Anyone looking to start or expand an art collection can book a flight to New York or Tokyo and buy something beautiful. But what if you’d rather spend that money supporting local artists whose work will resonate more with your Island lifestyle? On the following pages
is a round-up of some of Hawaii’s most bankable contemporary artists, whose work will grace your walls without breaking your budget. Everyone on this list sells museum-quality artwork starting well under $2,500.
By Andrew Rose
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Disco Ball, 2006. Screen-print with crushed glass, edition of 14, 11" x 11", $500.
BORN: Casper, Wyo. LIVES: Kaimuki. CURRENTLY: Outreach programs coordinator, Honolulu Academy of Arts; board member, Honolulu Printmakers; founder, A.V. Club of Honolulu. Prints, ceramics and “the unusual” available between $100 and $2,000. www.vincehazen.com
Imagine a Willie Wonka for whom everything is an idea for art, humor is essential, and, paradoxically, the ultimate object is only uniquely original if it can be mass produced. Then picture a colorful cottage with a truly unruly orchid collection, and you can envision yourself in the wonderful world of Vince Hazen. It’s a place where creepy-crawly creatures are included in prints as either ingredients or collaborators and images of disco balls and water fountains are highlighted with crushed glass and metal. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp and influenced by Walter Benjamin, Hazen says: “Striving never to repeat myself, I create primary objects through mechanical reproduction.”
BORN: Milwaukee, Wisc. LIVES: Kailua CURRENTLY: Ocean Watch columnist for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “Beach junk,” she says, is available for “whatever you think it’s worth.” www.susanscott.net
Susan Scott has walked the beaches of countless islands as well as nearly every continent (including Antarctica) and she’s found a lot of waste amid the beauty. “Seeing albatrosses feed plastic cigarette lighters to their chicks is just one example of our often bizarre relationship to marine wildlife that has inspired me to recycle mankind’s castoffs into environmentally conscious artworks,” she says. These artworks, making their debut here, are the result of years of effort shaped by the action of the sea and the free spirit of a creative soul.
Lighter Buoy, 2006 mixed media, approx. 20" x 10" x 6", $250.
BORN: Honolulu LIVES: Makiki CURRENTLY: chief preparator, The Contemporary Museum. Otherworldly artworks of plaster, bronze, stone and wood, available through Fine Art Associates, Honolulu, from $35 to $12,000.
Spirit Tree, 2007 cast resin, $2,400.
John Koga may be Hawaii’s most well-known living Modernist. He also might be the only local artist you can commission to create a one-of-a-kind object and then provide it with museum-quality installation. His whimsical sculptures are thoughtful extensions of the experimental modes within 20th-century sculptural abstraction established by Noguchi and Moore, while also being vaguely intergalactic; some of Koga’s pieces feel like objects George Lucas might include in the next installment of Star Wars.
It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.