BEHIND THE WAVES: GETTING TO KNOW AARON KAI
When Baxter of California and The Hundreds first met to plan out their partnership, they knew they wanted to find a creative way to tie their grooming+streetwear capsule together visually that represented both brands’ DNA—rooted in California culture.
Enter Aaron Kai. The local artist and long-time friend of The Hundreds grew up drawing elaborate waves in class when he reminisced that morning’s surf in Hawaii. Today, Aaron is based in Los Angeles, and he’s famous for his pop art-style waves. In our collaboration, the waves represent one of the main pillars of California culture, and they were a perfect choice to feature on the apparel and personal care products curated for this collaboration.
We recently sat down with Aaron to learn more about his designs. We also followed him around LA with a camera. Here is that content.
Your signature pop art style waves are arguably your most recognizable and popular designs. Where did you originally draw inspiration for these waves, and how do you feel your adaptation of these waves for this collaboration represent both brands?
Aaron Kai: “My waves are representative of my past, growing up surfing in Hawaii. As a surfer, there are not always waves to surf, so I started drawing waves on my free time. These waves eventually got warped, mangled, and stretched into the waves they are today, and I’m sure in 10 years the waves will look different. I feel this design represents both brands for obvious reasons, one of them being the surf culture that Hawaii & California embody. Another is the cleanliness of the waves. To me, that meshes perfectly with the idea of men’s grooming products—everything is clean.”
You’ve partnered with The Hundreds in the past on art installations and custom clothing collaborations. How has this partnership with Baxter of California been different? What drew you to this collaboration specifically?
Aaron Kai: “The Hundreds and I have worked together on numerous projects since 2014, we’ve painted walls (3 of them), threw art shows and events, made some tees and other products that sold out within a few days. We haven’t made a packaged product together yet. To me, that’s where this project is different, creating packaging is really exciting and a new platform to showcase art and design. What drew me to do this collaboration was the challenge of making a solid cohesive design that represents The Hundreds, Baxter of California, and stays true to my art.”
A DAY IN THE LIFE