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Haleiwa artist Ron Artis dead at 61

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Oahu’s North Shore was the canvas for artist Ron Artis, who created 900 murals in the community and resurrected discarded surfboards to adorn his Haleiwa gallery.

The Texas-born painter and musician died today after suffering an apparent heart attack at the age of 61, according to his family. Services are pending.

On the Net:

» ronartis.com

Artis participated in a 2008 police-backed beautification project to cover graffiti in Wahiawa, painting 25 murals around the town.

Among his most recent ventures was a memorial created to honor legendary surfer Andy Irons, who died Nov. 2, that is on display at Ron Artis Studio Gallery in Haleiwa.

Son Ron “Ronnie” Artis II, one of the artist’s 11 children, called his dad “a great father and a man of God.”

“His favorite thing to do was preach and take care of his family. He built a powerful legacy,” he said. “He played with lots of musicians in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, like Michael Jackson, Van Halen and Stevie Wonder. He gave up all of that to come to Hawaii and raise us kids.”

The elder Artis also leaves behind his wife Victoria and his other children, Stephanie, Victor, Stevon, PraiseJesus, Spirit, Thunderstorm, Martis, Kailua, America and Artis.

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