KAPAA — Two artists are painting the town red — as well as a rainbow of other bright colors.
Last week, Hawaii artists Dan Madsen and David Flores created a colorful mural along the oceanfront bike path in Kapaa Town.
“It’s something to look at instead of a blank or dirty wall,” Madsen said. “It livens things up a bit. Hopefully it inspires people to get their paint out.”
The 5-foot-high and 40-foot-wide painting depicting the unique character of Kauai took the pair about three full days to complete.
“I just ended up being there for some rest and relaxation, so we thought it would be a good time to do that,” Madsen said. “It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment design concept.”
Sean McCrink, co-owner of Yes I Elephit Skate Shop, commissioned the artists to design and paint the community art piece just east of the store.
“We wanted to keep it something to do with Kauai culture and something for people on the bike path to stop and see instead of just a white wall,” McCrink said. “We want to see more future things like this by sponsoring collaborating artists coming together to do stuff for the community.”
The bright mural with big capital letters and intricate details has garnered attention from residents and visitors alike.
“Every time I pull up to the shop, there’s always somebody outside taking a photo with it, and different tourists stop to take pictures,” McCrink said.
Flores, collaborating painter and team artist for the Kapaa shop, has previously created murals on Oahu and along the highway on Kauai that have been well-received.
“It’s about getting involved and supporting people at what they choose to do in a positive way, trying to find these creative outlets whether it’s skateboarding, surfing, art, music, dance,” Flores said. “We’re just trying to liven up this community.”
“We’re all in it for the same reason, and that’s just to do what it is that we love and to try and give back to the community,” he added. “It’s cool to collaborate with another artist from another Hawaiian island.”
The other artist, Madsen, has owned Oasis Skate Shop in Hilo for almost a decade. He has painted similar murals on the Big Island, one on a large retaining wall in Honomu for a community town project.
“We just wanted to do some bold lettering that would be easy to read and something really colorful that would grab people’s eyes,” Madsen said. “We didn’t want to put any controversial subject matter into it.”
The skate shop owners keep close connections across the islands, also collaborating to design their newest product, the Aloha Spirit Skateboard, which features fun artwork depicting characteristics of Hawaii like an ukulele, surfboard, coconut tree and barbecue grill.
“It’s just fun to make little connections throughout the islands,” Madsen said. “It’s easy to feel disconnected I suppose. If you can do little things like that, it gives you an excuse to visit or whatever.”
The skateboarding group hopes people will provide more spaces for art, to beautify town centers instead of just having plain walls.
“If there’s other people in town that have blank walls they want to see some color put on, I’d be more than happy to come back out there,” Madsen said.