Selu was born in Western Samoa in August of 1977. He grew up in the village of Vaitoloa until he was 8 years old and eventually moved with his family to America. In order to succeed in the American school system, Selu had to learn the English language. With the help of his parents and his tutor, he quickly learned the language and was able to excel in school.
He developed a passion for art during his early years in school. He never considered himself an artist as he felt anyone could draw, paint, or create with just a little imagination and attention to detail. Drawing and painting came natural and made sense to him. However, this wasn’t the only thing that would define this artist’s life. Surrounded by sports, his interest in art was later replaced with an interest in sports and the football field became his new canvas for another form of art.
Selu played football for the first time during his sophomore year at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Unlike his inherent ability for art where creating came easy and natural, he had to learn the sport from scratch. Not being familiar with football terminology and concepts, he relied on his instincts and his love for the sport to carry him through. He quickly gained a reputation for his hard hitting and reckless style of play and earned the nickname “bone crusher” from his teammates. His style of play along with his passion for football provided an avenue for higher education and it earned him a full ride scholarship to Dixie Junior College in St. George Ut. After 2 successful years at Dixie Junior College, he was offered another full ride scholarship to Louisiana Tech University as a Line Backer / Strong Safety. Although he had great success on the football field starting all 4 years in college, he was not able to reach his highest goal of playing in the NFL.
Life after football was less than glamorous but was marked with an opportunity to achieve a much more challenging goal as Selu embarked on a new journey. He met his beautiful wife Tofuola Tiatia while playing for a local Rugby Club in Salt Lake City, Utah. After only seven months of meeting each other, they married and started a family. 7 kids later, a mortgage, and a grocery bill that can match the us army, Selu struggled to make ends meet.
While working as a Counselor for the State of Utah, Selu tried to find different ways to supplement his income. He worked part time for Brady Roofing while maintaining his job as a counselor in the evenings. This routine, kept him from seeing his family as his work schedule required him to leave early and come home late. He did this for a couple of years before he decided to quit his job with the State and join Brady Roofing full time as a production manager and salesman.
In November of 2009, Selu rekindled his love for art while carving jewelry out of materials laying around the house to make as Christmas gifts for family members. It was during this particular juncture in his life where he really started to cultivate a talent that had been kept hidden for quite some time. He became fascinated with bone art and learned of the ancient art of bone carving indigenous to the people of Maori (New Zealand). It made the most sense to him. He found solace in creating pieces that inspire and bring meaning to the wearer. His creative bone carvings capture the traditional symbols and designs of Polynesia while maintaining the flare and zeal of his new homeland.
Trying to find ways to enhance his bone carvings and bring it to a wider audience, Selu studied contemporary and abstract art and began to incorporate his designs and carvings into wall art pieces. This medium has allowed him to portray the symbolism traditionally expressed in bone carvings into wall art form.
Art has evolved for Selu. Once found on the football field was the art of chaos, tenacity, and collision. Today it is the art of chemistry, fluidity, and balance that defines this artist; not just in his art, but in all facets of life. “Everything from work, raising a family and religion; there is a process and a balance that will carve out a path that reveals the kind of art we aspire to”.
To learn more about Selu, please visit www.islandkineart.com.