Caution: Dangerous Curves Ahead

From street to inked skin, artist Aaron Kai's waves have staying power.
30 November 2015, 3:35pm

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:48pm PST

Waves are transitory in nature, moving in constant motion, and yet not one is the same. Post-Pop artist Aaron Kai’s signature handpainted waves come in vibrant colors encased in bold lines. They’ve made their marks on murals at Pow Wow Hawaii, and for brands like Adidas and Ralph Lauren.

To date, Kai has drawn about 10,000 waves. “I enjoy the movement and curves,” he tells The Creators Project. “It’s simple, starting with layouts of each wave in pencil and then I determine how they will fill the space. Once the curves are shaped within the waves, I paint starting with the lightest to darkest colors and finish with outlines.”

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Nov 17, 2015 at 12:08pm PST

Kai started his career early, drawing waves during class in high school and surfing in his free time. There are notes of inspiration in his work from Kaws, Gerardo Parra, and Warhol. Over time, his drawings started to receive positive feedback from creatives like Paulo Wallo of Rare Panther, Reginald Sylvester a.k.a. Slvstr, Kumasi Sadiki of The Good Company, and David Lin of Kicks Hawaii. Today, Kai’s signature waves with their pop aesthetic have budded as a lifestyle brand.

Originally from Hawaii and currently living in the Bay Area, Kai translates his waves into tattoo collections, hosting tattoo parties in San Francisco and Los Angeles. With the help of tattoo artists PEMEX and  Vanessa, fans chose from more than 40 images like a Gucci slipper, 'Hotline Bling,' a money stack, pizza, and more, with tattoos ranging from $80 - $120, depending on the size.

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Nov 1, 2015 at 12:03pm PST

Not every artist is necessarily a tattoo artist and vice versa, however the two worlds continue to collide. Kai looks for new materials to extend his wave-making from traditional paper and wallscapes to digital renders and inked bodies. “To have art fanatics and supporters of my art want to carry my waves on their body forever is amazing. It's a way of spreading my art in a different form for a new demographic of people,” he says.

“People like to take ideas and make them their own, I just hope each artist puts their own twist on this concept. Like a remix—if you take another artist’s idea, it is your responsibility to make it your own with respect to the influencer.“

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Oct 19, 2015 at 6:49pm PDT

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Oct 11, 2015 at 8:28pm PDT

A photo posted by Aaron Kaleinani Kai (@aaronkkai) on Sep 28, 2015 at 1:10pm PDT

Learn more about the artist by clicking here.


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