Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alum Spotlight: Kayleen Roberts

Shangri La poolside view
Since spring of 2013 Kayleen Roberts received her BA in art history, gave birth to a son, and began an internship at Shangri La in preparation for applying to a graduate art conservation program.   Shangri La: Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures is a product of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.  Built in 1936-1938 Doris Duke worked closely with contractors and decorators to design and construct a gorgeous home overlooking the Pacific near Diamond Head.  Duke spent 60 years collecting various Islamic art.  When she passed away in 1993 she left multiple properties behind.  In 1998 the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art was established to help preserve, educate, and share Islamic culture with the local community, which included opening Doris Duke's home, Shangri La, to the public.

Conservation interns Kat Harada and Kayleen Roberts.
Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai’i, 2013
In her time interning at Shangri La, Roberts has been busy with multiple tasks, however her tedious work restoring a wooden mirror within the Syria room has been exceptionally demanding.  Roberts recently wrote a post detailing the intricate restoration process which was featured on the Shangri La blog.  Click here to read her post describing the process to restore an ancient Islamic artifact.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Alum Spotlight: Jeff Kurosaki

BFA alulm Jeff Kurosaki has found his place within the New York art scene. After leaving the University of Hawai'i Jeff attained his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art. It was at Cranbrook that Jeff met Tara Pelletier which lead to collaborations in many fronts. Their creative duo, the Friendly Falcons, has exhibited and performed at various events around New York as well as a European tour. Jeff and Tara also has a thriving artisanal business called Meow Meow Tweet (named after their bird and 2 cats), a natural apothecary. Based in Brooklyn, they support their work by producing small-batch, natural, vegan apothecary items like soaps, personal care and soy candles, all made by hand with whole ingredients.

Jeff took a minute from his busy schedule to give us a sneak peek into what he's up to now and how his time and UH helped him find his niche.  

What are you doing at the moment professionally?

I'm currently participating in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program with Tara. Concurrently, we are preparing for the opening of our show, Urban Heat Island, at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as a group show, Art into Music, at BRIC House in Brooklyn. All the while Tara and I do our best to keep up with Meow Meow Tweet.

How has majoring in Art/Art History helped you the most?
In the studio and the business, I am constantly negotiating how best to represent an experience. My art degree enables me with the technical skills and strategies to explore processes for communicating these ephemeral ideas though object based and/or conceptual projects.

If applicable, what internships or extra-curricular activities have you pursued while in college have been the most valuable to you personally and professionally?  Why? Toward the end of my undergraduate experience, I started working as an artist assistant.  It was an amazing opportunity which influenced my perspective on becoming a professional artist in a positive and "unidealized" way. It reinforced the importance of having a good work ethic while remaining true to one's vision.

Are there any “optional” elements of the undergraduate experience that you recommend students explore? I recommend that students take advantage of all the resources the department has to offer. Some of the best dialogue and challenges I encountered came from professors and peers outside of my area of specialization, which was in sculpture. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sewing Seams from Korea to Hawaii

Shin Hyo-Lee. Rose and Flying Skull

   Since graduating from UH, Jeeun Kim has been having an impact on Korean art as a professor at Kyungsung University in Busan, Korea.  Kim has recently come back to UH for a brief visit to showcase her students' art at the Hawaii Quilt to Busan Quilt exhibit.  The exhibit features artwork from students in the World Textile course at the Craft Design Department at Kyungsun University.
In preparation for the show, students studied Hawaiian quilts and then applied the artwork to create quilts reflecting personal backgrounds.  As assistant professor of the textile design, Kim has set up an exhibit at the Center for Korean Studies on the UH Manoa campus.

The opening reception was February 4th but the exhibit will continue to run until February 11th in the lobby of the Korean Studies building located on Maile Way.