Luminaries, Moving with the Light


It’s been an eye opening last few months since I walked away, or shall I say, gently nudged out the door from my previous gig as Signmaker at Whole Foods Market, Kahala Mall. I have had a lot of time to reflect on my work, my goals and my passion since then. What I have found is that it always comes back to finding that image. Whether I need to create that sucker from scratch using the tools I’ve gained from all the years of practicing graphic design or if it’s chasing down a moment in time, I need that image to manifest itself in front of me one way or another or I feel empty and uninspired.

So I’ve been pushing forward. I’ve been stepping into odd situations to force myself out of my usual comfort zone with my images. No matter how far I go or how hard I try, I always come back to the music. 

Last week I found myself at a hip hop gig at an eccentric little place above a dive bar that houses some great musicians nightly in downtown Honolulu called The Dragon Upstairs. It’s where seasoned orchestra leaders and multi-instrumentalists go to jam. I had no idea what to expect except that a friend of mine, who I knew was an incredible lyricist was supposed to be performing at some point. 

After making my way up the stairs, I was greeted with open arms by one of the mc’s that was stoked on my Maiden shirt, who then walked me around the room introducing me to everyone in the place. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around that much positivity in a room. And for once, my hair was tame compared to the folks rockin’ the dreads throughout the venue. 

First up was The Astatine Collective. A soulful and uplifting R&B group channeling the energy of old school Stevie Wonder. These shows are always a blast to shoot since there are virtually no restrictions except common courtesy of not intruding on folks having a good time. A refreshing change from the harsh florescent lights and 80’s throwback rock bands that inhabit our local rock scene. I stood up on chairs and shot through the montage of mirrors which sat on the crimson colored walls. 

Up next was Samurai Funktion. Good friends in this band, creating a whirlwind of improvisational, freestyle hip hop. My bud, Girish unleashing a flurry of notes on the 4 strings of his fiddle.

Then it was time for the headliners of the night, Luminaries. I’ve never heard of these guys before seeing their name written in chalk outside the venue. The duo spat out more words during their set than I’ve used all week. With their fists pounding the air and positive vibes flowing throughout the venue, Luminaries (*Lite- they let me know that this was a stripped down show w/out their whole crew) brought an energy I haven’t experience in a long time. A night that culminated in a giant group hug, a headbanging DJ and lyricist as well as a dreaded dude dancing with a coconut. Good times….