Art History Happy Hour - Hokusai’s Great Wave

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Our readers may have noticed recently that we here at Sartle have been positively gushing about the Honolulu Museum of Art

With recent exhibits on topics ranging from the Manga of Japanese artist Takaya Miou, Harajuku Fashion, and contemporary Hawaiian design, the HoMA truly embodies Sartle’s mantra of “seeing art differently” by placing these often marginalized art forms in a broader art historical context. This truly ain’t your grandparent’s art museum.


ARTafterDARK: Afrofuture event featuring a silent disco. Check out that chick doing the splits. Image via

As the hippest museum in Hawaii it is no surprise that they also host the dopest ARTafterDARK events for literally thousands of miles. This year’s Halloween event Boo! promises to be no exception and has the added bonus of featuring giveaways and a social media takeover by yours truly. 


To gear up for the event and to honor the museum’s world renowned collection of Japanese woodblock prints, contributor and HoMA employee Scott convinced event sponsor and delicious shochu distiller iichiko along with bartenders extraordinaire Free Spirits Mobile Bartenders to shake up one swell of a drink, “Hokusai’s Great Wave.”


Photo via


2 oz of iichiko Blu shochu

apple, lemon, cinnamon juice blend from Nalo Juice Co. (to taste)

Stir or shake ingredients together with ice, serve straight up or on the rocks. When facing the wave we believe you should choose what floats your boat.


Hokusai self-portrait

Katsushika Hokusai’s art is arguably the most recognizable to Western audiences thanks to the first print in his forty-six print series misleadingly called Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji. Even complete art-pleebs are familiar with The Great Wave off Kanagawa due to the tide of random merchandise bearing its image.


You’ll be the most zen shooter at the range with these custom made Sig Sauer P938 Grips available on Etsy.

The piece is a reflection of a tradition of woodblock printmaking produced in the 17th-20th C called Ukiyo-e that refers to the “floating” pleasure worlds of Japan’s lowest classes of society. While they may be floating it’s very difficult to imagine that the 30 fishermen about to be pummeled by a 35 ft rogue wave are experiencing any pleasure at this moment. Some scholars say the piece reflects Hokusai’s reverence for the deathly power of the ocean. The fact that the wave compositionally engulfs Mt. Fuji, a sacred mountain connected with legends of immortality, definitely backs up this theory.


The Great Wave Off Kanagawa located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Much like the artist Hokusai, the “Great Wave” cocktail is inspired by Mt. Fuji. This cocktail combines the light, clean, smooth, shochu like flavor profile of iichiko Blu and the tart crisp flavor of fresh cold pressed Fuji apple juice. A hint of lemon juice and cinnamon will create the perfect fall cocktail inspired and crafted by Free Spirits Mobile Bartenders and Nalo Juice Co. While it won’t grant you eternal life like the Japanese believed, it will make for a refreshing treat before viewing some great art at the museum.


Make sure to come to ARTafterDARK: Boo! On Friday, October 28th from 6:00pm-9:00pm to join in the fun with a costume contest, delicious local kine grindz, DJ, photo booth and, of course, to sample “Hokusai’s Great Wave.” Stay tuned to our Instagram and Twitter and HoMA’s Instagram and Twitter over the next two weeks for more details and fun facts about the HoMA and how you can win some sweet Sartle swag at the event. 

Hint: This is the swag; dog not included.


Check out Sartle’s take on more of HoMA’s greatest artworks here.

By: Sarah Oesterling and Scott Whelden

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Scott Whelden


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