September 01, 2017
December 31, 2017
With Luxury Row, Ira Villafranca continues a body of work he has been building for the past few years. When asked what drives his work, Ira says he is “fascinated by the relationship between fiction and reality.” He sees fiction “as a vehicle that both reflects and helps us understand reality.” He uses stark, graphic drawings to “move viewers back and forth between fiction and reality” and to create a world in which we will find “elements both alien and familiar.”
Here's what Villafranca says about the mural:
"When I was conceptualizing the idea, the main focal point was to illustrate the poverty gap in places with tourism, like Waikīkī. To draw attention to that gap, I wanted to name it something that had a very touristy ʻcome visit hereʻ kind of vibe, and I stumbled on Waikīkī's own Luxury Row on a hotel website and it sounded perfect. I wanted some irony there, because I think it's ironic that many paradise destinations have high poverty rates in surrounding areas. It is worth noting that the work grew to not be a particular criticism of the tourism industry, but a snapshot of life in cities that accommodate it, capturing the complexities of life there from many perspectives. Hawai‘i's own example is just the one I see most personally."
Born and raised on O‘ahu, Villafranca completed his BFA at University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa. His current body of work focuses on illustration and sequential storytelling.