Douglas Kenney received the "Best in Show" award in the 2007 "Commitment to Excellence" show. Above is his "Line and Geometric" ceramic piece.
Winning artists of this year's "Commitment to Excellence" show are given their own exhibit at Nuuanu Gallery
It was on a whim that Calvin Collins decided to submit his work for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce's 29th Annual juried "2007 Commitment to Excellence" show. "I even had to borrow $10 for the entry fee," he says sheepishly. Imagine Collins' surprise when his work was selected as among the best of the exhibit. "It was a VERY pleasant surprise. It was the first time I entered. And what was more pleasant was that the work sold," he says with a laugh.
Being lauded in the show earned Collins, along with fellow winners Mark Chai and Douglas Kenney, a place in "Encore Excellence," an exhibit dedicated to the "Commitment to Excellence" winners, showing at Nuuanu Gallery at Marks Garage through March 29.
Calvin Collins' "Subrosa" is a mixed media painting. Collins won the "Newcomer" award.
The gallery shows a lively diversity as Collins' bedsheet paintings hang in stark contrast alongside Kenney's boldly colorful ceramic plates and Chai's large sculptures of wood and polypropylene.
Collins says his use of bedsheets as canvas bears all sorts of connotations: "banality, domesticity, sexuality," he says. "But in the end, the works really could be about anything. I'll make the paintings, you bring the meaning."
Collins, who graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in painting in 2006 from the University of Hawaii, has kept his foot in the art world with a couple of jobs at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He teaches art to youngsters through the museum's Art to Go outreach program and works in security at the museum itself. In fact, it was the academy staff that encouraged Collins to take a stab at entering the show.
"Palm Circle" is another of the many works by Kenney showing at Nuuanu Gallery at Marks Garage.
"It's a very supportive, encouraging environment for an artist," he says.
Still, Collins admits, it continues to be a challenge to create art and juggle the work. But he remains committed.
"It's a struggle, trying to do art everyday. But it's my passion and I'm constantly trying to work at it."
Nuuanu Gallery at Marks Garage is located at 1161 Nuuanu Ave. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and until 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The gallery will hold an artists talk at 6:30 p.m. March 20. Call 536-9828.
Mark Chai's "Hawaiian Land Grab 2" is a polypropylene and basalt rock sculpture.
"Invasive Species," above, created from African mahogany, is one of the pieces that earned Chai the "3-D" award.