6 Local Artists You Should Seek Out on the Big Island
The major resorts and tourist towns of Kailua-Kona and Waikoloa Village are bursting with incredible Hawaiian artwork.
With so much talent on the island, the only problem is knowing where to start, there’s just so much to see and experience! Throughout the Big Island, you’ll find neighborhood galleries, large displays on public property, and private commissions for restaurants, bars, and hotels, but if you want to make your Big Island art adventure truly memorable, look out for works by these fine Big Island artists:
Tai Lake – Master Woodworker
A master woodworker whose work has been enjoyed by world leaders and even the Dali Lama, Tai Lake is among the most prolific and singularly talented woodworkers on the planet, let alone the Big Island. Using hundreds of tools with a focus on hand implements, the intent and balance he employs comes through in every piece. His work can be found throughout the Big Island’s gallery scene, so keep an eye out for the remarkable woodworked furniture as you make your way between the many excellent galleries on the island.
Harry Wishard – Realistic Landscape Painter
A Hawaiian native who grew up surrounded and influenced by the beauty of the islands, the realism and level of detail present in his work seems to jump off the canvas. Gorgeous landscapes, staggering evergreen cliffs, aquamarine waters, and snow-capped volcanic mountaintops are just a few of his many natural subjects, Wishard has his own gallery in the small mountain town of Hawi that hosts his own work and several other Big Island artists.
Henry Bianchini – Sculptor
A California native who literally sailed to Hawaii during his move in 1969, Bianchini quickly distinguished himself a master artist, working commonly with bronze, concrete, wood and steel on his way to sculpting some of the most iconic modern pieces present on the Big Island. Found throughout Hawaii in public and private settings, Bianchini’s work has been celebrated by Hawaiian locals and visitors for more than 50 years.
John D Dawson – Wildlife Artist
One of the most sought after artists on the Big Island, John D. Dawson’s work has been commissioned by the United Nations, The U.S. Postal Service, the National Wildlife Federation, and dozens of other internationally-recognized clientele. His focus on wildlife and the natural elements translate perfectly to his preferred medium, with original works adding texture and life-like viscera to every piece.
Gary Eoff – Cultural Artifacts
A painter and craftsman, Gary Eoff’s works on recreating ancient Hawaiian artifacts is a remarkable experience to see up close. Using the same materials and processes, his level of quality and craftsmanship is unmatched throughout the Big Island. His work on traditional decorative ipu is featured at the Ipu Kane Gallery in Hawi, offering a unique look at historical recreations of ancient cultural artifacts.
David Kuraoka – Ceramic Artist
A Hawaiian native known as one of the world’s most prolific ceramic artists, David Kuraoka splits time between Hawaii and San Francisco, where his art is displayed in public settings throughout both regions. Using large ceramic pieces, he alters their form by adding clay by hand, mixing in other materials, then firing them in an open flame pit.