If you’ve ever stepped into one of ROC’s offices in Santa Monica, Hawaii, Irvine, or San Diego, you probably remember the bold, poppy art pieces that decorate the space. These pieces, which juxtapose familiar images and references to pop culture with insightful meditations, represent the signature style of Hawaii born, mixed-media artist Kaleo.
Kaleo’s art, which is optimistic and powerful, but not naïve, reflects his own life and spirit. After a difficult childhood growing up with a single parent in poverty, he later moved to California to attend high school in Pasadena. He began to develop his art, working tenaciously and adventurously through different media.
Today, the lines between his life and work are hard to distinguish. He played football for UCLA, composed music featured in television and movies, and even taught in the Pasadena Unified School District. His experiences no doubt contribute to the unique style of paintings that can now be found within ROC offices.
The ROC offices were a natural home for Kaleo’s work. Mutual friends introduced Kaleo to Ron McElroy, the CEO of Real Office Centers. McElroy, also a Hawaii native, hit it off with Kaleo instantly— “he loved what I did, I loved how he worked his business, and we just connected and moved from there,” Kaleo says. He also sites the “island vibe” for their natural collaboration.
“Most of the things I do are positive, uplifting, and cerebral,” Kaleo notes. Many of the murals he creates, which are prevalent in ROC offices, include the image of an atom with a power button inside. The atom illustrates Kaleo’s conviction that “the power is within each and every one of us.” Kaleo also depicts images of his heroes, which include Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Bob Marley.
It’s not just Kaleo’s art that has found a home at ROC. Kaleo uses the Santa Monica office location as his studio, as well.
“ROC is an amazing environment. It’s an amazing environment to be in. Everyone is passionate about what they’re doing, everyone is hustling to do what they can to further their business, brand, or position in their company. They have all been very cool and supportive. The vibe of ROC is so inspirational.”
Check out Kaleo’s story and more of his work here.