The Other Way Around
8 May 2012
Most people who move from the mainland to Hawaii come for two reasons: either they're running from problems elsewhere or they're looking for a warm place to retire. When art director Justin "Scrappers" Morrison moved to Maui with his wife, Amy, and son, Camper, he took his new home for what it really is: a staggerly picturesque place, but one with real locals and a unique culture full of fascinating traditions and values. Hailing from Portland, Justin always possessed a solid grip on his creative identity. He was the illustrator who clients would turn to when they needed hipster lumberjacks, or woodsy themed creative work. Moving to Maui, specifically to a neighborhood called Happy Valley, threw him into a creative identity crisis. "I didn't know what to paint. I didn't know what to write. I didn't know how to make things because I didn't have a sense of the place or real life iconography to refer to," Justin recalls. "I had no history here. Over time I found seas shells, bottle caps, road killed frogs, giant moths, new fruit, new flavors, new stories, new challenges, new cultures, and a renewed sense of place. It changed my work. It's changed what I value in creative work." His new neighborhood also had a reputation of being the roughest neighborhood on the island. Although Justin was initially concerned, it was the only place where he could find housing. But he quickly discovered that Happy Valley turned out to be the kindest neighborhood he has ever lived in. Despite being a white man from the mainland with no Hawaiian roots – an ethnic minority in Happy Valley – the family made lots of friends, mainly "old men, who build things and grow food plants,” as Justin puts it. “Here, the street is the living room and everybody passes through it. Happy Valley pushed my boundary of understanding private space versus public space. I used to think avant-garde was new ideas that challenged old ways, but here it's the other way around. Old ways challenge new ideas and expose how sincere cultural sustainability is way more important to Hawaiian creative culture then any new urban hipster boutique."
Find out more about Justin "Scrappers" Morrison HERE.
Editorial Lead: Kitty Bolhoefer / Filming & Photos: Fridolin Schöpper / Sound: Tim Wolfe / Editing: Konterfei / Music: Bunnystripes