Street Art of Honolulu, Hawai’i: iPhone Photography

Every year, the island of Oahu gets a little brighter as mural artists from around the world fill the streets and alleyways of Honolulu’s Kaka’ako district for the annual Pow! Wow! street art festival. Normally, the eclectic and interesting artwork will adorn the sides of buildings and warehouses for just a year, before being covered with new murals during the following year’s festival.

My favorite mural from the 2020 Pow! Wow! festival – – this makes me giggle!
Be sure to capture the west-facing walls of Kaka’ako in the morning hours, before the sun sneaks up and causes too much glare.

Exploring the Kaka’ako district is almost like visiting a huge art museum – – except it’s all outside. Located just south of downtown Honolulu, and just a short bike ride from Waikiki Beach, this vibrant walk-through gallery covers several blocks in the area, so it’s a wonderful way to get in a bit of exercise while enjoying the sometimes comical, sometimes serious artwork.

You never know what will greet you as you turn a corner in Kaka’ako!

When I first moved to Hawai’i almost 18 years ago, Kaka’ako was mostly considered an industrial area, full of warehouses and auto body shops. Over the years, I have watched it morph into a fascinating and trendy neighborhood; it is now full of new apartment buildings, cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Some of the smaller murals tucked between buildings can stir raw emotion.

The many Pow! Wow! artists who have contributed their talents to the streets and alleyways of Kaka’ako definitely deserve a lot of credit for helping turn this neighborhood into one of the most Instagrammable areas on the island of Oahu. No need to carry heavy camera equipment here! All you need is a phone in your pocket and you’re all set to adventure into the extraordinary world of street art. Capturing artwork that adorns walls behind parking spaces is sometimes difficult.

My friend’s triathlon shop was home to this beautiful tiger!

If you’re planning to explore the street art of Kaka’ako, I recommend you visit in the morning while the sun is still shining brightly on east-facing walls. After building up an appetite, be sure to check out one of Kaka’ako’s micro breweries for a leisurely lunch.

When you love a certain mural, you grab a photo – – car or no car!

Street art is so fun and interesting to me! It’s hard to choose a favorite…

This sea turtle is better viewed from across the street, but I preferred a close-up to ensure no distracting vehicles were visible.
This fun and light-hearted piece comes from the talented Crisselle Mendiola, a Southern California artist who traveled to the islands to share her talent on several Kaka’ako walls.
Whether the walls are made of brick or metal siding, the different textures work to enhance the vibrant colors of Kaka’ako’s street art.
Many of the murals contain typical local Hawai’ian scenes – – although I have never personally seen tiny dragons on the beach!

Let me know if you have a favorite from the photos above! Does your town have any cool street art?

Click here to explore more of Honolulu’s street art.

Click here to check out photos of the artists at work over the past ten years.


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