Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Makes Maui MAUI

Each year, Hui No‘eau has selected individuals that are making a profound community engagement impact via the visual arts and invited them to share their talents, tools and time with our Hui as an artist in residence. Ranging in length from 2 – 4 weeks, these intensive arts experiences generate new and lasting relationships and ideas, offering people from all walks of life a fresh opportunity to connect with ART. Whether it’s spending 8 hours helping to remove hundreds of saplings of invasive strawberry guava that will become a giant sculpture (On the Wild Side, 2011) or simply spending 1 hour at a panel discussion chatting with social justice advocates about how after-school programs can give at-risk youth a stronger voice to actively define community issues important to them (Many Stories, Many Voices, 2010), we strive for inclusion in each Artist in Residence program planning process.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 14 days since Philadelphia-based muralist Shira Walinsky and her trusty sidekick Adam Corrigan landed on Maui to conduct their July 2012 Artist Residency at the Hui. A collaboration that has lasted more than 6 months to date, their introductory installment to the Hui No‘eau Maui Mural Project will be completed just hours before their departure tomorrow, July 20th.

“It has been very exciting to have such experts in the field come to Maui to share their process, enthusiasm and unique point of view,” remarks Hui Executive Director (and Philadelphia native) Caroline Killhour, “I love that Philadelphia is known as the “City of Murals,” and that it is a social norm to interpret neighborhoods there through large-scale works of high-quality art. It’s so interesting to now see our island interpreted this way, and all of the shared visions from members of our community translated.”

Working closely with both the Hui programs team and a collection of volunteer consultants representing various fields, interest groups and points of view, Shira continually sketched design drafts, sending them out for feedback and then changing direction – all a response to various notions of “What Makes Maui MAUI.”

“There have been so many contrasting points of view; such a fascinating window into this new world,” remarks Walinksy, “but more than anything, there is a deep connectedness to and respect for the natural world here and it’s conversation with an ever-growing population.”

Shira’s design (which was still changing as of yesterday, as the first parachute cloth panels were being adhered to the free-standing mural structure on the Hui lawn), incorporates elements of ocean, sky and mountain, taro, canoe and telephone wire. She combines her specialized collage style with woodcut areas (enlarged from a piece she made on-site in our printmaking studio), complemented by luscious color and vivid contrast.

Want to see for yourself? Stop by the Hui tonight for your first chance to see the completed piece and last chance to meet Shira & Adam before they head back to Philly tomorrow afternoon:

Thursday, July 19: Artist Chat & Presentation with Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky: Join us in bidding bon voyage to public art expert Shira Walinsky who will share slides of her work with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, talk about her work igniting social change via the visual arts, and engage in conversation about the process of creating the first installment to the Hui No’eau Maui Mural Project. (5:00 PM / FREE)

Want to be a part of the Hui No‘eau Maui Mural Project? Join us in October as we welcome Eric Okdeh, Shira's colleague, also from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Read more:
The Hui No’eau Maui Mural Project: Preliminary Sketches!
A Chat with Muralist Shira Walinksy


Shira Walinsky

Assistant Artist
Adam Carrigan

Planning Team
Kelly McHugh
Anne-Marie Forsythe
Lana Coryell

Build Volunteers
Andrew Brodzinski
Don Bernshouse
Gilson Killhour

Mural Students
Lana Davis
Kalyn Dorheim
Sedona Estomo
Audrey Ginger
Gabe Killhour
Valentin Miro Quesada
Kenui Smythe-Fujiwara
Annie Terwilliger
Elliott Cost
Rosario Virasoro
Jen Russo
Laurie Furumoto
Mike Takemoto
Matthew Clement
Connie Adams

Mural Painters
Tim Garcia
Valentin Miro Quesada
Caroline Killhour
Lisa Morrison
Danno Kolohe Weiss

Mural Consultants
Hokulani Holt, Cultural Programs Director, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Rae Takemoto, Vice Principal, Pomaikai Elementary School
Kahulu Maluo, Halau Kumu & Arts Administrator, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Paul Wood, Writer, Teacher, Radio Personality
Priscilla Mikell, Kamehameha Schools Maui
Nancy Aleck, Executive Director, Hawai‘i People's Fund
Jen Russo, Maui Time Weekly
Robin Curammeng, Art Teacher, Maui High School
Scott Fisher, Director of Conservation, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Tim Garcia, Maui Sculptor & Hui Board Member
Valentin Miro-Quesada, Artist
Shai-Anne Shamblin, Artist
Paul Janes-Brown, Vision Actualizer
Moani Wagner, Executive Director, Hawaiian Cultural Practices Institute
Irene Bowie, CEO of Maui Tomorrow
Sally Raisbeck, Maui Peace Action
Helen Nielsen, President, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Michael Moore, Owner & Mastermind of Star Noodle, Old Lahaina Luau and Leoda's Kitchen

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet the Hui's 2012 Solo Artists

Valerie Kim: "Mi'o 1, Swiftly As a Stream of Water, Kohala"

Billy Welker, "Self Portrait"

Each year, Hui No‘eau’s exhibition committee distributes an open call to Hawai‘i artists in search of proposals for the Solo Artist Exhibition. In January, the committee members chose two remarkable individuals from the pool of applicants: Valerie Yong Ock Kim, a photographer from the Big Island, and Haiku painter Billy Welker.

Val’s series is called "LIGHT SPEED MATTER, A STILL PLACE WAITING," and is comprised of photographic archival pigment prints, a video projection, and a new presentation of photographs in cast glass. It is broken into three parts: Still Image, Refractions, and Chasing Photons. Images were made in places like Chicago, London, California and the Hawaiian Islands. They suspend the viewer in a frozen yet moving landscape, at the edge of a black hole, where time slows down and a still place is found.

Billy will present “Configuration,” a collection of portraits and figure studies in oils. The figure as subject is simultaneously basic and familiar, intimidating, spiritual and emotional. His own interest in the figure as inspiration stems from the irresistible and timeless urge to document and celebrate humanity, and a regard and fascination for art and human history.

This exhibition provides the community with intimate access to the participating artists, gaining a critical perspective on the way they work, and how and why their body of work came to be. Artists are invited to “tell their stories” — so we checked in with Billy and Val to learn more about their unique backgrounds in art-making, creative processes, and why they do what they do.

What is your history with art-making?

Val: I picked up a camera as a kid, chasing my sister around the house in Kahaluu (Oahu). I always wanted to be an artist, and loved to sketch and draw, but as the daughter of a science teacher and electrical engineer, it didn’t seem practical at the time. I was in the psychology field for 10 years, and even then incorporated visual images into my work. I have no formal training, but throughout the last decade have taken opportunities to study with different artists and printers. This series began in 2003.

Billy: I hung on to a childlike fascination with drawing longer than most. After studying fine arts at Wayne State University in Detroit, I stepped away from it for 30 years — broke, and baffled at “modern art” — and learned carpentry and contracting. This satisfied a compulsion to engage mind and hands to solve puzzles, and paid the bills to raise a family. In 2005, I injured my right arm badly enough to require three months’ inactivity in a sling. During this time I signed up for a figure drawing class at the Hui taught by Caleb O’Connor. I followed this with a painting workshop; a forgotten pleasure, though I quickly remembered it as all-consuming, hard work. I have since retired from contracting and now paint every day. At age 63, this is my first solo exhibition. As de Kooning once said, “Imagine, a grown man, and I paint pictures.”

Why did you apply for this exhibition, and what has been your experience creating work for it?

Val: The Hui is very prestigious, and I saw the opportunity to really explore what the work is about, and the concepts, rather than just filling the space with beautiful, saleable art. It’s great to have deadlines, so I’ve started to hone in on the writing aspect as a way to talk to myself – starting with the image, then fleshing out the answers why… I’m interested in the journey of self-discovery through image making. I take pictures while traveling, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car, watching the world go by. Shooting pictures is like planting seeds — then the harvesting work begins.

Billy: It’s an incredible opportunity to have a show at Hui No‘eau, a special organization that supports and fosters creativity, an abstruse essential that elevates our human condition. This impending exhibition instills discipline, narrows my options, and further defines my style. I paint in the joy of solitude and personal and intimate effort, with few rules and no ending. I search for solutions to a self-inflicted puzzle, often amused by unanticipated images that mysteriously emerge to provide direction. I’m a very slow painter — often working a piece till I don't understand it any longer. I may then set it aside, sometimes for months. Many of my figures are created without models or visual reference other than a peek at a mirror to determine the physiology of a gesture. Some paintings in this exhibition have been in progress for more than a year and a half and I often feel they will never be “finished.” A deadline provides positive restriction to my discontent.

What connections do you strive to convey between your work and the community?

Val: Art serves to carry people to an emotional place they either love, or are stimulated by — some place they want to be. I think there is a “still place” in each of us that is actually an interior place — a common, yet cosmic interior place we go to — where the noise stops. I think I make work that attempts to be a touchstone for this place. We all have our own little dramas, but there are universal connections between us. My work explores these walls that we put up; they are there to protect and defend us, but also serve to link us to others.

Billy: The human figure is familiar and comprehensible, evocative and enigmatic, and the vessel of emotion; a traditional and challenging subject. Within this, I play and explore to make pictures that may not necessarily be understandable or logical, but with thought, experience and the senses — including humor — become universally recognizable.

Learn about past Hui No'eau Solo Artist Exhibitions:
2012 Announcement
2011 Artists
2011 Opening
2010 Announcement
2009 Announcement
2009 Artists

"Having the opportunity to create a new body of work for the Hui No'eau solo exhibition challenged me to produce a visually and conceptually strong exhibition. It was an honor to show a collection of my work in such a beautiful and accessible gallery space."
–Abigail Lee Kahilikia Romanchak (2006 Solo Artist)