Selu {NOTE-WOR-THY}

April 22, 2013  •  8 Comments

Meet Selu!  I have known Selu and his family for as long as I can remember.  We grew up in Rose Park, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Actually our little slice of heaven was called Morton Meadows, but nobody has ever heard of that so we just refer to it as Rose Park.  It was actually a great place to grow up and I don't regret it for one second.  There was always a sense of community and peace.  Yes we had the occasional car bombings and drug raids, but for the most part it was quiet.  But best of all, if you were willing to live there, you belonged.

Selu and I went to West High school together.  He was a bit older than I and was a star football player.  I on the other hand was just trying to fit in!

Its funny because he will be the first to tell you that he was not athletic, in fact I think he claims he was clumsy!  This is hard to believe given that his nickname was "bone crusher," and he was considered one of the best football players in the State at the time.

This, however, is not a story about Selu's football career.

Football, is really only a small part of Selu's story.  In fact, I would say football was nothing more than a brief experience, fleeting and passing.  Is his football success integral to who he is today?  Of course it is.  But unlike so many others, he does not dwell on the past, but uses it to fuel his future. 

Selu is a deeply fearless and determined individual.  However, in a moment of true honesty he expressed to me that his greatest fear was irrelevancy.  We've all felt it, that dread that our lives mean nothing, that our mark on the world is so small, nobody will ever notice.  For some this fear is crippling.  For others, like Selu, it is what propels them to push the limits imposed by others and to achieve the greatness that they see within themselves.  He did it with football and he is doing it now.   

You see, Selu is an artist.  He has been inspiring and moving people with his amazing art for the past 5-6 years.  It began with bone and mother-of-pearl carvings, inspired by his rich Polynesian culture.  Now, his art has evolved into full blown painting, masterfully centered around the play of color and movement.

When you first see his work, it is both visually arresting and wonderfully calming.  His work blends elements of balance with chaos to such a degree that his work stays with you long after you view it.

Perhaps what inspires me most about Selu is that he has zero formal training.  He is completely self taught.  Perhaps I see much of his story mirrored in my own.  The difference is, he is an exceptional talent, noteworthy in every sense.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit Selu at his home studio and his shop where he does the finishing work on his pieces.  I was able to witness him work first hand.  It is clear that he loves the work and is passionate about creating his art.  In a world filled with pretentious "know it alls", Selu is a breath of fresh air.  Like his art, I found that he is both complex, yet simple in the way he approaches life and painting. 

Freedom is reflected in his work as he is able to experiment and try new things without the voice of some art professor in the back of his mind whispering that he is wrong.

As I sat in his studio and watched him work, faint music playing in the background, his kids laughter in the distance, I was overcome with the sense that there was much more to his work than simple colors and canvas.   A deep expression of faith and spirituality was felt.  Maybe it was the process of creation, maybe it was the quiet moments as I snapped pictures, but I knew that I was experiencing something special.

So, even though I have known Selu for a long time, I feel like I am just now getting to know him.  While some may tailor their work to please others.  Selu creates art for himself.  In a sense that is the true definition of fine art.

Amidst all of this Selu seems to have a good balance in his family life as well.  It is no small task to be an artist but it is an even greater task to be the spouse of an artist.  This story would not be complete without mentioning Selu's true inspiration.  I have met Tofu his wife, briefly, and I was immediately taken back by her fierce strength and beauty.  In the briefest of moments I realized that she is truly the source of Selu's success.  Football may have provided lessons in ambition and strength of will.  But I firmly believe Selu would not be where he is without his wonderful wife right beside him.

So who is Selu?  He is a husband, father, artist and to me he is Noteworthy!

Check out his work online at, www.seluart.com.  To see some of his work in person (best way to view it) head over to City Creek and visit the Al Rounds Studio.  If you want to see his work and eat some really good Hawaiian food, check out Mo-Bettah Steaks or L&L's Hawaiian Barbeque.

For more information about the {note-wor-thy) project and to nominate someone to be part of the {note-wor-thy} project click on the {note-wor-thy} link at the bottom of this page!


Comments

8.ema hunt(non-registered)
love it" love it" love your talent, i relate to what i have seen, can totally blend with its dense colors, messages of beauty, eternity and forever.... wow,wish you had a showing here in australia, i dont normally go nuts about anything,,,but i felt goooose bumps just seeing paintings on this page...keep up the exceptional work and God Bless, thanks for making my day....
7.Sitiveni Sa'u(non-registered)
Malo uso,,,manaia lau taleni.. God Bless...
6.Coach- Tevita Vainuku(non-registered)
Good job Selu, your work is amazing brotha!
5.Jon Diaz Photo
Thank you everyone for the kind words. It was so much fun doing this and the best part was getting to know Selu and his family better.
4.Amy (Williams) Staheli(non-registered)
WOW! Can I say WOW, again!?! What an amazing contribution to Selu and his family! What wonderful pictures, both from you and Selu! I love this! I love the idea of "Note-wor-thy"-ing someone! What a great idea! You're the man, Jon! Keep up the great work!
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