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Local artist completes 6,500-square-foot mural near Hawaiʻi Convention Center

mark visaya.JPG
Zoe Dym
Mark Visaya stands in front of his first original mural. He is a local artist who started his professional career in art using graffiti. His work has been featured in the Bishop Museum's "POW! WOW! The First Decade: From Hawaiʻi to the World" exhibit. He also helped paint the 12-story high mural of Duke Kahanamoku and Carissa Moore near South King and Pensacola streets.

After 170 hours and 30 gallons of paint, the mural surrounding the construction site for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group's project in Honolulu is complete.

The 6,500-square-foot mural on the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Kona Street is hard to miss. Standing next to the Ala Moana Center, the mural provides a walkthrough for Oʻahu visitors.

The mural was designed by local artist Mark Visaya. He explains the mural as a story beginning with the mountain ranges visitors first see when they're flying in. As pedestrians walk more along the wall, they can notice more details about Hawaiʻi's cultural experience.

Born and raised on Oʻahu, Visaya is a full-time artist who began his artistic journey with graffiti during his teenage years. His signature tag, a squiggle representing a cigar lei, can be seen across the mural.

Zoe Dym

The mural walls off the construction site for The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Honolulu — a project currently under development by owner Manaʻolana Partners.

Harold Clarke Advisors is leading sales and marketing efforts for the Mandarin Oriental. When the hotel group decided to adorn the plain partition walls, Harold Clarke first reached out to Jasper Wong — the founder of Hawaiʻi-based art organization Worldwide Walls, formerly known as POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi. Wong recommended Visaya tackle the project.

"So the very beginning, I had a pretty good amount of people. But everyone has their own thing going, so towards the end it was just me and one other guy. I kinda started with the more complex areas, and I had him fill in most of just like the basic areas," Visaya tells HPR.

The mural took six weeks to complete and used 30 gallons of exterior paint. Visaya would begin his day as early as 5 a.m. During the day he would move with the sun to avoid its harshest rays.

The mural will be up during the entire construction of the condo for an estimated three years.

When asked what he would do with the mural after construction, Visaya answered, "I believe they’re just gonna take it down. But if they do take it down, I want to take a few pieces of the mural just for memento and to put it up in my studio — a little trophy."

Visaya's work can be viewed at markvisaya.com.

Corrected: April 21, 2022 at 2:03 PM HST
A previous version of this story did not list the official name of the construction project nor its development team.
Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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