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Interview with POW! WOW! founder Jasper Wong

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Please introduce yourself to the L.A. TACO readers. Who you are and what you do?

My name is Jasper Wong and I'm the founder of POW! WOW! Primarily a mural festival that has become an art and music school, creative community centers, and more. It's currently held in Hawaii, Texas, California, Taiwan and Japan.

This year is Pow!Wow!'s fifth anniversary. Congratulations. Please describe what Pow!Wow! was when you first started and what it has now become in 2015.

POW! WOW! originally started as an excuse to bring my friends together and paint. A very simple idea that became much larger in scale over the years. What began as a gallery exhibit became a mural festival with 100+ artists painting 70 murals over a period of a week. We're now expanding globally and creating related programming with our free art and music schools for the youth.

You have taken artists to Hawaii, Taiwan and just recently to SXSW in Austin. How did your journey bring you to Long Beach, California?

There is always a passionate group of people in each city. Individuals that strive to bring art to their city. This is the key ingredient. Long Beach has that in spades. Amazing people that provided a ton of support and helped to bring POW! WOW! to Long Beach.

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Artist Alex "Defer" Kizu at POW! WOW! Hawaii 2015.

To date, only a few artists (Bumblebee, Craola, DabsMyla, SketOne and Witnes are examples), have created legal murals in the city Long Beach. Was it a difficult process to bring Pow!Wow! to Long Beach?

There are always a myriad of obstacles to overcome. It's never easy, because we're trying to convince building owners to allow us to paint on their walls. However, Long Beach's defining quality is their people. The people of Long Beach have been incredibly gracious and generous. It wouldn't be happening without everyone's support.

What are your expectations for this inception of Pow!Wow! in Long Beach?

It's our first foray into Long Beach. We're just hoping that it is well received and the community enjoys the splashes of color we're adding to the city. We only have the best of intentions and we're just hoping to bring people together through art, educate and beautify. If we achieve those things then I'll consider it a success.

Please give our readers your impressions of the Los Angeles art scene? Also, how does the L.A. art scene compare to the international art scene?

The Los Angeles art scene is one of the best in the world in my opinion. There is such a wide diversity of artist living in the city and some of the best artists all live in LA. We hope we can add just a little more to an already amazing scene.

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The Family Portrait from POW! WOW! Hawaii 2015

Do you have a particularly favorite taco spot in LA? What do you order?

To be honest, I don't know the names of the spots I've been to. I just follow blindly to taco restaurants that my friends take me to. I'm a fan of lengua, so any place with a solid lengua taco is a favorite in my book.

As renowned artist yourself has this venture held back your creative process? Do you have any particular projects outside of ​POW! WOW! that our readers and your fans should be aware this coming year?

​It has to a degree, but it's also inspired me a ton as well. Watching some of the world's best artists paint in front of me has been both mind-blowing and educational. I once painted a six story mural in Washington D.C. and utilized a lot of techniques that I learned from POW! WOW! There are a few projects that I'm working on. This includes toys and other collaborative efforts. I'm hoping to paint more soon, but it's tough to find time when we're putting together about 4 to 5 festivals a year.​

I want to thank you for your time, we all know your a busy man. Any last words for the L.A. TACO readers?

Thank you so much for supporting us. I look forward to meeting you all at POW! WOW! Long Beach.

Photos provided to us by POW! WOW!.

Keep up with POW! WOW! via Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.

For information about locations, participants and other events taking place during this week long event visit, POW! WOW! Long Beach.

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