We’re very sad to report that Guy Junker, a great artist, martial arts instructor and wonderful person, has passed away. He was in a bad accident early Saturday morning while riding his electric bike near his Emerald Plaza studio in Lahaina and suffered serious head injuries, his close friend Rosa Sosa told us.
“He’ll be on a ventilator till Tuesday when they recover his organs for donation,” she said via Facebook message today. “He was confirmed deceased yesterday [Oct. 18] at 4:04pm.”
Junker was born on June 7, 1972 in Arkansas City, Kansas. After spending much of his formative years in California, Junker visited Maui in 1994, and moved here soon after. He designed for Crazy Shirts art his art has appeared in American Legion Magazine, Hawaii Race Magazine, the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Maui No Ka Oi and, of course, MauiTime.
For MauiTime readers, the red-shirted guy in the Eh Brah! logo that runs every week in our print edition is probably Junker’s best known art (he also drew our old LC Watch logo as well). But his art included much more than a goofy little cartoon.
“Guy Junker is a Maui artist who is know for his innovative panel paintings which are a delicate balance of painting and sculpture,” states Guyjunker.com. “Rediscovering ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs (stone carvings) is a favorite subject of exploration for Guy.”
Like all great artists, there was something mischievous about Junker. This was apparently known from his school days, as this anecdote from Junker’s official artist bio makes clear:
During his Junior year at St. Joseph High School, Guy had drawn a political cartoon depicting headmaster Sister Shelia taking away some of the students’ year book privileges. Several hundred copies were distributed throughout the school lockers and Sister Shelia asked the school’s art teacher who she though might have drawn the cartoon.
Ms. Crabtree, the art teacher said, “Oh, that Guy’s work”.
Guy was quickly rounded up and brought into Sister Shelia’s office and was prepared for the worst. Over her wire brim glasses, Sister Shelia looked down at Guy and said, “I have given considerable thought to the appropriate punishment for your recent disruptive behavior and have decided not to punish you. Although I did not like the reference to my Trash Duty and Executions book or the Nazi uniform that had drawn on me, you were making a statement without vulgarity or profanity.” Guy had dodged a bullet and this controversial cartoon was Guy’s first published work of art.
Junker also studied Muso Jikiden Eishen Ryu Iaijutstu since 1999, according to his Irontsuba.com website, which sold his Japanese and samurai art. Junker even appeared in the Oct. 8, 2009 MauiTime story “Grand Master Sekiguchi Sensei and The Legend of the Iron Knife” (Junker was a master samurai and an instructor at Maui’s Komei Juku school).
But Sosa said that Junker’s influence transcended all that. “He did so much for the community,” she said. “Last New Years he donated $1,000 to the Jodo mission the Buddhist temple in Lahaina. He’s helped so many people start their own businesses, myself included. Without him we wouldn’t have Menehune Maps, the tourist maps that advertise local businesses. He helped start a radio station, Shark Pit restaurant, the Henna Gallery. So much generosity.”
Photos of Guy Junker, flowers left at Junker’s art studio in Lahaina courtesy Rosa Sosa