‘Art of Aloha’

Popular show returns to Lahaina Galleries

“Tutus of Waikiki” by Guy Buffet -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

For the 16th year, Lahaina Galleries opens its doors to a very special afternoon for art collectors and art lovers from noon to 4 p.m. March 4 at its Front St. location in the heart of Lahaina. Nine artists from around the world, including four current Hawaii residents, will be in gallery to introduce new works, talk story and meet admirers during this year’s “Art of Aloha.” The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments and light pupu will be available to all who attend.

Gallery founders and owners, Jim and Nancy Killett, came to Maui based on a mutual attraction to Hawaii from watching Jack Lord in “Hawaii 5-0.” The Killetts quit their jobs, cashed out their retirement money and packed up their two boys, Beau in first grade and Lee in third grade at the time, and arrived on Maui after spending a few days in Honolulu, according to Jim.

“We had no business background and were not artists,” explained Jim. “We almost bought an ice cream parlor, but it burned down days before purchasing it.”

After fate intervened, they opened the first Lahaina Galleries in the location on Lahainaluna Road currently occupied by Lahaina Grill. They sold art and seashell necklaces and later carried artwork created by Lord.

As Maui became a destination for art collectors, the Killetts had the idea to offer an opportunity for their clients, as well as the public, to meet and mingle with the artists the gallery represented as well as afford an opportunity for interested parties to purchase the art on display.

“Cortigiana” by Michael James Talbot -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

What makes “Art of Aloha” special is that each of the curated artists has created new works just for this show.

“We want different styles, and we want local and distant artists,” continued Jim. “These are well-established, highly skilled artists that are part of our regular stable of artists.”

Artists attending the 2018 show

Realist painter Alexei Butirskiy from Russia and Arizona creates compositions from his memories and impressions of his frequent travels.

“My family came to the realization of my artistic leanings when I was six years old,” relayed Butirskiy. “It came in the form of a mural I painted on our kitchen wall. Rather than scold me for my unsolicited artistic creation, my parents praised and supported me by enrolling me in the finest art-centered educational institutions in Moscow.”

“Calcite Sculpture” by Steve Turnbull -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

Butirskiy prefers the early morning and evening when it has just rained or snowed, believing those conditions provide the opportunity to create mood in his painting. He adds these elements, such as the luminosity of light reflecting off snow or water, because it affects the viewer’s impression of what they are seeing.

Former Maui resident Guy Buffet, now of France and California, creates whimsical, humorist figures, impressionistic landscapes and distinctive Hawaiiana images that are often copied, though never equaled.

Following the death of his father, his mother took him on vacation to the north of France. Taking a walk along cliffs, he spotted an artist sitting at an easel, painting on a cliff. As he stopped to watch the artist, Buffet suddenly had “visions of places all over the world, like his brain was scrambling all these images.” That was when he knew he would be an artist.

At 14, Buffet and his mother moved to the south of France, to a beautiful little fishing harbor called Sanary, which was not far from St. Tropez, according to his website bio. It was here that he discovered the Beaux Arts School of Toulon. Most teachers were professional artists of the School of Provence who used pallettes of bright colors and canvases that showed the French ideal of “joie de vivre” or love of life. This influence left a mark on his life to this day.

Buffet became known as “the wandering artist” because he cannot stay in one place very long. He receives his inspiration by actually going to a place before executing his paintings. With a career that has spanned over 60 years, his style has evolved many times.

Still from “Jellyfish” moving picture by Steve Matson -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

“The best times of (my) life were on Maui,” offered Buffet.

Impressionist Ronaldo Macedo from Brazil, and since 1989 Maui, paints masterful Hawaiian landscapes and seascapes that are much sought after.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Macedo says his parents recognized his artistic talents as early as at six or seven years of age. He could draw anything he looked at, and so was encouraged by parents, friends and teachers. He studied and received a college degree in graphic design and illustration.

“I didn’t choose to be an artist,” said Macedo. “It’s what I did and who I was at an early age. It chose me.”

Macedo loves to be outdoors — whether playing in the ocean or painting, it is his main inspiration. He’s learned to combine his lifestyle with painting.

“Lahaina Town Cafe” by Ronaldo Macedo -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

“If I can go to a favorite beach, spearfish or surf, and afterwards to a painting, that’s pretty special,” he continued.

Macedo is working on completing a special project for “Art of Aloha.” He uses one of his family’s used surfboards as his canvas and paints on it, giving a second life to something with memories for him that would otherwise be tossed away.

“My kids, my family, this island and the Hawaiian Islands inspire me,” concluded Macedo. “The ocean is our life, and I am always inspired living by the sea.”

Oahu-born and raised, now California resident and Oscar-winner Steve Matson has created a completely new art form, “moving paintings,” as a result of a life-long dream finally realized due to advances in technology.

Matson was always good at drawing and painting, so his mother, who was an accomplished artist herself, supported his passion and enrolled him in art classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. After graduating from high school, he found a job as an airbrush artist.

“Undersea Impressionist” by Robert Lyn Nelson -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

Moving to Los Angeles as a young man, he found work as an illustrator and painter. In 1986, Matson discovered the first computer designed for the artist, the Quantel Paintbox. Understanding the creative power of its technology, he embarked on a career in film and television that has spanned over 25 years and has included winning an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2013 for his work on “The Life of Pi.” Matson also worked on the One World Trade Center elevators experience: “A Timelapse of New York Over the Centuries.”

For “Art of Aloha,” Matson will be showcasing his unique “moving paintings” in which he fuses art and motion. Starting with sketches, the piece moves to a painting on canvas. He then brings the paintings into his computer where he manipulates, animates and combines other naturally occurring moving imagery for an experience never before seen. One “painting” takes between six months to a year to complete.

“I have been dreaming and planning to do moving paintings for the last 30 years,” explained Matson. “My inspiration was to bring movement to fine art, which has been predominately static since the beginning of time.

“The art world is an amazing, evolving expression of humanity that never ceases to amaze me.”

Modern marine artist, abstract painter and conservationist Robert Lyn Nelson whose original “Two Worlds” painting in 1979 gave people a new way of seeing the world.

“I was drawing since the age of two and always knew I was going to be an artist,” offered Nelson. “Every minute of my life, I’m working, thinking and processing ways to create new works.”

With the unveiling of “Two Worlds,” a new genre of art known as Modern Marine Art was created. Nelson’s work has played a significant role in marine conservation world-wide, and due to his talents and generosity many non-profit conservations groups have benefited.

“When I moved to Hawaii in the early ’70s, I studied Hawaiiana and the history of whaling,” explained Nelson. “I was out surfing with some friends, and while waiting for a set, a whale swam up to us and I saw his eye. I thought, ‘What an amazing subject,’ and started painting whales and other sea life underwater.

“It wasn’t until a couple of years later, in 1979, that I added the land as a way to connect people who didn’t dive with the experience of what I was seeing underwater.”

As popular as his marine art is, Nelson would not be the artist worthy of his reputation if he was stagnate and never evolved. Inspiration came to him in the form of his love of The Beatles and his interest in the works of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. Deciding his next venture would be a tribute to a band that changed the world, he chose The Beatles, and especially John Lennon and his surrealistic songs. This new series reflects Nelson’s interpretation of the music he loves.

From the North Shore of Oahu, romantic realist Roy Tabora infuses his Hawaiian seascapes with an inner glow and dream-like quality that captures the eye.

“I don’t remember a moment of realization that I was an artist,” explained Tabora. “What I did realize, early in my childhood, was that I was fascinated with the idea of creating art, and that there wasn’t anything I would rather do . . . even though I actually wasn’t very good at it at all when I first got started.”

Born into a family of painters, a loving uncle took young Tabora under his wing and trained him as a studio apprentice where he spent his days sweeping floors, cleaning paint brushes and preparing painting materials as he received expert training in the traditional techniques of the old masters. He continued to pursue a formal education in fine art from Washington State University before transferring to University of Hawaii where he earned his degree.

It wasn’t long before he was “discovered” by Hawaii’s leading art galleries.

“Something about the energy of (Hawaii) made me want to be here,” surmised Tabora. “I believed it was going to feed my creativity. I really didn’t know much about the place. I just knew I had to be here.”

As a professional artist for 36 years, Tabora continues to find inspiration from his chosen home.

“The creative juices have kept on flowing, and my love for my island paradise home has only gotten deeper.”

Sculptor Michael James Talbot, who lives and works in the remote landscape of Derbyshire’s Peak District in England, creates figurative bronzes that appear to be in mid-motion.

“From the age of ten I knew I wanted to be an artist, which was a bold ambition for my background,” explained Talbot. “I came to sculpture as a young, difficult student who was only interested in drawing from life, and ceramics gave me an understanding of what clay would do — how it could be pushed and caressed to hold a particular form, be it a vessel or a hand.”

This single-mindedness, evidenced in his schooling and graduate-degree pursuits, which gained him a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Arts in London for post-graduate study, further led Talbot to study at The Sir Henry Doulton Sculpture School. Elected a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1997, Talbot was also elected to the U.S. National Sculpture Society in 2012.

Talbot’s inspiration has always been the human form and how to capture a particular moment. It is this, together with his exquisite skills, that makes his work so individual, intricate and beautiful.

Talbot believes the wonder and fascination of sculpture is in its ability to be a solid form that can be seen, touched and walked around, yet remain an object of pure spirit.

Maui resident Steve Turnbull is known for his free-flowing wood, stone and bronze sculptures that adorn public and private collections the world over.

“I made a clay sculpture of a snowman when I was in kindergarten. That was the beginning of my career,” offered Turnbull. “My mom still has it.”

Turnbull sold his first sculpture at the age of 19, which changed his course in life and assured him he should pursue his dream of being an artist. After completing his bachelor’s in fine arts at University of Washington in Seattle, Turnbull moved to Maui in the early ’80s to continue his education under the tutelage of his uncle, Master Sculptor Bruce Turnbull.

One of his favorite past times when visiting family in the Northwest is collecting driftwood from the Seattle coastlines to create into interesting sculptures, according to his website. The island of Maui, with its rare exotic hardwoods, was a perfect find for Steve to sculpt his fluid sensual lines into the wood.

“My materials tell me what to do, whether it’s a gnarly old piece of twisted wood or a natural shaped boulder. It never gets old. I’m always inspired,” continued Turnbull. “I can’t wait to rough out my next piece. There’s always a surprise somewhere in the process.”

Impressionist Caroline Zimmermann, California-born and bred, part-time Italy resident, imbues her tropical seascapes and Tuscan vineyards with light as color explodes from her canvases.

This active woman’s passion for travel — whether searching for that perfect snow powder, the perfect wave or the perfect light to paint — has led her all over the world. Hawaii has been a frequent destination, while considerable time spent in Europe has given great diversity to her work — the pace of daily life in Europe is different and allows for the gathering of new inspirations.

Nurtured by creative parents, Zimmermann began painting in oils at the age of six, attracted even then to the rich, sensuous quality of oil paints. Zimmerman believes oils allow for an immediacy of bold, creamy colors as well as delicate, transparent layers.

“My creations are more than just capturing a moment in time or a certain quality of light,” explained Zimmerman. “Light and shadow are ever present. Much as in life, one can’t have one without the other.

“Forty-eight years later, I am still painting in oils and never tire of the process. Rather than an activity that has become second nature to me, perhaps I should say it is my first nature.

“I am a painter. It is not only what I do, it is what I am,” she declared.

Lahaina Galleries “Art of Aloha” provides a perfect opportunity to view a variety of artistic styles, as well as offers attendees a chance to talk to the artists who have successfully mastered doing what they love for a profession.

“We love opening the doors to the public and sharing these incredible artists with the public for one incredible day,” enthused Director of Social Media & Assistant Marketing Beau Killett.

Lahaina Galleries is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information about “Art of Aloha” or the gallery, call 856-3080 or visit www.lahainagalleries.com.

* Catherine Kenar can be reached at ckenar@mauinews.com.

“Out of the Blue” by Roy Tabora -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

Nancy (left) and Jim Killett, Lahaina Galleries founders/owners, celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. -- BEAU KILLETT photo

“Maui Reef Sunset” by Caroline Zimmermann -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries

“Heartbeat of the City” by Alexei Butirskiy who are participating in “Art of Aloha” at Lahaina Galleries -- Photo courtesy Lahaina Galleries