Hawaii is a place filled with natural beauty, which means it draws the eyes of many talented artists. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of talented Hawaii artists – from those who create their pieces from sea treasures to others who only use paint and a canvas. While there are so many more amazing Hawaii artists, this list of 23 is meant to spark your curiosity into this creative world.
The Best Hawaii Artists
The Hawaii artists in this section are some of my personal favorites. While they create various forms of art from posters to murals to fabrics, they all have a special talent that deserves to be highlighted.
Since starting his art career nearly a decade ago, Nick Kuchar’s vintage-style Hawaii posters have become recognizable to both locals and visitors alike. His colorful, almost geometric style easily draws viewers’ eyes to the picturesque scene, making him one of the most well-known contemporary artists in the islands today. His works highlight some of Hawaii’s most stunning landscapes, from the Na Pali Coast on Kauai to the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. And in case wall prints aren’t your style, you can also get Nick’s designs on hats, towels, tote bags, and more!
Wooden Wave is the name for a husband-and-wife duo, Matt and Roxy Ortiz, who have spread their murals of eco-friendly treehouses all around the country. Their artwork has taken them far and wide – from working with boxer Floyd Mayweather to exhibiting their work at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Museum to participating in season 2 of NBC’s hit show, Making It.
You can find Wooden Wave’s murals all around the U.S. (but particularly in Kakaako on Oahu, Hawaii). You can also purchase Wooden Wave’s artwork on their website.
If you’re looking for Hawaii art that’s super bright and inviting, Lauren Roth may be your gal! The only way to achieve her colorful displays of Hawaiian flora is by using a combination of watercolor, acrylic, ink, and paint markers. And we’re not the only ones who have noticed Lauren’s talent. She’s been featured in Hawaii Magazine, landed a job with Nautica, and worked with famed artist Jake Shimabukuro.
Jana Lam is the only fabric designer on this list of Hawaii artists, and deservedly so. Her nature-inspired patterns have found their way onto everything from bags to plant pots to blankets to recyclable wrapping paper. Even though her brand has blown up, Jana and her team continue to create one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces.
You can find Jana Lam’s artwork at boutiques across Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and Australia, as well as on her website.
Although she tells the story in a new and modernized way, Abigail Romanchak shares the story of the Native Hawaiian people through her artwork. As Abigail’s bio states, this Native Hawaiian artist sees her artwork “as a way to empower and assert a Hawaiian sense of identity and culture through art.” While she may not carry on Hawaiian traditions in the traditional sense, she has found an amazing contemporary way to do so.
Abigail’s work has been showcased all across the world, including The White House, The Smithsonian, The Australia National Museum, Hawaii State Art Museum, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, and so many other locations.
You can learn more about Abigail Romanchak’s artwork on her website.
Fine Art by Hawaii Artists
If you’re an established art collector, consider adding these four amazing Hawaii artists to your collection. These artists all have complex, hard-to-replicate processes to create their pieces, making their works truly unique.
All of Karen Whitworth’s works, whether they depict nature or people, shine brightly through the use of vibrant colors and dazzling light. Karen’s latest muse is the beauty of Hawaii. Through her paints, brushes, and overflowing talent, she gorgeously depicts the bright hues and beaming energy of Hawaii’s flowers, animals, and landscapes that no other medium can capture.
You can find Karen Whitworth’s artwork on her website.
Garret Kojima’s work centers around the power of the ocean. His bold brushstrokes coupled with Hawaii’s already admirable waves produce art pieces that any ocean lover would dream of hanging in his or her home. Garret’s work has given him the opportunity to work with amazing brands like Crazy Shirts and Disney.
You can find Garret Kojima’s artwork at a handful of galleries across Hawaii.
Lannie Boesiger is a Hawaii mixed media artist unlike any other. Her process combines woodworking, photography, and painting in order to give her pieces a unique vintage vibe. When this technique is combined with the breathtaking natural beauty of the island of Kauai, the result is amazing.
Unlike many artists on this list, Roy Tabora was introduced to art at a very young age, as he was born into a family of painters. Because Roy has had years of experience, his paintings almost look like skillfully captured photographs. That’s just how realistic they are!
Christian Bendo’s artistic process is quite complex. After sourcing local Hawaiian woods, Christian then carves out his design and adds either paint or resin. It’s a process that none of the other artists on this list undertake. And the results are amazing. Through this series of steps, the Hawaiian sea creatures that Christian portrays seem to almost pop out of their frames.
Suzy Papanikolas was born and raised on the mainland before moving to the islands, where she established herself as one of the best Maui artists. She recently moved to Hilo, but her mark on Maui has remained. Suzy’s pieces showcase the beauty of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, particularly the art of hula.
Casual, Yet Beautiful Art by Hawaii Artists
Sometimes Hawaii fine art isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Many people prefer casual, yet beautiful art, and these Hawaii artists provide just that!
Heather Brown may be one of the most recognizable Hawaii artists of today. Known as the “godmother of modern surf art,” Heather’s work completely revolves around Hawaii’s waves and oceans. Rather than taking a realistic approach though, Heather uses an almost pop-art-like, color-blocking approach to make her pieces stand out from the crowd.
And Heather’s art isn’t just for your walls. You can also purchase surfboards, snowboards, and skateboards all decked out in Heather’s wonderful artistry.
Based in Honolulu, Sarah Caudle creates beautiful Hawaii-inspired beach scenes with an unusual medium: resin. By using resin, Sarah is able to give her pieces a cool, calming vibe that is reminiscent of the calmest Hawaii shores. While she typically creates prints, she also has pillows, tote bags, jewelry, and ornaments, which all don her iconic ocean patterns.
The watercolor pieces produced by Honolulu-based artist Ashley Kaase are truly breathtaking. Most of her works highlight Hawaii fruits and plants, including papayas, dragon fruits, pineapples, and monstera leaves. While you can get Ashley’s artwork in the form of original pieces or prints, you can also find her designs on greeting cards, coasters, ornaments, and stickers.
Born on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kai’ili Kaulukukui now works out of the trendy neighborhood of Kakaako on Oahu. This muralist and painter centers many of his works around Hawaii’s marine life, particularly sharks. As a matter of fact, this cause is so clause to Kai’ili’s heart that he also works at the PangeaSeed Foundation, an international marine conservation organization.
You can find Kai’ili Kaulukukui’s artwork on his website.
When many people think of Hawaii art, they think of pieces that highlight the beautiful natural landscapes of the Hawaiian Islands. While that’s one aspect of it, Kamea Hadar shows another facet of Hawaii art. Trained in portraiture, Kamea’s work highlights aspects of Hawaiian culture, such as a haku (symbolic Hawaiian flower crown), which could not be shown without a human figure. This approach to Hawaiian art has taken Kamea far, as he has worked with huge brands, including Hawaiian Airlines, Hurley, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Kamea also happens to be the Co-lead Director of Pow! Wow! Worldwide, an amazing mural creation festival.
You can find Kamea Hadar’s artwork on his website.
Jewelry by Hawaii Artists
Then, of course, there’s always the option to wear Hawaii-inspired art in the form of jewelry. These Hawaii artists create beautiful necklaces, rings, and earrings, all inspired by the islands.
The pieces created by Rise Jewelry are so stunning and recognizable. By taking gifts from the sea – like sea glass, seashells, sea pottery, and shark teeth – and dipping them in gold or silver, Rise Jewelry highlights the natural beauty of these ocean finds even more! Rise Jewelry creates necklaces, rings, and earrings, so whatever form of jewelry you’re looking for, they have it!
You can find Rise Jewelry’s pieces at select galleries across Hawaii, the mainland U.S., and Japan, as well as on their website. Use the code BORDERS15 on the website for 15% off your order!
While Imi Jewelry creates lovely pieces, the main reason it made it onto this list of the best Hawaii artists is because of its Island Pride collection. This collection includes necklaces, rings, bracelets, and pendants of the four major Hawaiian Islands (Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai). While simple in concept, it’s visually stunning and is a perfect Hawaii-themed gift for those with roots or memories from the islands.
Sisters of the Sea Hawaii
Rather than explicitly using pieces from the sea as Rise Jewelry does, Sisters of the Sea Hawaii takes the essence of Hawaii’s oceans and inputs it into their pieces. This Kailua-based company creates necklaces and earrings made with beads that resemble the calming colors of Hawaii’s waters.
You can find Sisters of the Sea Hawaii’s pieces at their Etsy shop.
Stationery by Hawaii Artists
If you’re looking for an everyday way to incorporate these amazing Hawaii artists into your life, stationery is a wonderful way to do so. From stickers to notepads, you’ll be able to add little touches of Hawaii art wherever you would like.
If you’re a Hawaii local, you’ll love DesignJord. This Hawaii-based artist creates stationery and stickers that highlight the special parts of Hawaii life, like pieces with spam musubis, ohia lehua blossoms, lilikoi (passion fruit), and the phrase “aloha aina” (love of the land). Get these adorable designs on stickers, envelopes, notepads, cards, postcards, and more!
You can find DesignJord’s work on her website.
This Honolulu-based stationery company is run by artist and mom, Nicole Ferrara. She creates cards, notepads, notebooks, and art with packed, tropical designs. No matter what the occasion, Nico Made has a product that’s just what you’re looking for.
You can find Nico Made’s work on her website.
Bradley & Lily
Bradley & Lily provides some of the most elegant, Hawaii-inspired stationery available. From cards with golden laua’e leaves to notebooks with picturesque watercolor paintings of Diamond Head, all of Bradley & Lily’s products manage to catch your eye. Personally, I love the Aloha Mail Stickers, because they add a little extra touch of thoughtfulness to your note, letter, or card.
As an added bonus, because Bradley & Lily create all of their notebook covers from recycled felt stock, they’re a great Hawaii-based sustainable business to support!
You can find Bradley & Lily’s work at various boutiques around Hawaii and on their website.
If you’re looking for a Hawaii stationery artist that adds both a lot of local flair and a touch of humor, Hontas Higa, run by illustrator Jordan Higa, is the one you’re looking for. From cards with opihi (limpets) that say “stuck on you” to others that showcase the islands’ brightly colored geckos, there’s no doubt that Hontas Higa has been influenced by her home. Hontas Higa sells a wide variety of items, including cards, planners, gift tags, phone cases, prints, and more!
You can find Hontas Higa’s work at Greenroom Hawaii, at Owens & Co. in Chinatown Honolulu, and on her Etsy shop.
I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the best Hawaii artists! What other Hawaii artists do you love? Tell me about them in the comments!
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*Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Nick Kuchar Art & Design Co. All opinions are from Borders & Bucket Lists.