Words by Bryant Dynasty | Photos by HNL Flow staff
The Uncool Kids logo. (Photo credit: Sage Battad)
The Uncool Kids is a project that stems from local resident Erick Agarijo’s first concept, Society Threw Away. The birth of this endeavor lies in an encounter Erick had after the passing of his father. In the wake of this loss, he found himself discussing his feelings and troubles with a homeless gentleman while waiting for a bus to Kailua. This shook his views of the societal woes that he so carelessly bypassed previously.
Derick Fabian (far left, in black) and Erick Agarijo (far right, in grey). (Photo credit: Sage Battad)
Erick collaborated with fellow artist Derick Fabian (aka 7Sketches) at an Art + Flea event for the first time in early 2015. He came to share his vision with a philanthropic mission. In its original iteration, Society Threw Away was an attempt for Erick to manifest goodwill and support for causes that he felt needed a voice.
As a second-generation child of parents that emigrated from Okinawa, Erick had issues with communicating verbally during his youth. The clash of cultures in his family home helped Erick to craft a unique sense of self. He believes that his heart and compassion comes from his eastern background, which ties with his western mindset and mentality. Verbal communication between him and his parents beyond his physical well-being was barely expressed in his childhood home. It was in high school that he began to use art to better express himself to his parents and used it as a universal means of communication, which he continues to utilize today.
Visual Representation : High School. I never had a girlfriend throughout high school, I didn’t drive to school, instead skated everyday to high school, hung out with the skaters who were considered weird and rebels. Just another uncool kid trying to showcase my authentic voice to the world. #throwback #highschool #hawaii #design #art #surf #skate #logo #style #color #font #skateboard #skateboarding #culture #designer #designlife #artwork #draw #lines #photo #digitalart
His prior non-profit work with the Hawaii Meth Project and his experiences with working in Kaka’ako exposed him to the injustices faced by the homeless community. He used a monthly theme to provoke or promote action toward an issue our society needed to address. Erick sought to have proceeds from his sales go to non-profit organizations already attempting that type of work. Proceeds from his art benefitted non-profit organizations, such as 808 Urban and K9 Kokua. These proceeds helped to address the needs of the homeless communities and the abandoned pets of Hawaii, respectively. One organization he would like to work with in the future is Meals on Wheels. Through his art, he aims to make others aware of those who are unable to prepare their own meals or to have meals to eat.
The transition from Society Threw Away to what is now known as The Uncool Kids stemmed from another instance of turmoil in Erick’s personal life. While his new business venture taking off, Erick and his then-wife went through a heavy divorce, sending him into a bout of depression and self-doubt. Despite all his attempts to find a voice for the voiceless, Erick lost his own voice in the process. He took a step back and found that he was, in fact, a changed person. He was someone who, in theory was cool – with a great life, job and relationship – but faced a catalyst that would shake him. He continues to share his story with others at events and they responded. Erick’s candid, unfiltered honesty helped him relate with people on another level and has propelled his art further.
Photo credit: Reese Kato
The Uncool Kids is more than a passion project. It’s not just for charity or to make a fashion statement. It’s one man’s story and his outlet on how he wants his story to be shared. The Uncool Kids is Erick’s attempt at being uncomfortable with himself and his art. He considers everything in his life now as a victory, especially after everything he’s been through. He wants others to follow their passion and to use their voices to empower others who cannot do so themselves.
Photo credit: Reese Kato
The Uncool Kids can be found at most Art + Flea events, Mori at Ward Warehouse, Nalu Waikiki and Salvage Public. To see more of Erick’s art, follow him on Instagram at @theuncoolkids.