Joshua Alakai‘i Meyer, a sophomore studying fine art from Mililani, said he creates tribal masterpieces on almost anything that is presented to him.
Meyer has put his art onto hydro-flasks, shoes, mopeds and even one time a bull’s skull. Art is something Meyer said he wants to keep doing both as a past time but also expand it into a side hustle. He said he is constantly looking for new projects around him and is always up for an exciting, artful challenge.
What sets Meyer aside from artists who draw tribal art as a hobby or profession is not only is he self-taught, but also he does not use tools in his process. This creates opportunities for him to design on anything anywhere. All he needs is a Sharpie, and he is good to go.
Danielle Sheridan a freshman from Virginia studying fine art, said of Meyer’s artwork, “I’ve been seriously studying art since middle school, and it is rare to come across talent like his. What makes him unique is he does his art all free hand, no rulers, no reference picture. It is completely and totally his own masterpiece.”
As a young high school student, Meyer said, “I was challenged to draw something new everyday as part of an art class.” It was in those moments Meyer said he realized his artistic talent, as well as what he thought he could do for other people with his talent. He said he worked hard in his art classes and increased his skills so others could be inspired.
“I want people to understand my art is about being creative,” Meyer said. “People can learn and can experience for themselves important things about who they are when they are creative too.”
Meyer said his family members are his biggest supporters in anything he decides to do. “I lived in a family centered town, and my family helps me through everything.”
Drawing tribal art is not just a hobby for Meyer. He said with his art, he can express where he comes from and the family who raised him. Each item he draws is unique and completely customized to what the person wants as well as Meyer’s own imagination. This means everything he has done from tattoos or hats are all 100 percent one of a kind.
Sheridan continued, “Josh is an amazing artist. Period. Josh designed a bike for me, and within an hour, the tribal he had created on my bike had me blown away. It doesn’t take long to notice the passion and the drive he has for art as well as all things creative. His work ethic comes through as masterpieces.”
Joshua Gatewood, a freshman from Laie, said Meyer’s art is more than something nice to look at. “It is art that can be purchased and shown off to others. His art is very clean and the tribal design tells a story when you see him draw it as well as the finished product."
Meyer said he hopes his side business of drawing will be able to give him other opportunities, like designing for different businesses or creating new avenues for tribal art on different clothing lines. He eventually hopes to expand his art into galleries and have people wear his designs on clothing or hang his art in their homes.
For others who are pursuing anything creatively in either art or life goals, Meyer said, “You have to do what makes you happy. Don’t be discouraged with what other people do or say. Go from the heart and go for your passion. Continue to have the passion for it whatever it is, and continue to use what inspiration you already have or find.”
Writer: Jemesa Snuka