Art. Community. Sustainability. A Global Movement & Platform for Positive Change.
TEMPLE CHILD / ˈtempəl ˈchī(-ə)ld / (noun) : ONE WHO CULTIVATES POSITIVE CHANGE; A CHILD OF THE EARTH.
Creators of Temple Children, Miya Tsukazaki and David “MEGGS” Hooke have given way to a unique and universal platform for sharing creativity to induce positive change. Together they’ve created Temple Children, a platform and space that aims to support the global shift towards environmental consciousness and action. When we asked them how and why they founded this movement, they shared their ultimate motivation: Their combined experiences in Mother Earth’s natural wonders, paired with the extremely threatened state of our planet is what fuels them to help protect the planet’s resources for every living being that shares this special place. After traveling the world for various art-related projects, MEGGS and Miya found that there is a universal awareness for this greater good. They connected with people and places that taught them that this energy exists everywhere, and it inspired them to explore ways to incite positive change along this path.
“We have a unique subculture of friends and artists within our global community who seem to be fighting for a common cause – the same cause that inspired the Temple Children projects. Although we are miles apart, there is something powerful about this connection and knowing that we are not alone in our efforts and our understanding. This particular ‘family’ fuels us to continue to exchange ideas for the betterment of our communities and ultimately, our planet’s environmental state. Magic things happen when you bring these people together, and we are thankful to provide this platform for positive change.”
We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know MEGGS and Miya over the past couple years and we’ve become huge supporters of Temple Children and the work their doing around the world. We asked the couple if they’d be open for a little interview and they graciously said “yes”! Below is a wild journey through the minds of the creators and deep insight into the meaning behind the movement.
Can you share a some insight on how an artist, such as MEGGS and other artists currently involved in the project create empowering art around the globe while being true to the Temple Children mission?
The artist and artwork produced aligns with the Temple Children mission in several ways. We work with artists that we know share the same philosophies and concerns about environmental sustainability, which is usually reflected in their work and their lifestyle practices.
We definitely encourage work that shares environmental or sustainable messaging, but it’s not a necessity. The empowerment aspect comes across in the way we document and present the process and the final artwork to the world. This way, the artwork continues to share the underlying message forever, even if it is tangibly removed or destroyed. We do also try to utilize and repurpose all of our materials sustainably – our ‘Revitalize Hilo’ project produced 6 murals with zero use of aerosols, and we went on to repurpose drop cloths as canvases for artworks to raise funds to support the Standing Rock protests, for example.
What are a few of your favorite moments since starting the project? What effects have you seen in people and communities you’ve worked with?
Our ‘Revitalize Hilo’ public art and food sustainability project on the Big Island last October was most definitely a highlight. It was the biggest production we’ve put on so far and we succeeded at producing the project with no corporate sponsors – it was a grassroots, community effort. Watching the public interact with the artists and murals and seeing the artworks uplift the community’s spirits was a wonderful feeling for us. Connecting our artists, who came from all over the world, and having them meet for the first time, bond, and build genuine, lasting friendships was an epic byproduct. The late night conversations over beer and dried fish were priceless. The group text is still going… even despite the time differences between everyone involved. Our phones go off at 4 am on the regular, and it is usually a ridiculous meme from Sam (in the Wolf).
Can you touch on the importance of using creativity and the arts to positively effect and change the world?
Another highlight was completing our first art installation together for 1xRun’s ‘Murals in the Market’ in Detroit in 2016. Inspired by the rich history of the market and its surroundings, ‘VERSO‘ paid homage to abandoned spaces in the city, where Mother Nature is beginning to take back. The experiential installation reflected our ideology that in an upside down, consumer-driven society, thoughtful consumption is key. Wood and materials making up the installation were found in areas surrounding Eastern Market and repurposed to create an immersion of space. We sourced plants and produce from local farmers and provided a home-cooked meal inspired by the market’s seasonal offerings for the ‘Murals in the Market’ artists and staff. The artworks and plants were reinstalled in a public park and friends’ homes, completing the cycle of re-purposing materials.
There is most definitely a connection to what we do. In both Detroit and Hilo, we’ve been approached and complimented by people of all walks of life for what we are trying to accomplish. Numerous artists from around the world (who we do not know personally) have begun to approach us because they appreciate the project and feel a connection to it.
This energy exists everywhere and there are likeminded people who appreciate our intentions and/or are inspired by our vision. Knowing that we may have improved someone’s day or helped someone connect with an idea through the artworks is an incredible feeling. Especially the kids – they absolutely love it, and it is a great reward to see them interact with what we’ve created and get involved in our projects.
We believe that art can be a contributing factor to social change, especially in regards to the dialogue and awareness surrounding social and environmental issues. The challenge that an artist can face, however, is deciding how to best contribute their skills to inspire the actions necessary to make a change. Whether it is through physical action, fundraising, aligning and supporting community and environmental organizations, etc., the possibilities are endless once an artist decides to use his or her art as a platform for a larger conversation. We see it happening more and more due to the world’s current environmental, social, and political climate. It might not change the world, per se, but we think that there is value in contributing positive energy to the world via art, with hope that it will inspire and force people to think and/or get involved.
Let us know how people get involved!
In regards to our events such as murals and installations, the artist and art aspect is curated to involve whomever we feel is the best fit for the project. Most often artists are chosen because their personal outlook and artwork aligns with our organization, and we almost always know them personally.
As far as just being involved in Temple Children to volunteer or because you feel a connection to our mission, we absolutely encourage anyone to get in touch. We do various volunteer activities in both Hawaii and Detroit. We are also launching a yoga and health series at our new Detroit studio this month, so that’s an easy way to dabble in what we’re all about.
What’s the next big project on the horizon?
We have some satellite projects in the works in Detroit and are gearing up for another mural and food activation in Hilo, Hawaii this fall! We are hopeful and excited to facilitate some projects that will merge art and food sustainability in 2017.