JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Andrew Miyamoto, who created the giant Shaka Santa and Tutu Claus for Honolulu City Lights, created this "CocoNut Family" for the lobby of his Waikiki condominium complex. Close-ups show the detail in his work.
What a nut!
Andrew Miyamoto has carved out his niche using coconuts
While visions of sugar plums dance in the heads of many this holiday season, it's coconuts for Andrew Miyamoto.
"No one teaches you how to make people out of coconuts," he says, quite seriously. "It's a skill you develop over time, and I've learned as I go and I'm getting pretty good at it!"
His latest creation is a Christmas-themed grouping called, appropriately, "The CocoNut Family." It's on display in the lobby of the Chateau Waikiki on Hobron, where Miyamoto lives.
"It's so nice!" said Randall Stewart, who handles lobby security at the apartment building. "It's a credit to Mr. Miyamoto, who also volunteers every year to decorate the trees in the lobby. He just does it because he likes it, and he's really good at it."
Miyamoto, an artist-designer -- probably his most seen pieces are the giant Shaka Santa and Tutu Claus sitting outside City Hall -- has been making coconut people for years. He estimates more than 50 have been completed since he began in the 1980s.
"No one else seems to be picking it up. I guess I'm the best coconut-people maker in the world. Oh, people tell me to put them on eBay or something, but then you wind up doing them for someone else's home decor or something," said Miyamoto. "I'd rather just make them for fun, and if they find a home, that's fun, too."
There's no painting involved. Miyamoto carves the coconuts with a box cutter and glues the bits together with a hot-glue gun. Clothing is made of tissue paper dampened with Elmer's glue, and exposed skin other than the face is made of brown paper bag.
He keeps them in a storage area until they find a home.
"There were several at the Hilton Hawaiian Village once, but they've had hard times," sighed Miyamoto. "I hear they're pretty battered."
Would carved sugar plums -- whatever they are -- hold up any better?