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In August I had the awesome opportunity to give to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization whose commitment is to end domestic violence and sexual assault.  It's a great organization founded by Mariska Hargitay (of Law & Order fame).   You can learn more about their work here, and watch their "NO MORE" public service announcement here.   We agreed the best way for me to contribute was to create a print commemorating their 10th anniversary celebration here in Hawaii.  Their theme for the event was "Nā mele mau a mau" or "My stories; my work go on forever and ever." stressing the importance of a lifelong path to healing from trauma and abuse.  I was stoked with how the final print turned out.  It features a trio of women hand in hand symbolizing strength and an unbreakable bond.  Big mahalo to the Joyful Heart Foundation for all that they do and embracing my creative vision for the piece.  The print is available in 12 x 18 at Red Pineapple in Honolulu. Say "Aloha" to Nalani for me! Here are Mariska and Nalani posing with the final print.  The print is sized at 20 x 30 and printed on textured bamboo paper.  Check it out in my portfolio. mariska hargitay - Everything is Jake art by Nick Kuchar  
The Made in Hawaii Festival was a big success last month.  Thanks to everyone that came by our booth!  It was a great time and we look forward to seeing you next year. 10592653_716761788358856_3634978357447290463_n We offered a discount for those of you that told us a Hawaiian folklore story! 10590446_713839041984464_8428676875277920723_n   Repurposed drawers from re-use Hawaii! 10599124_713308205370881_7570752180098852369_n
Come on out to Waikiki for an evening of art and fun!  June 21st 6-9pm I'll be having a gallery show at the new Greenroom Hawaii (located inside the Sheraton Waikiki).   See you there! You can use the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel's parking on Don Ho Street by the hotel.  Here's their address: GREENROOM Hawaii, 2255 Kalakaua Ave. Sheraton Waikiki Shop #18, Honolulu, HI 96815 Aloha! -Nick Greenroom Hawaii Kuchar
Aloha friends of Everything is Jake! We are super excited to announce the launch of our new venture, Salt & Swell! We'd love for you to go to the site and check out shirts, stickers and just the right amount of Nick Kuchar's retro Hawaii flair. Our first two collections of items benefit the Hawaiian Humane Society and the Institute for Human Services homeless shelter. We are stoked on giving! http://www.saltandswell.com/ s&s-shirt1-web   s&s-shirt2-web s&s-shirt3-web s&s-shirt4-web s&s-tote1 script-logo-sticker-web  
Jake, owning the North Shore.

Jake, owning the North Shore.

"I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song. I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long. Time hurries on. And the leaves that are green turn to brown." -Paul Simon, 1966

It was the Fall of 2003, my Senior year of college at Auburn, and I arrived at a girl's apartment to pick her up for a date.  She wasn't ready yet and asked if I would walk her dog before we left. So, I put the dog's leash on him and proceeded to sprint down three levels of stairs to a grassy area where I spent about 15 seconds letting him relieve himself.  Immediately, we sprinted back up the three levels of stairs back to her apartment.  In my mind, I wanted to walk this dog as fast as possible because I had a date with a hot blonde.  In his mind, he must have thought this was the biggest rip off of a walk that he'd ever experienced.  I was 22, and this is when I met Jake for the first time.  He was a four year old full-of-energy Dalmatian.  That hot blonde?  She is my wife of almost 9 years, partner-in-crime and best friend.

Over the next year and a half, Jake, Rachel and I got to know each other.  Trips to the dog park, hiking around Chewacla creek, and Tuskegee mountain biking were just a few of the ways we tried to exercise this dog and get him to use his seemingly unending amount of energy.  One warm Auburn afternoon I remember meeting up at a local little league baseball field, where we shut the gates so Jake could run around and play fetch with a frisbee.  I use the term "fetch" loosely since it was more of a crazy sprint to the frisbee and either A) Jake would decide to mangle it with his teeth, or B) pick it up and run the opposite direction.   This is also the day I knew I was in love with Rachel.

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was A time of innocence, A time of confidences Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph Preserve your memories; They're all that's left you" -Paul Simon, 1968

Me with the boys circa 2004. I apologize in advance for the hemp necklace.

Jake even tagged along to our wedding at the beach in 2005.  After, all he and Rachel had been buddies since 1998 when he was a puppy just getting his spots. I learned a lot of things having a dog for the first time. I mainly learned that dogs like to chew and shred things: water bottles, toys with stuffing, money that had fallen on to the floor, and the list goes on.  A plush toy with a squeaker stood no chance in our household.  I consistently found my car wash sponge in the garage shredded in to a hundred pieces.  It seemed to be his life goal, his purpose.  Dogs also like to pee in the same spot in your yard, I learned.  Jake's second life goal was to see how large of a brown patch he can create.  Another thing I learned for the first time from Jake is that dogs love you unconditionally.  Jake loved to be around us.  He would follow us everywhere; If we were inside and he was outside, he'd bark at the door until he was rescued from his solitude.  Oh, and I learned that most dogs shed. A lot.  The white tumbleweeds I became accustomed to were akin to something out of a wild west film.

When we moved to Hawaii, we road-tripped across the country from South Carolina to California.   This was to give our pets a shorter plane flight since they had to ride below in the cargo space.  6 days and 2,500 miles later we pulled up to LAX with our suitcases, surfboards, Jake, and our little Garfield cat named Carlos.  We always said this was Jake's retirement.  A dog that was terrified of thunder was relocating to a state without thunderstorms; A dog that loved to be outside was relocating to a land of perpetual summer.  We took Jake on daily bike rides.  He'd run beside our bike for a mile or two (if it was a holiday like Christmas or Halloween) this would be done in costume, of course.  In 2011, I decided to name my business "Everything is Jake", partly because of the vintage phrase meaning "it's all good", but also to recognize what a blessing Jake's been in my life.

Year-round bike rides.

"Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, That's all there is. And the leaves that are green turned to brown." -Paul Simon

Jake passed away Monday due to complications from lung cancer.  He was 15 years old.  The longer I live, the more I learn that life is cyclical, that our life is made up of many different seasons.  Sometimes these seasons are a blessing, sometimes they are a test to prepare us for the next, and through these seasons, the joy we have through our faith in God remains constant.  As we finish this final chapter of our "Marley and Me" season with Jake, I have fleeting memories pop into my head.  I remember how we tried to dye Jake's fur blue one time with Kool Aid.  We learned that his fur was too coarse to soak up the dye, and also learned he enjoyed getting back at us by jumping in the pool, leaving behind a blue Kool-Aid cloud that resembled an oil slick. I remember how scared Jake was when we brought Carlos home the first day.  Even though Jake was 50 pounds and Carlos barely 1, Jake was terrified.  Of course he grew to know him as his little brother, and this memory morphs into their playful wrestling matches in the living room that usually ended in Carlos swinging from Jake's neck.  I remember the time I carried Jake 100 yards down Chewacla creek because the rocks were too slippery for him to walk on.  And, I remember when we took him swimming at the beach he always swam to the right for some reason (maybe a la Derek Zoolander?).

So, as the car wash sponge sits safely intact in the corner of the garage, and the brown grass patches in our yard slowly gloss over back to green, we are heartbroken, but we are also blessed to have had Jake in our lives for so long.  Leaves that are green turn to brown.  Yeah, that's true.  But after those brown leaves fall, Spring is not far behind, bringing on the growth of new leaves. We look forward to seeing Jake again one day just as we await what the next season of life holds.

Yeah, they got more comfortable with each other.

Last year my wife actually made Jake a dog-friendly cake for his "100th" birthday. He scarfed it in one bite.

Jake's favorite shave ice flavor was plain. Well, only because that's all we gave him: I like to think of him as a li hing mui and mango kind of guy.

Our last family photo with Jake.  Taken Sunday.

Our last family photo with Jake. Taken Sunday.

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