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Featured Artist: Akiko Cutlip (Island of Hawai'i - Big Island)

Akiko's inspiration often begins with her photographic memory, a kind of internal filofax that catalogs all of her sensory experiences in vivid detail, whether she likes it or not.  The bright red or candy pink of a kimono she wore as a child in Japan for festivals, the silhouette of a tree on a wild and winding Holualoa road, or the bold black brush strokes of Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) on white paper Snippets of shape, color, and memory coalesce - a mental collage - which she then brings to life on canvas. 

From the initial inspiration, Akiko's process becomes an intuitive conversation with the painting. 

There is plenty of space for surprise and serendipity, for the work to take on a life of its own.  Like hopping in the car for a drive, destination unknown.  It's in these spaces where creativity really thrives - unconfined and out of the box.  This intuitive, playful approach to art is something that Akiko credits her young students with teaching her. She is a teaching artist in the Donkey Mill Art Center's keiki art program. 

"Kids are so free, they don't have pressure or expectations. This shows in their artwork. I try to be more like them."  - Akiko