Posts Tagged ‘art saves lives’

Living Bali

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Contained within the concept of life,  if one examines the word itself, the thing (noun) is not really what one may assume. A look at the origins of the word, takes you back to a Germanic root, which actually means leave, or more to the point: to remain. Taken yet to a more finite point of purpose in definition, to live, is to OCCUPY, a space, time and place. In living, we fill a space with our heart, mind and spirit.

Here is the story of the Bali Nine.  A group of individuals cut off by country, and set adrift in a waking dream that was an interminable journey towards a new death.



Joanna Witt is a Canadian. Sort of. Married to a Balinese man for many years, she and her growing team of collaborators and artisans have become sort of the “it” suppliers of Silver artisanship in Ubud, Bali. She is one of Donna’s go to people, and watching the two of them creating together is very inspiring. Joanna and Ketut (her talented business partner and husband, with whom she was eying a marital separation) set a very high bar in the practice of the craft and art. They also run silver-smithing workshops for  tourists and other interested people.

So in the midst of a pending large shift in her marriage,  while raising two children, opening new stores, and I am sure, trying to figure out what the future may look like, Joanna found herself drawn into the prison which housed the cast off souls of the Bali Nine.

She and Nyoman, one of Studio Perak’s lead artisans, took a good look around and decided to throw these people a life line. Maybe they might grab ahold…. They called the endeavor which features a unique collection of works fashioned by members of the Bali Nine,  the Hope Project. You can find the collection at Studio Perak locations on Bali.

I understand a bit about prison life. As a young Bible student, I got to go into one of the Federal Penitentiaries a few times with a man who had a prison ministry. It was a great lesson in serving. I would bring surfing and ocean video and tales, and hang with the inmates and talk about what may lie ahead and how to grab the lifeline. We would just be there, a break from the routine and a window to a free life.

As Donna and I sat in one of Joanna’s shops and recorded the story, her account communicated the utter despair she found. I understood exactly what that meant.

In the struggle of building and tutoring these people in silversmithing on a weekly basis, she did something very important. Joanna and Nyoman put souls back into motion.

The significance of that is something which makes my eyes tear up. It is kind, brave, and all manner of strong. It is living.

On Bali, life is Art. My friend, Joe Cardella has a saying: Art Saves Lives.

Yes indeed, it certainly does.

The gallery below is what life looks like here for Donna and I right now, as we steadily meet and engage as many people as possible. Much to do, and we only get to live here for a heartbeat. But we occupy, thanks to these people and the grace of this place, this community.

“Onward”  Joe Cardella

High Art

Saturday, October 16th, 2010


There is a friend of mine, Joe Cardella, who has coined a phrase: “Art Saves Lives”

When looked at sideways you can truly understand that statement.

However, approach it with logical pragmatism and you will in fact, experience NO magical transformation in your life at all.

The reason for this is because the human heart establishes parameters that allow for a daily experiential flow that keeps everything in a predictable array of experience.

What this does is to allow for order.

It has long been said that genius borders on madness.

Well, high Art endeavors to lift Man into the realm of the Divine. It does so by enabling, via lateral thinking,  a skirting of the modus that keeps us locked in to the established rythmn of society and culture.

Is that a good thing?

Of course it is. Because it will implant the light of hope.

We all need hope to survive.

My Art is life, and all about encouraging people to embrace it.

This week I have Art showing at Couch in Santa Barbara on Ortega Street. The show is entitled “Gaviota Nude” and is an homage to the Chumash settled coastline where I grew up. The gallery owner is Michelle. Go see it if your are in Santa Barbara. It is inspiring.

I also have work showing at J’s on Main St in Ventura, and Betty B in Ventura as a part of the Ventura Artwalk.

Shows are something rather new for me. Though I have been in some rather prestigious venues around the world, I have at the behest of my friend and colleague, Robb Havassy,  and my girlfriend Donna Von Hoesslin, begun to show more. Why? Because it can help people.

Think of me as your neighborhood evangelist. But I am at your door to tell you that there are a wealth of experiences awaiting you.

Jesus will save your soul.

Art can save your life.

Build it.


The gallery below was shot in the Seychelles, the Maldives, Hawaii, and at home, in Ventura, California.

If you would like to purchase work, I hate to say this, but I really sell nothing. I am always away working. But any of the above three venues can help you, OR go to, Waveriders Gallery, Pi Studios, Corbis Images, keyword David Pu’u, or by contacting Donna at Surfchick @ Soon you will also be able to see my work via Coastal Classics at any surfshop near you on apparel, and fine canvas and plexiglass strata prints.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.