My name is Kazu Kauinana. I am an artist. I am also "Hapa", (Japanese/Hawaiian) and grew up in Kaimuki on Oahu, just outside of Waikiki.
My art career began when I was 7 years old and I received a 2nd grade scholarship to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I went to Kamehameha Schools from kindergarten through 9th grade before running away from home to California to surf and shape surfboards at age15.
Reality struck, my surfboard career did not take off and I was not making enough money pulling weeds. So I ended up living with my hanai sister, her Chicano husband, my 3 year‐old nephew, and baby niece in San Diego for 1 year. I did surf a little, but mainly I did laundry, baby sat (a lot), cleaned the yard and went to the city public school, where the student body was 1/3 Haole, 1/3 Chicano and 1/3 Black. This part of my history was an important factor that steered me into a life long passion for art, cultures, travel and awareness.
I returned to Hawaii in 1991 from New York City where I had lived for 13 years. I had been gone for a total of 25 years.
The driving force for my art always starts with an interest in a subject. The range of subjects is endless. Once I have a subject, I gather information, and with that information develop a concept. The concept inspires me to create a tangible object (usually a sculpture or drawing for a sculpture) that communicates the idea to the viewer. I try to keep the intended "meaning" of the artwork somewhat open so that many can have their own interpretations or version of the piece.
Just as I have shared part of my life with you, I would like you to come by my tent on "Club Day" on Wed., Sept. 12 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Campus Center Courtyard, and tell me about yourselves. I'm interested in what you feel about your school and your community. I want to know your career aspirations and your dreams. Stop by the tent and talk story and tell me what idea you think I should make tangible so everyone can look at your idea contribution and you can say, "Hey, I helped that guy Kahzmo make the sculpture for our school".