Sometimes it takes an outsider to make one appreciate the obvious.
In his judging of the Honolulu Printmakers 83rd Annual Exhibition, visiting juror Koichi Yamamoto said he was impressed with the array of local talent.
"To do this on an everyday basis, it’s easy to take the work for granted," said Executive Director Laura Smith. "Koichi related that during and after his talk (last) Sunday, and it’s a very complimentary thing to say about the caliber of the art made here."
In his first visit to Hawaii, Yamamoto considered more than 200 works before deciding on some 130 pieces for the show.
HONOLULU PRINTMAKERS 83RD ANNUAL EXHIBITION
» Where: Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St.
» When: through March 18; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays
» Info: 536-5507 or www.honoluluprintmakers.com
» Also: "Demo-Graphics: The Embellished Print," free demonstrations of innovative printmaking techniques, 1 to 3 p.m. today, Academy Art Center
"I was interested most in the diversity in the types of expression, and use of medium as well," said Yamamoto, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee School of Arts. "The fascinating part of my first time in Hawaii is noticing the rich mix of cultures that is reflected in these works, and themes associated with the unique nature of island life, the climate and culture, where I see a lot of Asian influence."
Nancy Vilhauer, show chairwoman and Printmakers vice president, said Yamamoto’s selections reflect the spirit of the printmaking crowd in Honolulu.
"There’s a great sense of community amongst the printmakers, actually working with other artists in any given workshop. This is a large show, around 130 pieces, and Koichi has made it a more inclusive show, with more artists involved," she said.
SMITH ATTRIBUTES the longevity of the Printmakers to its long-standing commitment to community workshops.
"We give people a place to do print work, and they get to meet other artists, where you can find somebody to answer any of your questions or help with problems," Smith said.
The Academy Art Center offers any number of printmaking classes, and Smith is heartened by the attendance of working adults who attend its night classes.
One trend Smith has noticed is the growing interest in photo-based printmaking.
"It’s been especially popular in the last three-four years. What’s helped is that the technology makes the process simpler to do, where it used to be tedious in years past."
She said a number of first-time artists — many who have been students of art center classes — made the cut in this year’s exhibition.
Yamamoto took note of the fact that this was the Printmakers’ 83rd consecutive show, calling it a rarity.
"I believe what’s made it so successful is that you can see a great deal of passion for and in the work," he said. "They’ve all contributed a great amount of energy that is very unique to what I’ve seen back in the states, Europe and Japan. It makes it all work for the better."