I’ve worked in many different mediums, regardless of method, spacial relationships and abstraction have always interested me most. For four years, I studied and completed my MFA at the New York Studio School for Drawing, Painting and Sculpture where there was an emphasis on working from life (drawing and painting the figure and still life).
At NYSS, I discovered the intrinsic connection between figuration and abstraction, so I consider even my abstract works representational because I always use something real to reference as I’m working—a collage, an arrangement of objects, a painting or scene that strikes me.
When I moved back to Hawaii in 2011, I founded an international artist residency that took place in the Kaka’ako neighborhood called Present Project.
What was your inspiration for this piece and what message are you hoping it sends.
Tamara sent me some images of Yves Saint Laurent’s Love Cards, which Courtney had exposed her to after a trip to Laurent's garden in Morrocco. Every year from 1970 to 2000 Saint Laurent would design a new card to welcome the new year and celebrate love.
A couple cards stood out from the collection, one with a simple hand drawn bird from 1976 and another from 1981 that had a bold graphic quality with love collaged on top of colored shapes in subtle variations of the primary palette. I immediately thought of Henri Matisse’s paper cutout technique based on the use of color, shape and silhouette.
In 1941, Matisse began a series of large works by cutting paper into shapes that he would then arrange for large collages. This process continued to evolve over the last years of his life to include designs for tapestries, stained-glass windows, decorative tiles, posters, and magazine covers.
After looking through images of his cutouts I decided to use a color palette based on our favorite Love Card from ’81 by Saint Laurent to create a series of cutouts based on plants we know and love at Paiko. Adding basic geometric shapes that spelled LOVE created another layer to the materials and connected back to what was inspiring us this season and highlighted the message of the piece.