Early next month, Maui’s art lovers will get a chance to mingle with well-known artists and other aficionados at Lahaina Galleries’ 16th annual Art of Aloha. This event brings artists from all over the world together, and this year will feature nine artists of various medium and subjects. Drinks and light pupus will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.
“It’s a popular event,” says Brian Connelly, a Senior Art Consultant at the gallery. “People fly here to be a part of it. It’ll be fun–we’ll likely be doing a little wine and champagne.”
The artists represent a diverse group from around the world, and will include well-known names like painter Guy Buffet alongside sculptor Steve Turnbull and conservationist Robert Lyn Nelson. “We’ll be featuring their works, and we’ll have an area upstairs we call the loft that people can mingle in,” says Connelly. “It’s a good idea to RSVP ahead of time as it can get pretty crowded.”
The event is an opportunity to meet and greet with the artists, all of whom have fascinating backgrounds and influences and produce art that’s collected worldwide. One such artist is Steve Matson, who worked in special effects on films like 300 and won an Oscar for his work on Life of Pi. He now creates moving paintings, which will be on display at Lahaina Galleries during the event. His nature and abstract collections use audio and moving visuals to create an “immersive visual experience” that’s unique and strangely addictive. In “Another Day in Paradise,” aqua waves crash into a bay under a shifting sunset with the silhouette of a mountain behind and rain falling in the foreground.
Brazilian and Maui resident Ronaldo Macedo, who paints Hawaiian sea and landscapes and whose talented surfer children are both headed to the 2018 WSL World Junior Championships, will also be there. So will Steve Turnbull, a sculptor who works in free-flowing wood and bronze sculptures. You’ve probably noticed his wood giraffe if you’ve driven through Kahakuloa.
Michael Talbot, who creates figurative bronze sculptures, is coming all the way from London. “He’s ridiculously talented,” says Connelly. Caroline Zimmermann, of Italy and California, is a colorist and impressionist painter. She’ll be the only woman in the lineup with her tropical landscapes and Tuscan vineyards.
Despite the fact that these artist and their pedigrees sound a little intimidating, Connolly encourages Maui residents to come to the event. “We’re a family-friendly gallery–we’re not snooty!” says Connolly. “Bring the kids! Some people come in and are intimidated to ask questions, or don’t know the art is available for purchase.”
Art doesn’t have to be stuffy or just for tourists. Take Roy Tabora, who will also be at the event, and whose magic romantic realism paintings ignited my teenaged imagination. As a kid, anytime I made the trek across the island to Lahaina, I made sure to slip into the gallery to stare at his Hawaiian seascapes. Looking at his art is like looking into a really good dream. His moonlit waves cresting over lava rocks, valleys sparkling with rainbows and sunsets glowing through perfect barreling waves are the stuff of nature-lovers’ dreams. His paintings have an inner glow, inspiring island-lover fantasies of empty beaches.
After taking it all in, the gallery employees politely tolerating my sandy slipper-clad feet, I’d stumble back out into the heat of the Lahaina sun, dreaming of empty, barreling waves at dawn.
“He’s a good artist, a good father, a good citizen,” Connelly says. He describes Tabora’s patience with ridiculous questions from lay people and his willingness to share the specifics of his technique and products. “He’s into teaching and sharing,” he says.
736 Front St., Lahaina
Photos courtesy Lahaina Galleries