3 minute read
one chance to do life
Words by Kelsie Dayna and photos by Kaulana Kalohi
Have you ever had an itch that you just can’t quite scratch?
Well, for me, that itch has always been art. Art has been a constant in my life, though I never had the time or, let’s be honest, the courage, to give it my full attention and commitment.
That was, of course, until June 2020. I found myself newly unemployed from a long–time corporate job in the middle of a global pandemic. Yes, that’s right. I was jobless, and moreover, I was hopeless.
But for many of us who lost jobs during this time, it was a chance to reset, rethink, and essentially rewrite our lives. For me, it was the moment I decided to finally scratch that itch. And can I tell you? It felt so good.
Believe it or not, I don’t have many friends who are into art, I have never been to formal art school, and I don’t think I’ve ever even taken an art class. Safe to say that the odds of jumping into an entirely new career field were stacked against me. The one thing I do know though, is that life is too short to spend doing something that you don’t love.
When I think about what inspires me and my art, it is undoubtedly this place I call home— Hawai‘i. And when I say Hawai‘i, I’m not talking about the Hawai‘i you see gracing Instagram feeds of social media influencers; the picturesque Waikiki backdrops, or hula dancers in coconut bras. But rather, the deep culture and history of the people who’ve lived here for generations.
When I think about what inspires me and my art, it is undoubtedly this place I call home—Hawai'i.
There is kind of an unspoken connection between those of us here who consider ourselves local. A connection, for example, that would make it easy for us to spot another Hawai‘i local in a crowd halfway across the world. A connection that in some ways makes the people of Hawai‘i one big ‘ohana (or family), if not by blood, then by heart.
It’s those exact subtle connections that I try to incorporate into my art. If I can jog a fond memory from small kid days like snacks from the manapua man, bring awareness to an important local issue like overtourism and high cost of living, or simply just make you smile, then I think I have done my job. That’s the beauty of art. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad. There is only what it makes you feel, and my goal is to make people feel connected, give a sense of belonging and maybe make you feel a little lighter at the end of a long day.
“That’s the beauty of art. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad. There is only what it makes you feel, and my goal is to make people feel connected, give a sense of belonging and maybe make you feel a little lighter at the end of a long day.”
I realize how fortunate I am to be from these islands, that I get to raise my keiki (child) here, and even more so that I get to pursue my lifelong passion. The COVID–19 pandemic has taught us a lot, but perhaps most of all, it has taught us that time is precious. We get one chance to do life, so why waste it doing something that doesn’t make you happy? If you’ve got an itch to do something greater in life, let me be the first to tell you: just scratch it. You’ll be glad you did.