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 and twice a Smithsonian artist (2020 and 2021), a 2019 CM Russell Museum artist; as a SOFA-Chicago exhibitor, Fine Craft Artist of the Year/ACA, and is a three-time award winner at the Jackson Hole Western Design Conference. The artist was a 2018 inductee into the “By Western Hands” artisans’ guild; and is regularly featured in Tier I national, juried art events at venues such as: the Philadelphia Art Museum Fine Craft Show, Architectural Digest Design show/NYC, SOFA-Chicago, and in cities such as Scottsdale, Ft. Worth, Jackson Hole, Denver, Park City, and Albuquerque, among others.
The artist works entirely freehand, inspired by worldwide Tribal and First Peoples 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 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.
Timothy Warrington, of International Confederation of Art Critics said, “The artist’s work blurs the lines between fine art, fine craft and folk art, and sneaks into the niche between fine, decorative and functional art. Regardless the label, the artwork draws second looks and calls out for touching as wood is pushed beyond normal bounds in unexpecting and refreshing ways.”
Artwork in private collections throughout US, Europe and Asia. Gallery representation list upon request.
Actively seeking a limited number of gallery representation opportunities in diverse geographies. To express an interest and begin a conversation, please email the artist.