Writing for a horror website puts me in the path of a myriad of humans who love to revel in the darker shades of life and death. So, it seemed like fate when I ran into Art by Haka, a husband and wife team comprised of Axe Haka and Lady Haka, at the Belltown Block Party in Seattle, WA. While Axe Haka produces nightmare fuel in the form of mutilated figures down in his studio in West Seattle, Lady Haka handles PR. Haka’s work instantly draws witnesses in, and the ability of his creations to reach into the fear centers of the primal lizard brain is profoundly impressive. I didn't hesitate to ask for a closer look into his world.
When we got home from the block party, I sent a video of Axe Haka's work to Wormwood, Nevermore-Horror’s founder and chief, to tell him of what I was signing up for. His message wasn’t very comforting.
So, ignoring all the warning signs, Filiz and I travelled down to a Seattle neighborhood near Fauntleroy to get a preview of Axe Haka's new studio. He and Lady Haka were preparing for the grand opening on October 20th.
What we found in West Seattle was a lovely couple of passionate artists who explore the uncanny valley and push it to its furthest interpretations. Axe and Lady Haka moved last year from the Central Coast California, the rainy weather and dark forests are a more fitting environment for their tastes, and they have carved out a macabre home for themselves here in the Pacific Northwest. When they first moved up to Seattle, they secured themselves some studio space in the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. Axe told us that Georgetown wasn't ready for their brand of artwork and many people in GT were too afraid to even walk into their shop there.
It turns out that Axe Haka had always been creating art in the form of video production, music, sculpture, and mixed media. After a hiatus for a few years, he picked back up in 2013 with the first doll he created, Eleanor, which established his iconic style, a doll in Victorian dress, the mouth and jaw obliterated with a jack-o lantern smile.
With the unyielding support of Lady Haka taking care of the business side of the operation, they haven't looked back. Since then, Axe has been raiding the local thrift shop bins for materials for his artwork and it isn’t rare to see piles of doll parts laying in wait around various corners of his studio.
Art by Haka is a part of a small dark art collective that supports each other and they provide shop space for other members and their merchandise. This willingness to share ideas and support each other is one of the many reasons that Art by Haka had the ability to move to Seattle and make their presence known up North. It is also noteworthy that Axe Haka is trying to branch out from working with his traditional subjects. Although the figures and sculpture are his staple art media, he has been experimenting with different forms of expression which include shadow boxes, paint, and even latch hook. Primarily though, he really wants to get into welding which will be the doom of us all once he learns how to create giant metal death robots.
There were a number of things we talked about in our tour of the Axe Haka Studio. We talked about his process of making his artwork, which includes just starting a bunch of different projects and organically following where the art takes him. We also talked about their love for animals, in fact, they have four cats which are always interfering with the artwork. We joked that the absence of cat hair would be the tell-tale sign of an Axe Haka forgery. Their love for animals goes beyond caring for the pets in their own home, as 20% of all their sales are donated to the local animal shelter.
Our hosts were a real class act, and everyone should support their art. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our indie filmmaker friends came calling for some seriously frightening subject material to be used in an upcoming feature. Oh, remember that video I sent to Wormwood that kept him up all night with the lights on? Here it is:
Axe Haka has a number of shows coming up where you can see his art. On Saturday, October 6th, he will be at this year’s Pancakes and Booze event at El Corazon in Seattle, WA. You can also catch them at the SpÃ¯ce Open House at Equinox Studios in Georgetown, WA on 10/13. Starting from 10/8, you can buy Art by Haka at the Antique Mall of West Seattle curated by Time Machine West. They will also be attending Cryptic Con May 2019. You can shop at the SpÃ¯cey Haka Studio after it opens on October 21st, and as always you can purchase your own little nightmares any time at his online shop. The couple has a lot of great ideas for events and workshops, so it would be a good idea to keep up with them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Born and raised in San Diego California, I grew up loving the action horror and sci-fi genres. The first R rated film I saw was Predator back when I was 8 years old. Aliens blew me away as a youngster and I made a M41-A pulse rifle out of paper towel rolls and rubber bands. I ran around for hours avoiding face huggers and blasting xenomorphs in my back yard and I am bringing that big imagination to Nevermore Horror.