Trysen “Tkay” Kaneshige Interview
East3: I’d like to introduce you to Tkay from the beautiful island Kauai. Mahalo for taking the time during a very busy schedule to do this interview. Tell us what you are all about and what projects are you working on?
Tkay: Thanks East3, I am currently a Senior at Kauai High School and will be graduating this May. For my senior project, which I just completed, I designed a mural and a aerosol art workshop at my high school to inspire the youth and the community. I created this opportunity for the youth to give them an outlet to express themselves through art in a positive way. I developed a model which included education, awareness, creativity and collaborated with the state wide Hawaii Meth Project to educate the youth about the dangers of Meth addiction and use. With the council and assistance of my teacher Leah Aiwohi, I applied and received a grant through Kauai Economic Development Board to cover the supplies for the workshop which included paint, canvas, plywood boards, etc.
East3: As an adult organizing a mural projects and workshops is quite a task, I really commend you on your efforts! Not many youths give back to their community at your age. Did you find it challenging to co-organize this with Hawaii Meth Project and your teacher Leah Aiwohi (of Kauai High School)? Explain?
Tkay: It was challenging for me to go back and forth between what was necessary supplies for the workshop and what we needed for the mural. I learned a lot of valuable lessons during this process in which I will be applying to future art projects. There was a process that we needed to follow in order to buy supplies with the grant money and I am grateful for all the support I recieved.
East3: How important is it to bring awareness to the youth about NOT using Meth (Methamphetamine) on the island you live on? Do a lot of youth become addicted?
Tkay: It is important that the youth know what could happen to them if they decide to use meth. Kauai is such a small island that everyone knows each other and we need to pull together as a community to stop the use of Meth within all age groups.
East3: What made you decide to become an artist and who are your major influences?
Tkay: I’ve always liked drawing when I was younger but freshman year of high school I took Arts and Communications and discovered photoshop. From there, I decided that I wanted to go into graphic design. I also have participated in the live art exhibition at Love Life held every year by Kauai Underground Artists. My major influences in art includes Jason Medeiros who is one of my good friends since elementary, Nick Fregrosi, Rasone and East3.
East3: Break down how the Art of Writing and handstyles (tags) has been incorporated into your graphics art career?
Tkay: I have incorporated handstyles into logos and shirt designs that school clubs have asked me to do. The art of writing has opened me up to different approaches in design. I’ve learned that there is a flow in letter style that can make a design stronger based on what your letters look like.
East3: I have been working with you on Kauai and via workshops & internet (emails) since you were 15yr old. Has the art of Writing and my sharing of knowledge been helpful and positive in your creative and business ventures?
Tkay: Definitely, I have learned a lot over the 3 years about style and letter form, how to conduct business, and much more. Without your mentoring I would not have excelled in knowledge on my own.
East3: Mahalo Nui! I’m glad that I could be of aid. I got your back!
East3: I been watching your creativity and talent grow for some time, how did you get the entrepreneurial mindset to start turning your passion into a business at such a young age?
Tkay: I was first asked to do a shirt design for Unknown Endeavors based off of what I painted at Kuga’s Love Life Festival which was hands that spelled the word “love”. Shortly after I was asked to do some designs for school clubs and went on from there.
East3: What are your plans after graduation? Are you going to pursuit a career in art and design? If so what are your goals with the art industry?
Tkay: After graduation I want to go to college for graphic design. I applied at the Art Institute of San Diego and San Francisco, but I also got accepted at Oregon State University and University of Oregon for architecture. Currently I am undecided on which career to pursue.
Is there anything you would like to say in addition? Shout outs?
I would like to thank my family and friends who have supported me from the start in pursuing my dreams of becoming an artist. Mahalo Nui Loa to Illest Brand, Leah Aiwohi, Debbie Lindsey, Leihina Sullivan, Wilma Holi, Mase 1, Hawaii Meth Project, Ras One and East3.
Facebook: trysen kaneshige