Husband and wife team Wooden Wave keep creativity coming.
Text by Christa Hester | Images by Jonas Maon
Matt and Roxy Ortiz, the husband and wife duo behind Wooden Wave, are a lean, mean, creative team. They were one of the first to move into a workspace at Lana Lane Studios, and are regular participants in Pow Wow Hawai‘i. Previously known as Vers, the two changed their team name to Wooden Wave in 2014 to mark a shift from printmaking to painting murals. “We draw inspiration from skating and surfing, mountains and ocean,” Roxy says. “So Wooden Wave, which is another name for a half pipe, is kind of perfect for us.”
Under their new moniker, they are most known for creating murals of elaborate, sustainable treehouses. They spend most mornings at their studio, tending to the latest orphaned bird they’ve found and working on projects for clients who love their playful yet environmentally conscious art. One of the latest murals the couple has begun is for SALT, a restaurant, retail, and mixed-use space located between Coral and Keawe streets.
“For this project we want to acknowledge Kaka‘ako’s past lives and its place between mountains and ocean,” Matt says. “We’re doing a mural that’s more abstract than what we normally do, with nods to the salt farms, agriculture, and ironworks that have been here, as well as this idea that it’s a gathering place. We’re also doing an awning that’ll be draped in a hallway running mauka to makai in watercolors that shift from blue to green.”
WOODEN WAVE’S TIPS FOR CREATIVITY
After nine years of marriage and artistic collaboration, the couple has learned a thing or two about finding inspiration and sustaining it. Here are their tips:
Go adventuring. “Different environments reinvigorate your art,” Roxy says.
Record all your ideas. “If you get an idea and don’t document it, it’s as good as gone,” Matt says. “Keep your ideas in one sketchbook, then you can go back and have a ton of content ready to develop during a lull.”
Practice every day. “There’s this mythology of the artist who waits for inspiration to come, then works feverishly,” Roxy says. “Really, you have to get through those days of crappy sketches to get to a great idea.”
Eliminate distractions. “Mentally transition from home to work. For me, that means coffee and going to the studio,” Matt says. “If you work at home, try going to a certain room to work. And stock up on food so you don’t have to break concentration.”
Make and keep connections. “Relationships with clients and other artists support, inspire, and motivate us,” Roxy says. “Go to shows, talk to artists, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
For more information, visit woodenwaveart.com.