9 Hawaii Artists to Collect

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.


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BORN: Seattle LIVES: Kaimuki CURRENTLY: Instructor of watercolor at the Honolulu Academy Art Center. Watercolors available from $95 to $5,000 at The Gallery at Ward Centre; Fine Art Associates, Honolulu; Cedar Street Galleries; and the Kirsten Gallery, Seattle.  http://www.gwcfineart.com/ga_whitlock.html

SE, Manoa Road, morning, 2007
watercolor, $750.

Roger Whitlock’s watercolors—you may have seen them at Queen’s Hospital, the Halekulani, HECO and Chef Mavro—are disarmingly gorgeous. Watercolor is considered by artists worldwide the most unforgiving medium because of its immediacy; Whitlock takes this challenge and, through quick brushstrokes, makes easy work of it by his virtuoso blending of foreground and background, information and materials. Like the master chef who reinvents steak or potatoes, he mixes up something fresh and ethereal while using old standards like rain on a street or sun across a vineyard. “It’s all about the light,” he says, “about the way it can make you see any subject, even the most mundane, in a new way.”


BORN: Puunui, Oahu LIVES: Kalihi CURRENTLY: Community education coordinator of Hooulu Aina, a land-based health program of Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Health Center. Mixed-media installations and paintings from $250 to $2,000.  Contact her at puni@kkv.net.

Calrice #2 - Puanani, 2007
24" x 24", acrylic on rice bag

Puni Kukahiko aspires “to grow toward truth and light, evolve toward patience and love, and walk with the knowledge and consciousness that my steps make a path for the ones who follow.” Her art incorporates historical Hawaiian iconography while addressing complicated questions, including what it means to be a dreamy Hawaiian storyteller in the age of globalization. Kukahiko’s work, along with that of others from the second generation of the Hawaiian Renaissance, has begun to be recognized internationally as the artistic component of a cultural revolution. As a result, her art will be exhibited at the United Nations in 2008.



BORN: Schenectady, N.Y.; LIVES:  Kaneohe. CURRENTLY: Professor emeritus of art at Kapiolani Community College. Paintings from $500 to $2,500 available at Cedar Street Galleries, Honolulu; Balcony Gallery, Kailua; Art Treasures Gallery, Honolulu; and FCID Gallery, Honolulu.  Contact her at noreennaughton@hawaii.rr.com

Haleiwa II, 2007.  9" x 18", oil on linen, $750.
Noreen Naughton’s stunning cathedral studio laboratory is pure white and nestled up against the Koolau mountains, giving her views from Kualoa to Kailua. Her recent works are inspired by Renaissance, Impressionist and Modern masters including Piero della Francesca, Corot and Hoffman. “My orchestrated palette gives me the freedom to go beyond myself,” she says. As a concert cellist and daughter of a scientist, Naughton speaks freely of the process of preparation but is reserved about discussing her artwork, letting the images speak for themselves. They are tightly composed explorations of color and line that playfully belie their classical rigor. Her work is in collections of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.      

Andrew Rose is an artist who lives in Honolulu.  www.andrewrose.org
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Honolulu Magazine April 2017
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