For a handful of bold creators, the uncertainties of the current moment spurred unprecedented leaps of inspiration and resourcefulness.
To thrive on an island in the middle of the Pacific, Native Hawaiians had to be expert innovators. From the wayfinding methods they employed over thousands of miles of open ocean to the regenerative agricultural systems that sustained them upon settling in the islands, constraints proved time and again to breed innovation in the creative process.
The challenges of the pandemic are no different in their potential to catalyze change and incite novel ideas. For a handful of bold creators, the uncertainties of the current moment spurred unprecedented leaps of inspiration and resourcefulness.
Learn what ingenuities sprang from the obstacles, leisure time, and seclusion of the last year, and follow along as they visit the community spaces where they’ve sought solace and connection on their journeys forward.
Creative chameleon Reanna Chambers is on a never-ending hunt for her next passion project. When she isn’t learning the niche art of wet-plate photography from artist Kenyatta Kelechi, she’s behind a film camera capturing quiet moments and abstract snapshots of her travels, creative circle, and interactions with the natural world and urban landscapes around her. Like Reanna’s myriad other creative outlets, which range from mural making to live jam sessions to video editing, her latest project was fueled by creative impulse rather than expectations for an end product.
“The way I kept my sanity during this time was really just creating,” says Chambers.
Gutted over the loss of her prized Buck knife, Reanna made a drawing of the knife that caught the eye of a fellow creative, who helped her turn the drawing into a batch of vinyl stickers under the brand name Goodluckbuck. Encouraged by an onslaught of community support for the brand, Reanna has since teamed up with collaborators to offer a selection of other handmade goods, always with the goal of working alongside others to make things from the heart.
“We all have these huge ideas we want to accomplish, but even just taking care of the littlest one, like a fun idea, can spiral into something,” she says.
Best known for his vintage-inspired travel prints featuring local landmarks, artist Nick Kuchar has made a career of celebrating Hawai‘i’s unique charm and local culture. Since launching his art and design business in 2010, Nick has steadily amassed a fanbase around the world as well as a growing list of local and national clients eager to commission designs rendered in his signature style.
“The pandemic taught us to be really grateful for what we already have,” Kuchar says.
When lockdown measures shuttered retail stores across the islands, Nick doubled down on his online business and seized the opportunity to pursue new ventures, including opening his first brick-and-mortal retail shop and embarking on a year-long stint as artist in residence at Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina. Fortunately for Nick, he’s found no shortage of inspiration to bring back to his home studio in ‘Ewa Beach. A wealth of source material always awaits him on beach days with his ‘ohana (family), who share his love and appreciation for the ‘āina (land) and ocean.
“If you’re always curious and open to learning new things, that goes a long way in Hawai‘i,” he says. “There’s so much to learn from people who have been here for generations.”
Meet more bold creators and local innovators at OluKai’s Walk Stories series.