“Dreams at Depth” by Kai’ili Kaulukukui
“Dreams and Depth” was conceived over the past three years across many different bodies of water including the North and South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Hudson Bay, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea while on Seawalls: Artists for Oceans projects with Pangeaseed. By immersing himself literally in the ocean, and figuratively by delving in to research regarding many pressing ocean issues, Kai had started to have thematic dreams about sharks, hybrid shark people, and multiple other sea creatures. The dreams started as play, with children and massive sharks interacting in a way that was not stressful, but fun and relaxing.
The cascading drips in Kai’s watercolor paintings were inspired by reactions he received while painting murals. There was a sense of panic in people as they expressed concern over the “ruined” artwork, “oh no did it rain? Is that just junk paint? How will you ever remove those lines?” It became a talking point and as much as an attraction as the mural itself, and Kai witnessed the power of perception, where if something seems “wrong or off” people just have to get a closer look. Upon repeating this cascading drip style in paintings of sharks, Kai noticed the vertical lines have an effect that freeze movement and an animal like a shark that is never still juxtaposed against the drips was eerie and interesting.