Driven by a passion for Native Culture stories, legends and mythology, fine art carver, Keoni, re-imagines wood as woven and beaded basketry. Using sharpened steel, fire, inks and organic dyes, he creates story-driven artwork illusions entirely by-hand/freehand with Sugar Maple as his canvas.
The artist is nationally recognized as a 2020 Smithsonian artist, a 2019 CM Russell Museum artist; as a SOFA-Chicago exhibitor and three-time award winner at the Jackson Hole Western Design Conference; was in 2018 inducted into the “By Western Hands” artisans’ guild; and has had artwork featured at 15+ national, juried events including at the Philadelphia Art Museum Fine Craft Show, and at the Sedona, Ft. Worth, Denver, Albuquerque and Chicago fine art exhibitions. He is also an elected member of the Salmagundi Art Club of New York.
The artist works freehand, drawing from recollections and notebooks of tribal imagery. Sugar Maple wood is used as the “canvas”. Once shaped, designs are burned at high temperatures onto the wood using a single, 1/8” straight-line tool. It is not uncommon for artwork to require 25,000+ individual cuts/burns/colored cells to execute a design. Today, Keoni is among only the very few excelling in the application of these unusual techniques - bringing to life distant memories, honored heritage and a reverence for shared tribal history. As an artist, Keoni believes himself still very new born, carving in this “touchable illusion” style only since 2017 after careers as a journalist and corporate executive.
Artwork in private collections in the US, Europe and Asia.