Kala Kaiwi portrait by Rose Adare

Primal Buddha

Portrait of Kala Kaiwi

Oil on linen
Copyright Rose Adare 2012

Taking inspiration from¬†indigenous cultural practices while mixing in his own brand of industrial, stainless steel, Hawaii’s Kala Kaiwi is deemed one of the best body piercers in the USA.

Instantly recognizable, his body is his art, with some of the largest stretched earlobes in North America, he has over 75% of his body tattooed and over 70 body piercings. With silicon implants embedded in his brow and his forearm, micro dermal spikes set into his head, and his nostrils stretched, Kala’s presence stands out at Body-Mod conventions throughout the country.¬†

Developing his skills in Las Vegas, Kala specializes in all forms of body piercing, micro-dermals anchored into the skin, genital beading, scarification and branding, as well as performance art suspending individuals off the ground with specialized meat-hooks. By bringing award winning tattoo artists to Sin City, his Big Island studio in Hilo, he strives to refine body-modification as a respectable, licensed art. While many maybe taken aback by him, at least initially, Kala is a proud father and a respected member of his community. 

Going against the typical expectations, his art isn’t about attention seeking shock value, rather intense personal exploration as a human being in the flesh.