Two Weeks Following Art Basel 2014...
As told by Orlando
It's December 28, around 3pm EST. My phone lights up to a message from Aaron Kai, the red-hot post-pop artist from San Francisco by way of Hawaii. The text is referring to a conversation we had on the last day in Miami together,
“Whenever you have anything to paint in DC I’m down bro.”
Without hesitation I send him a video of an empty Lookout.
I do not hear from him until he calls me around 3AM the next day and tells me he is only available to fly out to DC the next week. I call Marshall and without much thought we make it happen.
Dead in the middle of winter, we decide to fly out this Hawaii native to switch things up in the frigid Nation's Capital.
At the time we are averaging 7 degree weather...
The Lookout - Day 1
As told by Marshall
Even though I'm indoors, it's still cold. It's a quiet, grey morning in the Atlas District after a light snow the previous night.
The front door bursts open and quickly slams shut. Sounds of indistinguishable jokes and small talk start permeating into The Lookout (our sleepy 2nd floor hideaway office).
With it, comes the inviting smell of Wendy's.
As he rounds the corner into the showroom, Aaron is juggling a bag of fast food, some paint brushes and paint cans, saying 'what's good' through the fries he was still chewing.
The last time we had hung out, it was in much warmer circumstances.
Lando arrives as well, looking tired but excited, catching me up on everything that I missed from when Aaron touched down and vowing that he is done driving for the rest of the weekend. I sort of laugh at the preposterous idea.
Aaron came bearing gifts: 1 of 1 hand-drawn stickers, similar to the stickers he used to first start garnering attention as an artist in The Bay.
Behind him, The Lookout wall stands blank for the last time.
The Lookout - Day 2
As told by Orlando
Starting the day around 7am, I go with Aaron to Ted’s Bulletin, barely making it through the snow, to grab 2 T.U.B.S. (Teds Ultimate Breakfast Sammy) and we're out.
We toss Soundcloud links back & forth over breakfast and through conversation note that a lot of people in DC want to meet Aaron.
I ask if he would actually like to meet some of these fans before he leaves the city.
Aaron looks down at his clipboard...
“What do you think?”
Aaron is two steps ahead of me and all I see is "Private Meet & Greet…” in his unique art style.
All I can think at this point is that Aaron has less than a day to finish the piece.
We throw a photo on Instagram, roll out an incredibly last-minute RSVP email and by 5pm amass a list of attendees triple the actual capacity of The Lookout.
The Lookout - Day 3
As told by Marshall
We decide to get an early start to the day to make sure everything can be finished by the meet-and-greet time of 3pm. Seems like a solid estimate.
Lethargically, we clear out the previous day's beer bottles and food containers, which look the same as the day before's. Aaron cracks open the paint cans again. I start playing songs from a playlist comprised only of Chad Hugo and Pharrell production.
"Yo, you want a beer?"
He asks with a look that conveys he already knows my answer. I go to the other room and grab 4 Coronas to save me the extra trip.
Continued by Orlando
The craziest part about all of this is that around 2:00pm, as we are making final preparations on opening The Lookout for the first time, Aaron says that he's run out of black paint. There is still a portion of the wall unfinished.
We have 1 hour until doors open.
Marshall finishes up prep and cleanup at The Lookout as I race Aaron across the city to Blick (an art supply store) to get more paint. We get back slightly after 3 and some guests have already arrived, eager to meet the artist.
They are able to catch him wrapping up the piece live.
"Whatup World" with Aaron Kai
Photography, Filming and Editing by Orlando
Layout, Graphic and Web Design by Marshall
Motion Animation by Chris
Original Artwork by Aaron