Art in Hawaii – Big Island’s best talents revealed

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Flow by Christian Enns

Why do we love art so much? Art sets the mood, art inspires, art evokes emotions, art provokes thought, art brings up memories, art compels. The list goes on. Here, in Hawaii, where we are surrounded by beauty in nature, art can capture the things and places we love and help them reside in our homes as well as our hearts.

Hawaii is not only a tropical paradise for vacationers but also a paradise for a myriad of artists finding inspiration in the islands’ breathtaking beauty. Around the Big Island, artists in every media create works almost as dramatic and diverse as the island itself—from walk-into-the-scene realism to stunning volcano photography, ocean-inspired glass, exciting abstracts, fantasy, vintage graphics, native wood carvings, and so much more.

Kai Indigo painting by Christian Enns
Kai Indigo by Christian Enns

When we talk about art in a tourism-oriented community, you may think about this made-for-sale turtle and dolphin artwork that you often see in tourist shopping centers and markets. However, this is not the art we are talking about here. Instead, this blog post covers the artists with one thing in common – talent. You will be surprised how many talented and inspired artists found their creative heaven on the island and the quality of their work that even the most sophisticated art lover will appreciate.

Christian Enns

Christian is an established and well-known artist on the island, mostly recognized for his Plein-air landscapes and local neighborhood scenes. He transforms his experiences into his work by shifting and exaggerating colors, creating a visual excitement reflective of eternity–the mysteries of life and nature unfolded. However, there is a different side of Christian’s talent that not many have seen – his mesmerizing abstract and psychedelic paintings. You can find Christian’s artwork in Tiffany’s Arts Agency, at the newly-opened Gupton Gallery, in Westin Hapuna Beach Hotel, his studio, or on his website.

Infinity by Christian Enns
Infinity by Christian Enns

Mary Spears

Mary’s work has been featured in numerous shows in the state of Hawaii. Active art instructor, she teaches at the Four Seasons Hualalai as the artist-in-residence at Ke’olu. Her artwork is in private and public collections, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Chicago Lighthouse, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Fairmont Wailea, and Kaiser Permanente. She’s been a resident of Hawaii since 1989. More of her work may be seen at the Gallery of Great Things in Waimea, Tiffany’s Art Agency in Hawi, her studio in Waimea, or her website.

Koi Meditation by Mary Spears
Koi Meditation by Mary Spears

Kathy Long

Nearly everyone living in Hawaii has seen at least one of Kathy’s masterfully executed drawings reproduced in countless publications. She finds her inspiration in Hawaiian culture and, mainly, Hawaiian people.

“It’s the people who are creating the renaissance of the Hawaiian culture that truly inspire me. I hope that by documenting this moment in time, their culture and stories will live on,” says Kathy.

You can see her artwork in the Dreams of Paradise gallery in Hilo, Gallery of Great Things in Waimea, Volcano Art Center, or on her website.

Halau Sisters by Kathy Long
Halau Sisters by Kathy Long

Patrick Louis Rankin

This is the name you may not have heard before, but worth mentioning here. Not so widely known, yet established and talented painter, Patrick works strictly in oil and watercolor, but the subject matter varies. His subjects range from still life to people and landscape.

These days Patrick works on larger scale paintings in abstract expressionism using a palette knife and rags and whatever tool is lying around to create a certain feeling. His chosen style or process is open until he begins to construct a painting. Every painting is a challenge, trying to solve a puzzle and magic when it is solved.

He and his wife opened their own gallery in North Kohala, allowing him to show his different talents and have access to his clients, which are growing in number.

You can learn more about the artist and his work on his website or visit his gallery in Kapaau.

The Shape of Things by Patrick Louis Rankin
The Shape of Things by Patrick Louis Rankin

Amy Markham

In our view, Amy is a largely unknown but very talented Big Island artist. Her style varies from abstraction and Cubism to Plein air and figurative art. Here is what she says about herself in her own words:
“As a child, my grandfather patiently taught me basic perspective, composition, and figure drawing. At school, I was introduced to traditional styles, applications, disciplines, and art history. I enrolled in Oriental Brushwork at Kauai Community College, later completing my studies at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, earning dual Bachelor of Art degrees (Fine Art, & Cultural Anthropology, Asia-Pacifica studies)). Abstraction & Cubism are painting expressions where I explore movement, depth, atmosphere. Another important style for me is en Plein Aire… It attempts to capture the elusive light & nuances of outdoor subjects. Lively, economical brushwork executed ala prima makes this style unexpectedly challenging and fascinating. I also work figuratively, drawing and painting from live models.”

You can see Amy’s artwork in her profile here.

Maiden Voyage by Amy Markham
Maiden Voyage by Amy Markham

These are just a few artists from the ocean of Big Island’s talent, but there are so many more whose work you can see in local galleries and exhibits in fine hotels and resorts. Unfortunately, many galleries had to close their doors during the pandemic or move entirely online, but here are a few worth visiting if you are looking for quality art or artifacts.

Tiffany’sTiffany’s Art Agency
Hawi, Big Island – by appointment or online

Harbor Gallery
Kawaihae Shopping Center, Kawaihae, Big Island

Genesis Gallery Hawaii
Queens’ Marketplace and Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort, Big Island

Lava Light Galleries
Queens’ Marketplace at Waikoloa Beach Resort, Big Island

Firehouse Gallery by Waimea Arts Council
Waimea, Big Island

Energy of the Ocean by Christian Enns
Energy of the Ocean by Christian Enns

Who are your favorite artists or art galleries on the Big Island? Let us know in the comments.

Save on your Hawaii vacation rental

Remember, you can always save 10% on your vacation rental when you book direct with us and mention “Aloha escape” in your reservation.

We hope to see you soon – a hui hou!


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