Born and raised in Waipahu, Hawaii, DAK.1NE has been working as a street artist for the past five years. His given name is Jesse Velazquez, but he goes by DAK.1NE (pronounced “Daak-one”), an homage to the traditional Hawaiian Pidgin English term “da kine,” which is used to refer to anything from a person to an abstract concept. “I wanted to put a little twist on it to give it a more writer-type feel and make it more relatable to the general public,” he explains.

Originally inspired by American graffiti, DAK.1NE started working with a local Hawaiian arts organization called 808 Urban, which promotes community-based art. He finds inspiration through old Hawaiian stories and legends, which he brings to life for everybody to learn and enjoy.

DAK.1NE is famous for his paintings of whales, which he believes are “very mystical creatures.” In traditional Hawaiian lore, whales are thought to be the animal spirits of the ancestors and the keepers of knowledge. He explains, “They hold the secrets to everything from the beginning of time, and when they dive, they bring those secrets down with them.”

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DAK1NE and Pow! Wow!