Built through the vision of Orly Locquiao and Samuel Rodriguez, Cukui represents both artist’s cultures in a nutshell. Originally introduced in 2008, the brand finds its focus on the cultural lanscape of Hawaii and Mexican-American history, respectively. For Fall 2009, the duo create a set of t-shirts depicting their expertise in the field of graffiti and tattooing, offering simple designs with meaning, including a collaborative piece with local photographer Dylan Maddux. The lineup is now available via the Cukui online store in various colorways, with a bit of the brand’s background seen below.
In Hawaii, KUKUI is a Candlenut, and the tree from which it grows, is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. Candlenut was considered to be the body form of Kamapua’a, the pig god. In the Mexican-American community there is a creature known as “EL CUCUY”. It is a creature that eats children who misbehave when they are told to go to bed. Parents will sing lullabies or tell rhymes to the children warning them that if they don’t sleep, El Cukuy will come and get them. Some describe El Cucuy as a small humanoid with glowing red eyes that hides in closets or under the bed. Some lore has him as a kid who was the victim of violence … and now he’s alive, but he’s not.
CUKUI, is a challenge to embrace, and respect unknown theories and practices. We depend on humility, and humor to pierce through doubts, and define our life how we think it should be. CUKUI is the engine for a new culture of street kids…those who’ve grown up in a mixed plate of lifestyles, here in the west coast, more specifically the bay area. We are those who can’t quite categorize what is their way of life, the ones who mark “other”. Creating, and living not for corny trends but for what we believe in…the ingredients being chicano, south pacific islander, asian, hip-hop, tattoo, & graf heads.