POW! WOW! SAN JOSE

POW! WOW! IS A GATHERING OF CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS THAT ENGAGES WITH THE BROADER COMMUNITY IN THE PROCESS AND CREATION OF ART”


I discovered POW! WOW! Hawai'i a few years back when a friend kept posting pictures on IG of these amazing works of art in the making. Was I jealous? Very much so. I didn’t really know much about it, other than: skilled artists + awesome artwork + Hawaii = missed opportunity to witness something creatively inspiring. Joanne and I had always talked about visiting the island during this gathering, but due to wedding work getting booked typically a year out, we never got the chance.

One night last year, scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post for POW! WOW! San Jose. WAT?! I excitedly reached out to my friend to see if they needed any volunteers to help cover this festival. Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE photographing weddings after 8 or so years, but I needed something refreshing to photograph, something that would and could set my creative soul on fire.

Over the course of 7 days in the month of October, I spent my days riding my bike around DTSJ photographing artists doing what they love most, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and I even found myself waking up before dawn to capture artists like Ricky Watts working on his mural before the sun had risen just to beat the heat. I learned that the festival was more than just artists painting beautiful murals, it was about bringing the community together and POW! WOW! did just that.

My family and I have since moved out of the SJ area, a place I still consider ‘home’. I miss my friends dearly in SJ but I am honored to have been able to help document this week long event.

Special thanks to the MTCA and Empire Seven Studios fam for letting me be a part of documenting this! SAN JO!

For more information please visit the links below:
POW! WOW! Hawai'i
POW! WOW! San Jose
Empire Seven Studios
UNGRAMR
MTCA
POW! WOW! San Jose Muralists


"POW! — It’s the impact that art has on a person.
WOW! — It’s the reaction that art has on a viewer.

Together they form POW WOW, which is a Native American term that describes a gathering that celebrates culture, music, and art."



Jonathan Encarnacion