Artist Kavika has taken his passion for art and MMA and created something unique: an MMA themed traveling art show that actually takes place in professional MMA gyms. This isn’t your grandmother’s stuffy art show. This is a morphing, growing, fan inspired working piece of art in progress. The next Hand to Hand Art Show happens this Saturday – August 11th, at Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, CA. Reign is Mark Munoz’s gym and is also home to great fighters like Jake Ellenburger and Krysztof Soszynski. A collection of various artists will be showcasing pieces relating to MMA. A special event poster portraying Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz will be available for purchase. There will also be a Kid’s Super Hero Art Contest, Gourmet Food Trucks, DJ, and several Team Reign members in attendance. Fun begins at 6:00pm; $5 Gen Adm, $4 for Reign Members and kids 12 and under free. A portion of proceeds will benefit Cross Treigning -a Non-Profit Organization. Everyone is welcome.
I recently had the opportunity to grill Kavika about this project.
Tell us a little about yourself – what you do for a living and how did you get involved with MMA in general?
Kavika: I am an artist for video games, galleries, an art instructor and more. I love fighting. It is not at all shocking to me because I actually come from a line of career barroom brawlers… I love the idea of a fair fight of disciplined career students of martial arts. I don’t like bullies; just a contest of willing expert participants. [I’ve been a fan] ever since UFC1 with the Gracies. And c’mon, video games are all about fighting.
How did the idea to do a traveling MMA Art show at actual MMA gyms come about?
Kavika: Originally I was looking for fighter involvement and sponsorship for a show at my own gallery. A brainstorm session with Mark Munoz’s marketing guy Mike Kruze fleshed out much of what this road show became. Orange County (California) is a hotbed of pro MMA gyms that people are too intimidated to walk into otherwise.
Tell us about the shows in general – what’s your goal? how many stops are you doing?
Kavika: We are doing 4 shows from Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Long Beach and ending in my art gallery Kavika Works in Santa Ana next to the Santa Ana Trainstation. Doing multiple shows lets us evaluate a better way to organize and improve after every showing. It will be mastered by the time its over.
How have the gyms reacted to the idea of turning their octagons into an art gallery for an evening?
Kavika: They love the idea. I have done zero selling. I pitch to them and they are like “That thing you said… do that here.” It isn’t quite that simple but we have been very welcomed and supported by gyms and fighters. It makes me feel like we hit on the right thing with MMA art exhibits.
Your first show was on July 21 at Rampage’s Fitness Academy. How’d that go?
Kavika: The Rampage gym is one of the newest and beautifully designed gyms. The art popped so well. Kurt Papstien, a fellow video game artist, spun morphing, live mixes that fit better than perfect. We have art from movie sculptor Erick Rodriguez, Gallery Nucleus owner/artist Ben Zhu, up and coming artists such as Brian Fort, and many more. For the Reign show we will have 12 artists.
Do you have any plans to do more MMA themed shows in the future?
Kavika: I would like to do more if gyms, artists and people want more, which seems to be the case. We worked together to create a unique morphing event. We are adding kids art contests, silent auctions, fighter signings on art prints, food trucks…. It is getting out of control.
Hand to Hand show schedule:
August 11: Reign Training Center – Lake Forest, CA
August 25: Chute Boxes – Long Beach, CA
September 1: Kavika Works – Santa Ana, CA