For 18th centurty Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki, beauty was found in contrast. "Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides," he wrote in an essay of Japanese aesthetics called "In Praise of Shadows."
Similarly, silhouette artist Karl Johnson, whose work hangs in the homes of Hollywood stars, captures the allure of an object by examining its shadow, and the contrast between positive and negative space. Johnson, who's hailed as America's premier silhouette artist, will appear Sunday at Cute & Cuddly Baby Boutique at Maui Mall. He will create portrait silhouettes, starting at $25, by appointment.
The artist works with a pair of surgical scissors; it takes him about a minute and a half to create a traditional portrait silhouette. Using photos as a guide, Johnson also does large-scale, full-body pieces that depict people in activities such as dancing or playing sports.
Karl Johnson created a silhouette portrait of Samantha Bryant during her wedding to Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks’ son, in May.
Lauren Johnson photo
Johnson was born with vision only in his left eye. As a result, the artist evaluates the distance and shape of an object by examining its shadow, and captures its silhouette in an uncanny way.
Johnson learned the skill from his father at a young age; since age 10, the artist, who's now in his 40s, estimates that he's cut thousands of silhouette images, including pieces for Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Hilary Duff, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Drew Barrymore and many others. Most recently, Johnson created silhouettes for the guests at Reese Witherspoon's wedding.
The artist operates his studio and resides with wife Lauren and son Cooper in Southern California.
For more information or to make an appointment, call Cute & Cuddly at 893-0025. For details on Johnson, visit cutarts.com.
"The Wailea Mermaid with 110 Baby Turtles," a sculpture by Maui artist Dale Zarrella, will be unveiled in the lobby of the Grand Wailea at 6 p.m. Friday. A public reception will follow at Grand Wailea's Napua Gallery. The piece, which took more than 2 years to complete, was created from a single piece of rainshower (monkeypod) tree and is the third of the Wailea Mermaid Series. For more information, call Napua Gallery at 874-0510.
Maui Crafts Guild will feature work by Upcountry ceramic artist Jeff Johnson, beginning with a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Paia gallery, located at 69 Hana Highway. Meet the artist, listen to live music and enjoy free refreshments.
Working with clay for more than 20 years, Johnson creates both functional and decorative high-fire ceramics. The artist said he is drawn to clay for its endless possibilities as a creative medium. "I am influenced by both historical and contemporary ceramics and art,"?he said. "I am also captivated by technique, the technical details of formulating clay and glazes, and the aesthetic of the finished work."
The show continues through Aug. 11 during gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For details, call 579-9697 or visit www.mauicraftsguild.com.
Don't miss the buzz of arts and activity during Family Day:?A Community Celebration of the Arts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao. The free annual event coincides with the Youth Art Exhibition opening and will offer hands-on workshops, live entertainment by Damien Awai of An Den, kite flying, face painting, a silly scavenger hunt, arts vendors and more. The youth art show features pieces from more than 200 young artists participating in summer programming at the Hui; it continues through Aug. 13 at the Hui gallery. For details, visit www.huinoeau.com.
In preparation for the Hui's September 2011 artist residency with world-renowned "Stickwork" sculptor Patrick Dougherty, the center is planning a range of opportunities to get involved with workshops, panel discussions, special events, field trips, artist talks and more. The nonprofit is seeking pledges for the community projects by donating $25 or more at www.kickstarter.com/projects/hui/hoololi-the-environmental-art-garden. The deadline to pledge is 3 p.m. Monday.
Lahaina Town Action Committee and Lahaina Arts Society is presenting its 23rd annual Poster Contest, which offers a grand prize of $2,500. The winning art becomes the limited edition official Lahaina poster for the next year.
In addition to the $2,500 first prize, there are cash prizes for the Lahaina Arts Society Award, Most Promising Artist, People's Choice and Honorable Mention. The competition is open to all artists. The artwork must be original and unpublished with the image being a recognizable scene of Lahaina. Past winners include Carleton Kinkade, George Allen, Stephen Burr, Jim Kingwell, Ronaldo Macedo, C.S. Perry, John Cosby and Michael Krahn.
All Maui entries must be delivered to the Maui Visitor Center on the first floor of the Old Lahaina Courthouse by Friday, Sept. 2, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There is a nonrefundable entry fee of $30. For other requirements, visit www.visitlahaina.com or call 667-9175.