-by Tammy

I always try to stop and appreciate my life and the beauty that surrounds me. My kids are so lucky to attend amazing schools. I have always been grateful how one of my children’s schools tries to include parents. I remember helping both of my children tie dye shirts in 6th grade. I remember going to countless class picnics. I remember learning to weave plates out of palm fronds for 3rd grade luau. Even now I cherish every single orchestra concert- winter and spring. Years and years of Parade of Orchestras since both kids played strings. Jack will be in Symphony Strings and I can not wait to see him dressed in his tuxedo. But the most memorable time was years ago when he was in second grade. The artist Naoki came to school to teach us parents a beautiful form of Japanese art called Gyotaku. I remember him telling us how he goes out to spear the fish. He brings them back to his studio. He carefully paints their bodies. He creates beautiful fish prints. He cleans the fish. And he eats it. That is using every bit of the fish. No waste. We practiced on paper to learn the technique. What he made look easy was definitely not so. I have my two attempts framed and hanging my in office at Pacific Retina CareSM.  The next day we helped the children create fish print t-shirts. What fond memories for us all.

Since then, I have noticed Naoki’s art at my kids’ orthodontist office, at Gyotaku Restaurant in Niu Valley, at the original Roy’s Restaurant and more. At this year’s Haleiwa Art Festival I noticed an impressive booth and recognized Naoki and his amazing prints. They were sandwiched between plexiglass and trimmed in gorgeous woodwork. I got to meet his wood artist Dave Gagnon of DG Woodwork (check out his Mauka to Makai Collection).  We have been searching for a privacy screen between the check out area and internal waiting area. I decided this was the perfect solution, but was unsure exactly how to accomplish it.  Dave came to the office and helped me plan the most amazing art partition. Once he was underway with our project, he invited me to see his progress and see some ideas for our gyotaku. Our office has lots of green and blue. I thought I might want omilu, but we will see what is in store. Naoki says he will create a piece just for us. It will be perfect!

Today I made the trek to Naoki’s studio in Kaneohe. I always pinch myself as I drive around the Ka Iwi Coast past Hanauma Bay, Lanai Lookout, the Blow Hole, Sandy’s, Makapuu, Sea Life Park, Waimanalo and Kailua. We are so lucky to live here. His studio is near Windward Mall. It is tucked away in an industrial park. Dave brought a piece of the monkeypod that he is working on for our piece. It has a live edge. It will be double sided, so people at the entrance/check out and people waiting in the internal waiting area will get to appreciate it. Naoki arranged the omilu such that there is depth and you can see and appreciate detail from both sides. Dave will help encase it in plexiglass to protect it. He will also illuminate it to sort of glow. It IS perfect. In the short time I was there, Naoki was working on two pieces. No details such as eyes, but both are already coming to life.

Bill Braden once told me we do not shop for art. I believe art speaks to us. If I am so moved, I have been known to splurge on art. Is it a necessity? Probably not. But if it speaks to me and makes me smile, then I buy it. Over the years living on Oahu, 15 to be exact, I have acquired an appreciation for local art. My purchases range from a small bud vase by Bud Spindt to gorgeous handmade belts of retire fire hose by Dale of Hippy Chic to a painted door by Russell Lowry to giclee pieces by Bill Braden to a gorgeous koa bowl by Robert Butts. Soon, we will get to say we own a piece by Naoki and DG Woodwork!  Stay tuned for final photos after the installation in October.