Saturday, August 12, 2006

Enigma of the Mill

If you have visited Maui, at some point, when you were crossing from the Kihei side to the Hana side, you probably cut through the sugar mill on Pu'unene Rd. Or should I say Poo Poo Nay Nay. Anyone who lives here in Maui knows the awful stench of sewage that the cane fields around the Sugar Mill sometimes reek of.

Beyond the smell, the entire operation is strange. The second engima to me is this: How can this land can still afford to grow cane when the real estate market all around is skyrocketing property values? Every season the cane fields are burnt down sending smoke and ash snow across the island. The mill itself stands in almost the geographical center of Maui, alone among cane fields, the rusted factory looms with its smoke tower exhaust as a relic of a bygone era .

Today we often forget that our own cars' engines are machines of gears, cranks, hoses and pistons. In the movie "Enigma of the Mill" now showing at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Tom Sewell takes us inside the mill. The movie has the feel of Blade Runner and Mad Max. The machinery is awesome. What I think is so powerful about this work is this: there truly is so much that is going on under the hood. There are people here, putting together metal in ways that don't require I know computer science to understand. Its a kid's dream of big trucks and things that go.

The Enigma of the Mill never explains why the cane stinks so much, or how they get away with the awful burning, in fact it doesn't explain much, it just opens the hood and we get to see a powerful and beautiful display that reveals: there is no magic happening here, it's just big cranks and gears kept running by men. And that is what is magic about it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Aloha Art Update #4 : July 2006


It's the summer here in Maui, which, surprisingly makes a difference. The sun sets at 7:30, earlier than for most of you in the mainland, but still, we had our longest day by almost 2 hours on the solstice. The whales are long gone. The nights on the beach are warmer. I spent my first sunset ever at Baldwin Beach last Saturday, drinking a beer with a friend and jumping in the soft golden transluscent-blue water as the sun went down (where I took this picture). Sometimes, it's the most simple things that reconnect us to the paradise we live in.

Maui offers so much magic, it is sometimes ironic how much of a challenge it can be to crack the surface.

Many who arrive in Maui hardly leave their hotel. And why not? It's perfectly unwinding. Why get beyond the pure medicine of just being in Maui? But others are drawn to a deeper experience, something to move them into a greater sense of the magic. This issue is dedicated to those who want to learn some skills and get beyond the normal tourist experience.

Mahalo (Thank you),
Gabriel Mott

Flowers in Maui?
Botanical Gardens
The Flower Series is my own expression of flowering on Maui. For those of you that haven't had a chance to see the new paintings, this is some of my best work, and my first released since moving to Maui.

This island is home to some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, for those who want to stroll among the beauty of actual flowers, try one of these botanical gardens: National Tropical Botanical Garden, Enchanting Floral Gardens, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
# The Flower Series Gallery

Little Beach, Makena
Gettin' Tribal on a Sunday Afternoon
Every Sunday as the sun goes down, a collective holler goes out from Little Beach in Makena. Sometimes as many as one hundred people from all walks of life gather to play drums and dance. Once it's dark, fire dancers light up their poi, staffs and any other contraptions that can be lit on fire and spun around. The effect is at once, simple, exotic and beautiful. To get there, just be prepared to hike over a lava rock wall (the path isn't so bad) on the north end of Big Beach.

Fire Dancing Classes
Learn Improvisational and Traditional Body Movement With Poi
When my new roommate Greg who moved here from North Carolina exclaimed that he was seeing fire dancing for the first time, it reminded me that for many it is still a new artform. Maui is a hotbed for firedancers and one of the best on the island is Krissy Kopp who was featured in my movie Mystical Street Art. She offers classes for all levels twice a week through her company, Groovement Productions.
# Groovement Productions: Fire Dancing Classes
# Mystical Street Art Show: The Movie

Flower Four
Extracting Layers from The Flower Series
Each painting from The Flower Series was created with the same process, some of which was documented. I started with pen outlines, poured on acrylic and sprinkled color resin. With Flower Number Four, I've dropped the first seven layers into a flash document on my blog so you can click through the progression.
# Blog: Click through Flower Four's progression
# The Flower Series Gallery

Capoeira on da Islands
Dance, sing, clap, play, stretch, strengthen... a martial art?
As the root of break dancing when it came to NY in the late 1970's, Capoeira is definitely funkyenough. A number of Capoeira centers have popped up all over the island, but I've been learning with professor Guga at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (The MACC). The art form is rooted in the culture of Brazilian slaves and combines martial arts, music and dance. Capoeira is an art in the complete sense of the word, it is a tool for transformation. Professor Guga playing Capoeira is on the right in the photo. Class is held every Monday and Thursday, beginners are welcome.

African Drumming at Paia Bay
Exhaust Your Hands While You Enrich Your Soul
Nestled in between Paia Bay and Baldwin Beach, Master dundun and djembe player, Rickyshy, leads a drum circle that practices African Drums. The dunduns are big drums played with sticks, the bass is close to 3 feet high creating such a deep tone it vibrates your body. All are welcome, but the first lesson in the drum circle is "don't stop til it's over" so be ready to gain some endurance.

As always, I thank you for your support. Let me know what you think of the Flower Series. Previous work is available in the gallery section of the website and I encourage you to consider acquiring a painting. I'll include more about the local art galleries and the art world in general in future Aloha Art Updates. I welcome your feedback.

Coming Soon, "The Box Set" a new series of dimensional paintings.

email: g(at)
phone: 808-250-4825

Aloha Art Update #3 : August 2005


Gabe here-- in Maui, surrounded by artwork, just giving a big Aloha shout out. I just pulled together a few tidbits from island life here at the gallery that I wanted to share with you . I hope you enjoy it.

This aloha update is dedicated to the folly of age. Inevitably, guests of our gallery come across an artist they don't understand and exclaim a disregard for the perceived lack of talent. While I would never try to convince you to like an artist, I am convinced that these so called "child-like artists" are immensely deserving of the credit they receive. In a phrase, the emperor has clothes.

That's a reaction before the breadth, quality and energy of Keith Haring's output is experienced. Haring would start a mural as big as a building, complete it in hours, rarely stepping back to look--and upon completion, the mural would have perfect composition. I first found his work in NYC in 1984. I love it first for his intention to make art accessible to the masses. Haring created a complex and consistent visual language and influenced the way our culture uses and perceives imagery.

What goes better with fine art than fine wine? I had my first experience with "Old World vs. New World", "Full bodied" vs. "Fruity" and flights just recently in the budding art town of old Wailuku in Maui. Cafe Marc Aurel has over 90 wines all available by the glass, that's my painting on the wall on the right.

You could be the proud owner of this painting by Jean-Michel Basquait for $975,000. With its combination of music, dynamic wordplay, performance, and graffiti writing, Basquiat's art embodied the hip-hop movement during its infancy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Basquiat not only contributed to the visual language invented by some of the century's first great artists, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and others but also transcended it. That is, he understood not only the African-influenced work of his predecessors from the beginning of the century, but also the state of contemporary art as his own generation had found it: austere, cerebral, exclusive, and detached from everyday life. In short, while his imagery befuddles some, this cat was very very smart and very very talented.

One of the most common questions we get is, "How much for the picture of Picasso and Chagall?"— The two titans of art in the 20th century rarely met and when they did it was often tense. Very few photos of the two of them together exist. In 1955, Chagall was having a photo shoot and the wife of the photographer, Philippe Halsman, recalls: "Suddenly Picasso arrived in a taxi and saw that Philippe was photographing Chagall. He said, 'Oh let me be there too.' Picasso embraced Chagall for the photograph and then disappeared." The image here was taken in 1952, in Chagall's ceramic studio in Vallauris in the south of France.

If it's not "a kid could do that" it's "I could do that". I think of Sam Francis as the "happy " Jackson Pollock. That is simplifying to be sure, but Francis was not the tortured soul that Pollock seemed to be. All I can say is if you get the chance—take a Francis into the viewing room and spend some time with it. If that doesn't do anything for you—walk the talk. Seriously, get some paint and give it a shot. Then again, someart is just not digestible for some people. But that's part of the joy of art.

Last week I was swimming at Twin Falls with my girlfriend in deep pools of water surrounded by jungle with not a soul in sight—"We live in paradise," I sighed. As soon as we got out we were mobbed by a swarm of hungry mosquitoes. Even in paradise. The Mosquito first came to Maui in 1826 on a trade ship coming into Lahaina.

Google provided a satellite picture with their mapping tool, well how about street level pictures? This is a view from across the street from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where the owner of our gallery helped authentic paintings for the Marc Chagall exhibit a few years ago. Take a visit to your favorite spot—it's sti Ll in beta so your home might not be in here…. Yet.

Stay tuned for more feng shui tips, more funky art, and whatever else is popping in Maui and the Arts. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Let me know how I can help you.


Aloha Art Update #2 : July 2005

Aloha Friends!

Thanks for your feedback on the previous edition of Gabe's Aloha Art Update. I received a lot of fun comments. As usual, I intend to give you a little taste of life in Maui as well as a little art education and new this month, some gossip (which may not last long). With the summer solstice behind us, the sun has started moving south again. On June 21st, the sun reached it’s apex – to us in the gallery, that’s to the far right of the horizon, tucking itself just behind the burger place across the street. When I started working here in December the sun was so far south it would have been out of the frame of this picture far to the left.

So the days are long and the weather is hot. What else is new? Well, last time I told you about the upcoming canoe parade—it was quite a fabulous spectacle with traditional hula dancers and beautiful carved out canoes rolling by right in front of the gallery. This picture is taken right in front of the gallery. But it was nothing compared to the festivities on the Fourth of July! Lahaina’s two biggest street parties are the Fourth and Halloween. Front street was all afire with partiers and fireworks. Not the best night for selling art but great fun.

I recently read that readership for all the gossip magazines like US, Star, People, the Enquirer are up 25% over last year. Why? Who knows. But it makes me think I better get some gossip in the Aloha Art Update if I am going to maintain my audience. So here goes: On the Maui Star Watch Beat—Chandler from Friends was on the island. He went to Longhi’s with some friends and had dinner. Then, the next day he went to Moana’s in Paia and had brunch. He was on the $59 bike tour that goes to the top of Haleakala. The bike guys called ahead to the restaurant to say they had a VIP—the bike tour includes a fixed breakfast-- and the VIP wanted two extra eggs. So he got the extra eggs. The most surprising things about living in Maui is how fast word travels. The last word on Chandler came from my dentist. His last day he paid for all of his friends to take a helicopter ride around the island. Oh who cares! Maybe the gossip thing isn’t my bag.

Entering your home, what is the first thing a visitor sees? According to the Chinese design art of feng-shui, what we place on the opposite wall of the entrance to a room affects our “fame” or how others perceive us. Whether or not feng-shui is an attractive system for you, the impact of art on our lives and our environment is often underestimated. According to feng-shui, color is one of the most potent ways to shift energy. When considering your next art acquisition, you might be interested in some of the traditional associations with color. GREEN: Health and balance, compassion,understanding, RED: Vigor and vitality, raw physical energy, passion, YELLOW: Mental acuity, intellectual discourse, communication, curiosity, METALLICS: physical beauty, material wealth, inner radiance. This might be why Erté's "Golden Fleece" is such a powerful and clearing work of art.
For more information:

Alex Matter is convinced that he’s got 32 original Jackson Pollock paintings in his possession. Matter found the artwork, wrapped in brown paper bags in his father’s storage locker. The value of 32 Pollock’s like this is somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million. But just when Alex thought things were getting good, a leading Pollock expert questioned their athenticity. Now we’ve got a great highbrow art controversy! The Pollock foundation, which disbanded years ago, is thinking of reforming to resolve the dispute.

Many of us are aware that Andy Warhol is responsible for the quote: "In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes." His most well known subject is superficial: “Campbell’s Soup”. But did you know that he created some very compelling and historically documenting work? The image at left is not just a white canvas, it is the newly acquired Warhol image of JFK. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, shocked the nation and the world. In his portfolio “Flash - - - - November 22, 1963”, Andy Warhol recounted the four days from the assassination of the President to his funeral on November 25, 1963. The artist's subject was not so much the events themselves as the continuous barrage of print and broadcast media coverage. Warhol was fascinated by the omnipresent emotional power of the media. He used both the text from the story in the papers and images broadcast across television to create this historically powerful work.

Anyway, If you liked that Warhol Quote, you can view many more on
One of my favorite Warhol quotes is:
“Dying is the most embarrassing thing that can ever happen to you, because someone's got to take care of all your details.”
Wikiquote stems from Wikipedia (I am not making this up), which is an online encyclopedia with content generated entirely by volunteers who freely edit the database live. You can actually go to the site and edit the encyclopedia yourself. The name comes from the Hawaiian word “Wiki” which means quick. Since you were going to do it anyway, here’s Matthew Perry on wikipedia:

Why does the Aloha Art Update keep including technology tips? In my previous life I was living in the SF Bay Area and was immersed in the tech industry. So I keep up. From the feedback I got on last edition, the Google Maps link was one of the favorites.

Until next time,
Mahalo Nui Loa,

Aloha Art Update #1 : May 2005

The last of the whales have left for the season while down the street from the gallery, international artisans have started carving out trees for the May 27th canoe festival. It’s 84 degrees and sunny. It’s hot.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s had their spring auctions last week. You may have heard that Andy Warhol’s “Liz Taylor” sold for 12.6 million dollars. However, I’ll bet you didn’t know that the painting pictured here by Keith Haring projected to sell at a range of $250,000-$350,000 was sold for $492,000.

You can see the sold Sotheby’s lot here:
(register or use mine, password: aloha5)

Get a satellite glimpse of our island in the middle of the pacific and zoom into our gallery, or to your favorite beach. Don’t get mad at me after you realize you’ve spent an hour checking out your old stomping grounds from a bird’s eye view. This has to be one of the coolest things to come onto the internet this year:

If you haven’t heard of Philippe Bertho by now, you are due for a visit to our gallery (and a trip to Maui right?). I’m amazed at the descriptions that I hear from visitors seeing his work for the first time, in fact, I’ll use your words instead of mine: “Cirque de Soleil meets Willy Wonka”. But don’t get me wrong, this is very smart stuff. In the words of a critic for the NY Times, William Zimmer, “Bertho is a master of trompe l’oiel”. Bertho’s success thus far is unprecedented. His newest release, pictured here, is called “Woman Under Pressure”.

Did you hear the buzz about the controversial blue Maui guidebook? It claimed to reveal all the secret local spots like the best waterfalls, the best hikes. A friend who visited Maui left the guidebook with me and I have news, some of the best hikes in Maui are not in it. If you like the outdoors and haven’t done a hike in Maui, I hiked Waihe’e Ridge Trail the other day and half way up the ridge I was passed by helicopters—but they were below me in the valley.

Ginnie and Dick, from the Northwest, had never owned a masterwork before. When visiting Maui, they walked into Martin Lawrence, having no plans to acquire an original Picasso. “We were excited to have an opportunity to get a Picasso etching and we loved the story, we didn’t want to pass this up.” The piece they now own is from the story “Lysistrata”—a wonderful story of love, war and peace from the 5th century BC.
The story of Lysistrata: