For Hawaii-based artist Kris Goto, even the smallest experiences warrant an illustration. Take a hankering for a spam musubi while surfing.
“You get so hungry,” the 27-year-old told The Huffington Post, “but you don't want to leave because the surf is too good. What I think would be fun is eating spam musubi while you’re surfing.” So, she drew it.
"My surf art," Goto said, "originates from what I would like to do or what I think would be fun," she says, adding that she likes to share relatable personal problems and feelings in her art. “I enjoy when people can totally relate to what they see. And they stand there talking about how they totally did this, or they say to a friend, 'That is so you!'”
Take, for instance, the conundrum many Hawaii locals feel when the surf is up, but they have to work:
Goto credits her whimsical but powerful style with her childhood in both Japan and New Zealand. She was inspired by the characters in manga (Japanese cartoons) and the intricate tattoo art of Maori culture.
In high school, she says, her incessant doodling even gained popularity as a form of temporary tattoos. "At every lunch and recess," she added, "I was drawing on people for a nickel or 10 cents."
After moving with her family to Hawaii in 2006, her work now focuses almost exclusively on Hawaiian culture and surfing, including the sensation of being in the barrel of a wave or the constant wipeouts surfers have to endure to master new skills. Surfers and non-surfers alike, however, can relate to the challenges, triumphs and little joys in Goto's work.
Bianca Pino contributed to this story.
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