Aaron Yoshino - Photographer

Matt Tuohy
By Matt Tuohy
Friday - December 19, 2008
| Del.icio.us


Aaron Yoshino - Photographer

He’s probably one of the best photographers on the island you’ve probably never heard of, but if you’re out on the town or attend a lot of art events in Chinatown, chances are you’ve seen him.

Aaron Yoshino has been avidly taking photos since working for his high school yearbook. Now he has two web-sites dedicated to his art - honozooloo.com and 5tolife.honozooloo.com - that document Honolulu’s nightlife on a regular basis.

“Honozooloo is very much a commercial site; it’s basically a portfolio,” Yoshino explains. “Everybody kind of looks at it and mistakes it sometimes for a nightlife blog because I shoot a lot of parties.”

Yoshino says there are few publications that pay attention to small-time art venues and musicians, which gave him an idea for a website that would benefit not only himself but also those smaller venues.

“And so it started as a way to kind of get those people a little bit of coverage, talk about those events and maybe even market them a bit,” he says.“The other side of that is I can get other people to look at my work and say,‘OK, this guy’s active, let’s give him some work.’”

Examples of Yoshino’s work show a lot of movement and a photojournalistic feel

His other blog, 5 to life, is where his creativity comes out. “I’m always carrying a camera and I’m always taking pictures - some of which don’t necessarily align with Honozooloo, the main site,“he says.“So I publish images on (5 to life) daily, and it’s really a creative outlet. It’s a good way to stay in touch with my artistic side and just express myself.”

Yoshino’s style is steeped in skate photography and photojournalism - his images usually show motion or exaggerate movement. His work is mostly shot in cities with a lower exposure, which gives each image a darker, grittier tone. “It’d just become something I’d started doing,“he says, noting that a lot of his photos revolve around events in Chinatown. “I’d been a regular since all the Chinatown bars opened, and I just started taking my camera along.”

The techniques and overall feel Yoshino conveys through his images trickles down into his corporate work, too. The freelance photographer has shot for several local publications, such as Honolulu Magazine, Contrast Magazine and more.

One thing Yoshino will not do, however, is weddings. “I did a lot of stuff that paid well, but it wasn’t challenging. I wasn’t happy doing it,” he says. “The money was great, but I started to hate to pick up a camera, and you sort of reach that point where you want to do whatever matters to you, and I just started doing that.”


Pop-Up Store

There’s still time to check out the Light Sleepers (LS) pop-up store located on Kapiolani Boulevard, which will once again be Exclusive, a women’s clothing shop, at the end of the month.

The walls have been specially painted by visiting artist Peekaboo Monsters (aka Damon Minaey, see last week’s Art Beat), who appeared in the space last week to paint for a live audience as the monsoon-like rains fell and a DJ and drummer pumped out some pulsating beats.

The shop has several different items for sale by both LS, a local hip-hop group, and Peekaboo Monsters like shirts, prints and CDs.

“It just seemed like a good idea for us at the time,” says the group’s spokesperson, Lofa.“We’ve been making shirts since 1998 or ‘99, and we just didn’t have a place to sell them, and people were asking, ‘Where can we get Light Sleepers shirts?’”

Damon “Peekaboo Monsters” Minaey painted the walls of the Light Sleepers pop-up store

The pop-up shop is not a new idea, but it is a rarity in Hawaii. According to Cristina Patino, Exclusive’s owner, the pop-up shop is the best way for artists to make direct profit for their works without going through a middleman, like a record label or an art gallery. “I know a lot of brands that wholesale to stores but also do pop-up shops because they can make their own profits,” says Patino.“Nobody really does pop-up shops in Hawaii like they do on the Mainland.”

But this doesn’t mean the wares at the shop are cheap. Some of the shirts cost up to $30, and some of the art provided by Peekaboo Monster starts at $150. But many people in the shop last week were willing to spend the extra dollars to help support the artists.

“I didn’t even look at the price tag,” says Philippe Quinal as he ruffled through a plastic bag holding the limited edition T-shirt he bought at the store. “I just wanted to support the cause.”

When the shop goes back to normal in January, it will sell mostly women’s apparel made by independent clothing lines. “Anything from dresses to graphic tees, and we sell accessories likes necklaces and earrings,” says Patino.“We also sell some CDs, books, magazines, bags and retro glasses.”

The store is located at 1311 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 104. For more information, visit www.exclusivehawaii.com or call 593-9699.

For more information about Light Sleepers, visit www.lightsleepers.net.


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