CULTURE & ARTS
01/22/2015 10:36 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2015

Street Art Photographer Martha Cooper Takes On Pow! Wow! Hawaii

It's always inspiring to see street art through the lens of legendary photojournalist Martha Cooper, but to hear her talking about Pow! Wow! Hawaii might have you booking your next plane ticket.

Cooper, 71, traveled to Honolulu last year to explore and photograph the work of 100 artists featured in the annual street art festival.

"There were more artists at that event than any other event that I have been to," she told HuffPost. "It was a crazy amount of artists."

While there, videographer Michael Inouye and a crew of photographers including street artist Ron English, followed Cooper as she wandered through the industrial neighborhood of Kakaako, where the festival takes place. They recently released the above video to promote this year's event, which kicks off in Honolulu on Feb. 7, 2015.

"It was unusual," Cooper told HuffPost. "I was staying in a hotel in Waikiki, and in the morning I would go out and walk along the beach. It was what you might think Hawaii was like, just so many people on the beach. And then we went over to Kakaako, which was so different from the beach. It was just interesting to see there was a place in Hawaii that didn’t have to do with tourism."

Cooper photographed murals from artists such as Justin Park, Alina Kawai, Zhi Hao Situ, and the Pow! Wow! School of Music. She told HuffPost that, when she's shooting, she's more interested in the artist's process than the finished painting.

"I'm interested in how the artists work and what their tools are. Are they using a projection? Are they using brushes, or are they using poles with rollers on them? In some cases they've invented processes that make it easier to paint these walls."

Cooper is credited with bringing graffiti art to the world with her work in the 1970s and '80s, but her passion for the medium is still alive -- as well as contagious.

“Street art is like a quest. It’s like a treasure hunt," Cooper says in the video. "That’s one of the things that makes it so enjoyable to me. It makes you maybe take a different route than you’ve already taken.”

Watch the video above, and check out some of the photographs she made while in Honolulu, below:

A photo posted by @marthacoopergram on

A photo posted by @marthacoopergram on

A photo posted by @marthacoopergram on

A photo posted by @marthacoopergram on

A photo posted by @marthacoopergram on

HuffPost

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