Honolulu Hale's Michelangelo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu Hale's Michelangelo

Alex Ching Alex Ching
Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Saturday at 6pm, Honolulu Hale will come to life with the lighting of the Christmas tree, and the displays around it.

When walking the grounds, it's easy to wonder where the City got them from. The answer: one of their own.

"I'm a recreation specialist with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation". That's Alex Ching's official title. Unofficially, he's the City's de facto sculptor.

When the City first started with City Lights in 1985, they used contracted artiest to create the statues of Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele. Some years later, they got the idea to create them locally. Ching was part of the ground floor operation, and took over as the lead sculptor in 1998.

The designs are created by the Friends of Honolulu City Lights and the Department of Customer Services. Once they're created, Ching gets to work.

He starts off by transposing the designs on to massive blocks of Styrofoam. This year, he began work in August on the newest edition, the keiki choir.

"I'll sculpt maybe a day, or a half day just to get started, and as it gets closer to Christmas I really need to start pouring in time or else it's not going to get done".

His tools are as interesting as the medium. "For the big cuts I like to use a reciprocating saw. Certain areas if we need really straight cuts we might need a chain saw".

For the more intricate areas, Ching uses surfboard shaping tools. Once the sculpture is complete, a hardened is added to the surface. Then comes the paint.

"This is all car paint. Because you can get a nice variety of colors, you can get the metallic flake inside--like ornaments".

The finished products are spectacular. Ching is responsible for not only the choir, but the cakes surrounding the Christmas tree, and the octopus and fish that reside in the fountain at Santa's feet.

Not bad for the City and County's recreation specialist.

Related link: 2014 Complete list of holiday parades on Oahu

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly