A project inspired by previous generations is the most recent event for Old Kapa‘a Town Business Hui where international muralist Caleb Aero presents a series of paintings incorporating throwback images of historic Kapa‘a Town featuring Hawaiian trees and canoe-voyaging plants, which are also the street names for the side streets of Old Kapa‘a Town.
In Old Kapa‘a Town, the walls of the Pono Coffee & Bakery building, Templ, and Leong’s Meathouse are the new homes for artwork by Caleb Aero.
Pono Coffee and Bakery is now decorated with flowers of the Inia plant (Pride of India) and the image of the historic Pono Theater that occupied the corner lot of Kuhio Highway and Inia Street till 1982 when Hurricane ‘Iwa hit.
Templ’s south facing wall on Kauwila Street portrays the face of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, whom the main highway on Kauai is named for, decorated with segments of the Kauwila tree, a native hardwood of Hawai‘i.
Leong’s Meathouse on Lehua Street brandishes the paniolo (cowboy) of Kapa‘a, Charles Ahi, decorated with the blossoms of the native Lehua tree.
The details, by design of the muralist, depict the history of Old Kapa‘a Town. It's a project that Caleb Aero hopes will positively impact the community of Kapa‘a. Dive in for a deeper look. Find out details in the enlightening and informative interview with the artist, “Q&A with Caleb Aero”.
How do you feel to be part of Old Kapa‘a Town Business Hui?
What do you foresee for the town?
I see a growing movement of people collectively now contributing and wanting to be involved in making this one of the more popular towns on the island. I have seen the community pull together to make his work.
The new skate park is a great addition. The kids are now involved in the town. They come out to participate, skate, and have fun.
Old Kapa‘a Town has got its own little thing. As a town I think Kapa‘a has got some of the coolest stuff like the bike path which is a huge attraction.
Where are your top 5 favorite places that you’ve painted?
#1 Patagonia because it’s at the very bottom of Chile, no one goes there, it's isolated but yet it’s the most beautiful, pristine place you can see on this planet.
#2 Kaua‘i because growing up, it was pristine, untouched, undeveloped and beautiful.
#3 New York because that became the Mecca of spray painting culture when they used to spray paint subway cars. That environment is a very impressive environment where you have to be very mentally challenged and skilled because it’s very competitive. That was a thrill to be in a competitive environment and survive as a kid.
#4 New Mexico somewhere out there on the white sands because it’s tranquil, serene, and so clean. The desert is so clean compared to the city and it’s an amazing thing.
#5 The Middle East because the culture is so ancient in a sense, and being able to bring something and share with them that they haven’t seen, shows that when we visit the Middle East there’s a way to conduct business peacefully. And that’s why that would be the last spot because being able to travel and conduct business without conflict, it’s one of the golden rules as an artist. To leave the location better than you found it.
What message do you want to share with others?
If you’re sitting behind a desk you’re not experiencing life. You can sit behind a desk and read about swimming, or you can go swim.
With all your travels and experience, what would be your favorite type of art?
Right now, at my age, I really got a great opportunity to utilize different materials and that has really given me a well-rounded background. It has really allowed me to explore my curiosity with inventing things.
What I love about being older now, and to have this chance to utilize these materials and resources, is that there is so much that can be done on this island that people are unaware of because they’ve never utilized the materials in certain capacities. Seeing the possibilities has now led me to continue to educate the public, on the island as well as abroad, about utilizing and repurposing the materials that are disposed of.
One great example would be plastic. Instead of putting it in a landfill you can reconstruct it and reform it, like play-dough, into useful tools and it can also be utilized to better the community and the island.