Thanks to artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs, sending a little aloha to friends and family is now as simple as taking a snapshot, no stamp required. After four years of touring the country on a quest to leave larger-than-life postcard paintings in every U.S. state, the creative duo completed their 34th mural in February 2019, turning a parking lot at ‘Alohilani Resort into a giant postcard bearing the message, “Greetings From Hawaii.”
Ving and Beggs met in New York City in 2013 while working on a shoot for fashion label DKNY. The following year, they collaborated on a mural in New York City’s Chinatown, borrowing the oversized place-name lettering of 1930s postcard design, complete with illustrations of iconic local landmarks. The couple converted an RV into a mobile studio and hit the road for their Greetings Tour in 2015, with Ving painting and Beggs documenting the process. “We wanted our modern-day postcards to be interactive,” Ving says. “People can jump right into them and use their phones to share the vibrant culture of a place in seconds.”
Soon after wrapping up a job in Alaska, the couple got the call to do their Hawai‘i painting at ‘Alohilani. They shipped supplies over to Honolulu and recruited two helpers from New York City to help create their largest mural to date. Unlike its predecessors, the 50-by-70-foot artwork was rendered on the ground instead of on a wall. Says Ving, “This one was a little tricky in terms of logistics because we couldn’t walk over places where we had just painted—we had to work from the outside in so we didn’t paint ourselves into a corner.”
Deciding their model of painting a different image in each letter of the state’s name wouldn’t work for the larger scale and aerial perspective, the artists chose to paint a single, cresting wave inspired by the big surf on O‘ahu’s north shore within the letters. They went with a classic mid-20th-century tiki theme in depicting Hawai‘i’s most famous landmark, Diamond Head, behind the wave, framed by palm trees and cloaked in a fiery orange sunset. “It was such an iconic, romanticized, and popular American vacation destination back then—and still is,” Ving says. “Oddly enough, Hawai‘i is the only state that never had an original large-letter postcard produced in that time period.”
After overcoming several challenges, including rain delays and drone-shot complications due to daylight shadows, the couple was ready to unveil the Hawai‘i mural. Visible from the resort’s guest towers and fifth-floor Swell Bar, it inspires regular helicopter flybys. As for the artists, there’s no end in sight to their nomadic life, with postcard paintings booked until the end of 2019 and a vision of taking the tour international. “We’re just going to see where the road takes us,” Beggs says.