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Rising Artists in Hawaii

There’s more to Hawaii’s contemporary art than ocean scenes and hula dancers. Check out these eight delectably collectible artists whose careers are gathering speed.


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Jaisy Hanlon

“Animal Vegetable, Mineral 2” Media: Watercolor, Copper, Enamel on paper

photos: courtesy jaisy hanlon

Artists often find their influences in other art. Painter and metalworker Jaisy Hanlon, one of five artists selected by the Honolulu Museum of Art for this year’s Biennial X, has a different creative wellspring. Though she studied traditional arts in college, Hanlon turned to scientific illustration and to the craft of metalsmithing, in which she has a master’s degree, to find her subject matter and her medium.

Hanlon’s artistic signature comes from the European tradition of silhouette portraiture. Instead of paper, Hanlon uses metal, and instead of people, she cuts out silhouettes of birds, animals and insects. Hovering a quarter of an inch over painted natural backgrounds, Hanlon’s silhouettes ride the boundary between 2-D and 3-D art: “I think of it as drawing with metal.”

Biennial X challenged her to fill a room, so Hanlon thought bigger, using video, silhouette and reflection to pull viewers into “Enlighten,” an installation about the degradation of Hawaii’s natural environment. With the Biennial behind her, Hanlon hopes to scale up even more: “Everywhere I go, I see a building and think, ‘I want to put a silhouette on that!’” Prices start at $800. jaisyhanlon.com.


photos: courtesy jaime allen

Jaime Allen

“Gather” Media: Mixed media; “In Between” Media: Mixed media

When Jamie Allen moved to Hawaii from the East Coast in 2010, with an MFA and a prestigious residency at the Vermont Studio Center under her belt, Lauren Faulkner of Fine Art Associates took one look at her portfolio and recognized that a fresh voice had arrived. “Her work is so exuberant,” says Faulkner. It’s also a new way of representing Hawaii. “Jamie uses a lot of local foliage and flowers, but she presents it in such a contemporary way,” she says.

Using a host of media, ranging from traditional watercolors and acrylics to house paint, resin, shellac and nail polish, Allen gathers objects and ideas from her daily life and creates lush, vibrant plantscapes that feel both familiar and otherworldly. “I take things from the real world, and I make my own landscape, my own little environment,” says Allen. “It’s about a sense of place, but also a place where I want to be.”

Allen’s work speaks to buyers, who have snapped it up as fast as Faulkner can show it. Recently, Allen has begun to receive corporate commissions from places like Whole Foods Market. Prices for larger works start at $2,400. jamierallen.com.

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Honolulu Magazine February 2020
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