Hadley Nunes' Valentine's Installation

We really can't give our amazing Paiko team enough credit. By day, they may be helping you pot those succulents and bundle your bouquets, but after hours is when the true talent comes out. Meet Hadley Nunes, our Visual and Floral Coordinator and creator of the beautiful Valentine's installation suspended over our main table.

Tell us a little about you and your background as an artist.

I’m a visual artist with a background in dance and performance working at Lana Lane Studios. I spent my twenties in New York after I graduated from Smith College with a degree in studio art. During undergrad, I spent a year at the San Francisco Art Institute in the painting department.

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.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process of putting it together? The materials, the process,etc.

I built a model using odds and ends I had on hand in my studio. Once I figured out I could spell love in shapes it made sense to have that statement suspended within the plant cutouts. The manu-o-Kū, also known at white fairy tern, felt like a natural addition to the sea of Paiko paper mascots.

Each paper element in the mobile started as a drawing from life that was then cut out. I used the cutting as another opportunity to simplify and carve out the form. Once I had the shape right, I made a tracing of it on the paper from our palette for the final piece.

I painted small strips of wood and put them together to create the geometric shapes, then made a drawing of a banana leaf, transferred the drawing to a wood panel, used a dremel to cut out the shape and added a couple layers of almost white paint.

What do you want Valentines 2017 to be all about?

Falling in love. It doesn’t have to be romantic (although that’s great too), it could be falling in love with a staghorn fern or a cup of coffee. It could could be a conversation, yourself, the moment—anything.


Photos and Interview by Kenna Reed