Estria Miyashiro has been spray painting for over 30 years, and is recognized around the world as an urban art living legend. As a pioneer in an arts movement that is arguably more influential than the classical renaissance, he is acknowledged as a valued historian, and also a community leader who is helping to awaken the social and political consciousness of graffiti writing art.
Originally from Honolulu, Estria moved to The Bay Area in the 1980’s during San Francisco’s “Golden Age Of Graffiti.” He is credited with pioneering important painting techniques, and is the originator of the “stencil tip.” His murals are known to be fun, cultural, political, and vibrant, with a focus and dedication to uplift the communities they serve. His graffiti art background has led him to produce innovative projects as an educator, entrepreneur, and social activist. From the city streets, to executive suites, Estria has worked with numerous non-profit organizations, as well as high profile corporations. In 2007, he co-founded the “Estria Battle”, a nationwide urban art competition that honors and advances creativity in the Hip Hop arts. In 2010, he co-founded the Estria Foundation.
John “Prime” Hina is a legend in the local graffiti scene and has used art to get himself through a risky life. A man of few words, Prime used to run with the intimidating sort of crew that squares like myself would cross the street to avoid. For nearly two decades he blasted walls, earning respect in an era before the internet made graffiti an immediately sharable phenomenon.
Now a father and grandfather, Hina has spent the last six years running 808 Urban, an organization that mentors at-risk youth with old-fashioned, get-straight talking and graffiti’s nascent politically-correct term “urban art.” The youth that Prime mentors are “at risk” of falling victim to the sort of life Hina escaped through art; a life without a valid creative outlet, the ills of poverty in paradise, in an era in which arts has been red-lined out of education except for those lucky few in remaining public school programs or private schools.
For the last three years, with the help of Sierra Dew, Prime has brought 808 Urban to several local high schools, has created over 50 murals, is doing urban art workshops, and has a space in the Honolulu warehouse district of Kaka‘ako that serves as a hub and storefront for the organization.
Bio courtesy of FluxHawaii.com