Matthew Ortiz Interview – 50 States (Hawaii)

April, 2017
Reading Time
3 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

Mathew Ortiz – “we painted a mural of a treehouse shaped like Darth Vader’s helmet”.

Welcome to the fourth instalment of Creative Chair’s 50 States series. This week we’re in Honolulu, Hawaii, where we’re talking to Matthew Ortiz, a talented artist and collaborative mural painter.

We caught up with him to find out more about the message behind the murals and the effect that Hawaii has had on his work.

You can see a lot more from Matthew Ortiz on Behance and Instagram.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do

I’m one-half of the husband and wife artist duo Wooden Wave. We’ve developed a hand-drawn aesthetic that reflects our playful sensibility and appreciation for draftsmanship. We’re best known for our illustrations and murals of sustainable treehouses that are equipped with solar panels, water catchment systems, roof-top gardens, and half pipe skate ramps.

Storm Trooper by Matthew Ortiz

Treehouses are the ultimate icons for adventure. They exude a sense of possibility and nostalgia. There is an obvious romanticism of a dwelling built in a canopy, but beyond that, the aquaponics, water catchment systems, rooftop gardens and solar panels give each composition environmental relevance with the topic of today.

The 68th 366 Award goes to Matthew Ortiz for his outstanding creative work.

Yoda Treehouse

How has your state influenced the work that you do?

Growing up in Hawaii, my wife and I both developed a deep-rooted connection to the land and a strong love for the ocean. Much of our inspiration is drawn from nature, and because of this, we recognise how fragile our ecosystem is (especially on an island).

Including farming and sustainable technology in our treehouse compositions is a way to address some very serious issues in a lighthearted manner. We hope that our work inspires the next generation of innovators to champion the ideas of ingenuity and environmental stewardship.

“it’s so fun to see how excited people get when they start to see the painting coming together”

Tree House Sketch by Matthew Ortiz

Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?

For this year’s Pow! Wow! Hawaii Mural Festival we painted a mural of a treehouse shaped like Darth Vader’s helmet. Murals give us a chance to interact with the audience while we are painting – it’s so fun to see how excited people get when they start to see the painting coming together.

Pow Wow Mural Darth Vader
Darth Vader by Matthew Ortiz

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

I often sing a Hawaiian song called Kanaka Waiwai to my 4-month-old son before putting him to bed. I’ve been singing this to him since he was in the womb – so if I had to pick a song to be reincarnated as, it would definitely be this one.

Kanaka Waiwai"
Kanaka Waiwai (2013)
Mark Yamanaka
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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Hawaii with Matthew Ortiz
Our Forest