In addition, I grew up knowing that my people are Polynesian because my father is Samoan and my mom is Tongan. As a result, I feel tethered to the South Pacific in a spiritual sense which means that I'm never lost because my identity works as a compass. Because I know who I am, and where I come from, I have the confidence to travel very far.
To no surprise, when I began painting - and I'm self-taught - a Polynesian flavor popped up despite my American upbringing.
For instance, in my "Water Window" painting, I tried to snapshot a village in the distance from a surfer's point of view. Check it out:
In another painting, I tackled the subject of Akaka Waterfalls which I enjoyed visiting when I lived on the Big Island. After growing up in San Francisco, I knew that I had to live in the Pacific in order to blossom. The journey was so worth it! Hawai'i challenged me in ways I didn't expect and didn't know I was capable of meeting head on. Here is the "Waterfall" painting:
Last but not least, below is my painting that marries my identity as a Polynesian and as an American. I call it, "San Francisco Jungle" because the title and subject captures my eclectic upbringing. Although it's a concrete jungle, the locals - like my family - keep the city exotic and fresh.