Editor's Page: Two for Art

HONOLULU Magazine welcomes two new designers.

A. Kam Napier (right) interviews new design director Erik Ries (left).

PHOTO: Michael Keany

In magazines, text and art fuse into a single experience for the reader. Done right, for us, the result just somehow feels like HONOLULU. It takes hard work and creative alchemy to pull it off.

We have two new alchemists this month, to take all the articles, captions, photos and illustrations and make them sing together on the page—Erik Ries joins us as our design director, overseeing the looks of not just HONOLULU Magazine but our sister publications, Honolulu Family and Honolulu Shops; and Angelica “Angie” Rabang is our new associate art director.

We first met Oregon-born Ries—and that’s what he goes by, his last name—as an illustrator for the feature “Single in Hawaii,” October 2012 and the illustrator and designer for “The Warning Shot,” December 2012. His journey to art actually started with football. He was a strong safety for the Portland State Vikings until a knee injury put him on the sidelines. “That injury made me assess what I wanted to do,” he says. What he did was double-major in advertising management and marketing management, then went on to earn an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York. Then it was off to wide-ranging career as a designer, photographer, illustrator and more, both on staff for different design firms and a solo practitioner with his own ETC.STUDIOs, doing tons of design work in Los Angeles.

After a year in LA stretched into 12, he decided he’d had enough of the town and moved to Honolulu, inspired by a visit here for a wedding. Something about the city captured his attention; he found it surprisingly metropolitan, “more like a little Tokyo rather than big Hawaii.”

That was in December 2011. One of the things we like about Ries is his entrepreneurial streak. Almost as soon as he landed, he helped form a group called the Hawaii Association of Media Artists, to help folks around town—directors, videographers, animators and more—who weren’t otherwise represented by the existing film or graphic design professional organizations.

We’re looking forward to the changes he’ll bring to the look of the magazine, guided, as he describes it, by a sense of aspiration. “Honolulu, the city and the magazine, can be larger than it is, can be elevated, just by being itself.” One of his goals is to nurture local talent, so if you are a working, or promising, illustrator or photographer, email him. See the posting on jobs page for the contact information.

Rabang has been helping us on a temp basis for a couple of months and now has joined us full-time. Her journey to art? The graphic design program at Kapolei High School. “It saved my life,” she says. “Before it, I was a 1.9 GPA student, just surfing all the time, after it, I went to a 3.8 and got into UH.” She earned her bachelor’s of fine art in 2009. She’s the current president of AIGA Honolulu, the professional organization for graphic designers.

In interviewing Ries and Rabang for this column, I was struck by two things they had in common: Creative parents, who influenced them as children, and a love of design as a total system. Brands such as HONOLULU are like that now, with everything a customer or reader might see, be it business cards, media kits, feature spreads or covers, integrated into a unified personality.

Welcome, Ries and Angie!

And a huge thank you from all of us at HONOLULU to our former associate art director, Cody Kawamoto, who designed the past six issues or so almost single-handedly. He is now the art director for our sister publication, Hawaii Magazine. We wish him all the best.

Creatives needed! Request for portfolios! HonoluluMagazine.com/jobs


(Updated 3/1/13)