For artist Eddie Flotte, the people and places of the Valley Isle provide an endless source of inspiration. It's the epiphany in everyday that warrants his attention. And he captures the essence of what may be mundane to outsiders but magnificent to locals with his masterful watercolor works.
Flotte's watercolor paintings will be celebrated during an exhibition of his work "Dreams of an Upcountry Renaissance Man" at Village Galleries in Lahaina, which will open with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Live music by Eddie and The Promises will be featured. The show continues through May 5.
Maui people like Raymond Freitas, Mrs. Horiuchi, Johnny Pacheco, Blondie Freitas and others appear in his works, forever captured via watercolor to evoke a sense of discovery, respect and wonder. Maui places like Kitadas, Toma's Garage, St. Joseph's Church and Maui Child also appear in many pieces, the settings taking on personalities of their own, which can be appreciated by locals, visitors and strangers alike.
“Dreams of an Upcountry Renaissance Man,” watercolor by Eddie Flotte, 17” x 23.5”
Flotte was living in Philadelphia and working as a commercial illlustrator when he had a spark of inspiration that would lead to fine art painting.
"Early one morning in '83, I was sitting on the steps of my apartment, in Philadelphia, waiting for a client. I'd been awake all night finishing his record cover. I was still in a charged up, creative state of mind. Suddenly, I realized, I'd just drawn the old grocery store across the street, in my mind. . . . I ran inside, got materials and quickly did the drawing and then the painting. Before my client arrived I had finished the grocery store and the house beside it. It was at that moment I began the work I do today. I painted the characters and features of my neighborhood with joy and inspiration."
The artist's paintings are sparked from time spent in Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, during travels around the U.S. and Europe - and, of course, from his myriad of discoveries on Maui.
"I arrived on Maui in 1985 and felt quickly at home in the town of Paia," Flotte says on his website. "I saw in it an endless source of inspiration. What exactly that inspiration is, can be seen in all of my paintings. It is a reflection of who I am. In other words, every painting is in a way a self portrait."
For a tour of some of Maui's most beloved people, places and ideas, visit Flotte's online gallery, www.eddieflotte.com. Village Galleries is located at 120 Dickenson St., Lahaina. For details, 661-4402, www.villagegalleriesmaui.com.
Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center will unveil the annual King Kekaulike High School Student Arts Integrated Showcase with an event at 7 p.m. Friday that's free and open to the public. Featuring dramatic and musical performances, creative writing and a gallery exhibit of original student-made visual art in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and fashion design, this collaboration by the KKHS Fine Arts Department and the Hui is a celebration of artistic inspiration.
"Public schools are facing very tough economic challenges right now, with the arts under serious budgetary scrutiny as Congress considers how best to develop reading, writing and arithmetic," said KKHS Principal Susan Scofield. "Art is what makes life interesting and worthwhile - it grabs a student's interest and engages them in a new way that other subjects may not. It is too great a sacrifice, and one we need to come together to voice our support of as a community."
NaPua Gallery presents "Mysteries in Color" with featured artists Roxanne Broadbent, Linda Whittmore and Sandra Clark during a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Grand Wailea gallery, 3850 Wailea Alanui. Valet parking is complimentary. For details, 874-0510.
An exhibit of works by University of Hawaii Maui College art students will be on display at the college library from Monday through May 4. The public is invited attend the opening reception from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the UHMC library. All the works were created during the current school year in painting, drawing, design, sculpture, ceramics and digital media classes taught by faculty members Connie Adams, Patricia Inman, Zenobia Lakdawalla, Jennifer Owen, Harvey Reed, Michael Takemoto and Renee Wilcox. The exhibit is open for viewing during library hours Monday through Friday.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center will begin the jurying process for the Schaefer Portrait Challenge 2012 in September and October. This statewide juried triennial art exhibition, scheduled for public view in January 2012, will feature artists whose work best captures Hawaii's extraordinary portrait subjects. The "Call to Artists" prospectus and application are available on the MACC's website, MauiArts.org, under Exhibits.