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.
Their murals of these X-Games meets “Swiss Family Robinson” homes can be seen on various walls around Honolulu. 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 Surfjack Hotel in Waikiki. Most recently, Wooden Wave collaborated on a capsule collection with Olukai around the theme, “Mauka to Makai,” with a portion of the sales directly benefitting Lana Lane Studios. The Native Hawaiian artists created the artwork and concept to guide the creative direction of the project that features men’s and women’s styles of shoes and slippers, and 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 Hawai‘i’s cultural ideology, Aloha is crucial to maintaining both social and environmental balance. Without the ahupua‘a functioning properly you lose the essence of Hawai‘i as a place, and without true Aloha there can be no ‘Hawaiian experience.’”