow! Hawai‘! 2016, Gavin Murai of Lana Lane Studios puts his creative energy into a pair of OluKai slip-ons.

Wooden Wave

The ancient brilliance of the ahupua‘a system of having everything necessary for survival within your neighborhood is an underlying theme to the artwork of Wooden Wave. This duo of Native Hawaiian artists, comprised of husband and wife, Matt and Roxy Ortiz, illustrate this indigenous wisdom in modern forms through fantasy dwellings that have everything a skateboarder and/or surfer would need to sustain a life of radness.

“We are especially drawn to the idea of creating self-sustaining communities because they represent a modern manifestation of the ahupua‘a concept,” says Matt Ortiz from Wooden Wave’s creative space in the Lana Lane Studios in Kaka‘ako. “We place these communities up in the trees as an expression of our desire to connect with the nostalgic sense of possibility and innovation that is associated with treehouses.

But beyond the romanticism of a rad clubhouse built in the canopy, the addition of solar panels, water catchment systems and aquaponics, make each composition relevant to the environmental issues of today.”
Their murals of these X-Games meets “Swiss Family Robinson” homes can be seen on various walls around Kaka‘ako. Wooden Wave is a core contributor the annual Hawaiian mural festival, Pow Wow Hawai‘i. In addition, they create commissioned pieces for spaces like the Surf Jack Hotel in Waikiki.

Matt and Roxy Ortiz

The OluKai x Wooden Wave capsule collection’s theme is “Mauka to Makai” and the Hawaiian artists created a concept piece to guide the creative direction of this project that features four men’s and women’s styles of shoes and slippers that are being sold exclusively only in Hawai‘i and on According to Matt the art is also to perpetuate Aloha for the ahupua‘a system and its indigenous knowledge.

“At its core, this image is about balancing elements. In addition to the Mauka (mountain) and Makai (shoreline) regions we also included elements of Lani (sky), and Moana (ocean). To emphasize the notion of unity we tried to create a composition that reflected the interconnected nature of these elements,” explains Matt. “The lei forms that weave through the waves are there to symbolize the importance of Aloha. As an underpinning element of Hawaii’s cultural ideology, Aloha is crucial to maintaining both social and environmental balance. Without the ahupua‘a functioning properly you lose the essence of Hawaii as a place, and without true Aloha there can be no “Hawaiian experience.’”

Kahiau Beamer

Kahiau Beamer utilizes sharpie pens to create a one-off OluKai piece of wearable art.

Hadley_Nunes and Gavin_Murai

Hadley Nunes mixing colors before taking brush to shoe.

Crowd at The Manifest

It was a truly a modern “Hawaiian experience” at Manifest for the launch of OluKai x Wooden Wave with a lot of smiles, creativity and Aloha shared that evening. Thank you to OluKai for getting all of us together that night, and it was amazing to see the connection between the Kaka‘ako and Chinatown art communities.

“Roxy and I would like thank everyone who came out in support of the OluKai x Wooden Wave capsule collection launch event and Lana Lane group art show,” says Matthew Ortiz. “We would also like to add to that mahalo on behalf of the artists of Lana Lane studios, who greatly appreciate the support of OluKai and the community that attended. Roxy and I are moved and humbled by the outpouring of aloha and encouragement that we have received as a part of this collaboration. We are very excited to see the shoe collection released to the public and are so grateful to be a part of the OluKai ohana!”