Friday, December 14, 2012

A day dedicated to children

My heart breaks for the families affected by today's shooting. My thoughts and deepest condolences go out to all the families in Connecticut. In a day filled with tragedy and loss it is especially poignant to relay this message about compassion and giving.

Children are the beacon of light in an otherwise uncertain world. I do not have children of my own yet. When I do, I will guide them, protect them and show them the path to making their dreams happen. I cannot imagine any harm or ill being bestowed upon a child. I feel for all parents facing a threat to their little ones's health and well-being.

It is in this spirit that I've chosen to highlight a great organization such as Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii. The Hawaii chapter recently celebrated their 25th anniversary helping families stay together during times of grave illness.

Life threatening ailments can frighten anyone but events like cancer, leukemia and others can be especially scary for children. Ronald McDonald House of Hawaii makes it possible for families to go through treatment without worrying about a place to stay. In addition, families can comfort each other and partake in regular activities with other children going through similar situations. This home makes for a positive and supportive environment where kids can be kids.

I will dedicate tonight's art opening to children everywhere. If you would like to contribute or learn more about Ronald McDonald House of Hawaii, please check out the video I posted. Mahalo Nui Loa and God Bless!

a PREVIEW: Philippines

"Violeta" 26x30 canvas giclee. Edition 1/1. Internacional by Kat Reeder 2012
Here is a preview of one of my newest works, "Violeta", inspired by the Pagapir fan dance of the Philippines.

According to an entry on "Pagapir depicts a royal manner of "walking" among the Maranao people who live mainly around Lake Lanao. Ladies of the royal court perform this stately dance in preparation for an important event. The ladies gracefully manipulate the Aper (apir) or fan, while emphasizing their small steps, or "kini-kini", which symbolizes their good manners and prominent family background."
I'm sure this dance has a long and colorful history. I look forward to learning more from my filipino fans about this style. After all, this show is about sparking conversation and learning----and I just LOVE to learn new things.

For now, this is my interpretation of this beautiful dance in visual form. Remember, only one canvas print will be available so make sure to snag it before it's gone!

Mind.Blown. The India/Spain dance connection.

 Here is a wonderful example of two dances sharing common roots, India's Kathak and Spain's Flamenco. These are two beautiful styles in their own right. When performed in unison they create a stunning mirror image that speaks to a common ancestry (and to my soul). Just an amazing performance. Enjoy.

Internacional: The Art of Kat Reeder opening Friday!

Hello folks. It is the eve of the opening of my newest show "Internacional: The Art of Kat Reeder", opening Dec. 14th at Manifest in Honolulu. All my works are up and ready to go and I'm super excited. This internationally-themed project is one I've envisioned for a long time and I'm glad to finally share it.

You see, I've long been fascinated with world folklore, especially dance and music. I'm sure somewhere is a link to my growing up in Lima and then Miami, two completely different cities with their own local flavor. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to folks from all over the world. From Cuba to Jamaica, my friends were diverse and very much in tune with their traditions. It was a wonderful time of sharing music and dance.

Sure, as with all large cities, sometimes there was discord among ethnic groups in South Florida. Some native Floridians were displeased with the influx of Cuban immigrants as were some Cubans with the influx of Haitians and so forth. Sometimes people didn't understand one another. Whatever the political environment, food, music and dance always brought people together.

It was in this sharing that I noticed the common links between our world dances. I learned that Peru, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico and even America, could trace their dance roots to Africa. This was an awesome concept in my young mind. The idea of all dances were born of cultural interchange, the same type of sharing I did with my friends, was captivating to me.

This fascination with Latin dance soon sparked curiosity for all dances. If Latin-America and the Caribbean shared common roots, why not other peoples?

(By the way, I recently learned there are other nerds like me in the world...they're called Ethnochoreologists. Look it up, pretty cool! :)

This quest eventually took me many places around the world...some figuratively, some literally. I learned that in fact many dances do have common roots. For instance, American western dance can trace it's lineage to Ireland. Spanish Flamenco to India. Phillipines Pagapir to Muslim dance, and many more back to Africa. It is a very cool concept. One I explore with my newest art series.

So please if you're around you should definitely check it out. Only one canvas will be released and the proceeds all go to The Ronald McDonald House of Hawaii...more on that later. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Video that Inspired Me Long Ago.

Janet Jackson's "Runaway" is by far one of my favorite videos of all time. I remember being a freshman in high school with big dreams of being an artist when this premiered on MTV. The video is chock-full of inspirational images and wonderful dancing from around the globe.

I especially love Janet's choreography:  a mix of Thai, Indian and African rhythms all fused together flawlessly (this IS Ms. Jackson after all!). Her message of love and global inclusion (not to mention that GORGEOUS styling and makeup) is just inspired.

Long ago, this video put a seed of inspiration in my head for my upcoming show titled "Internacional". Sit back, turn this up, and travel around the world with Janet. ;D

Marinera Norteña--Peru's Dance of Love

"Marinera" is Peru's national dance. It is a dance of courtship that showcases a man and a young woman flirting through movement. I've watched this dance performed hundreds of time at parties and other Peruvian celebrations and each time I'm drawn into story, at the edge of my seat, wondering if they'll find love in the end. It's a very dramatic and powerful dance.

The origins of Marinera, like all things Peruvian, are a mix of Andean, Spanish and African descent. Our dances are replete with symbolic meaning. Some say the flowing of the skirt is meant to echo ocean waves, hence the name "Marinera" (Of the Sea). Personally, I've always likened the man's sharp kicks and rapid travel movements to those of a Peruvian  paso horse and the woman's handkerchief, skirt flipping and forward leg kicking to those of a bird. Don't know about you, but I see a horse chasing after a beautiful dove. Very romantic indeed.

India's beautiful dance Bharatanatyam

For my next piece, I will be depicting this classical dance from India. One of the most exciting parts of this project has been researching the music and dances. There are thousands of beautiful dances all over the world so it's very hard to narrow down just a few.

In my research and image finding I stumbled upon the lovely Savitha Sastry. When I saw her dark eyes,  mysterious expressions and sharp movements, I was hooked. This dance is called bharatanatyam, a classical dance inspired by the sculptures of ancient temples in India (as you can see from the sharp poses). Just amazing. Enjoy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hotness in the works

A Preview of What's to Come

"Philippines" work-in-progress, INTERNACIONAL December show by Kat Reeder
Hola Amigos! Check out my latest work-in-progress for my upcoming show in December, "Internacional". The theme of this series will explore different world dances. The show will have a small selection of nationalities. However, this being a "fluid" series, it will grow to include many countries from around the world. Take a look at my latest piece for the Philippines (getting her honey brown locks colored).

Studio Snapshot

My husband posted this photo of me working the other day with the caption "My wife is the captain of her own groovy starship" Hehe. What can I say, I love me some disco balls.

I'm very happy to be working at my new home studio which my dad and husband lovingly designed for me. I find myself spending more time in this room. Between my current art series and new commissions, I basically live here and I love it!

Second Exclusive Design for LeSportsac in Stores Now!

Paradise Bloom, Kat Reeder exclusive in stores now
LeSportsac has just released my newest design for their Hawaii line, "Paradise Bloom"! This marks my second collaboration with the brand and I'm very excited about it. I can't believe we began this project almost a year ago! From the sketching phase to the initial color proofs and meeting the entire NY team, this has been a great experience.

I can't thank LSS enough for the opportunity to showcase my work on their products. The first design "Moana Ahe" has sold tremendously well and we're already getting a lot of requests for this new print. These two designs are only sold in Hawaii so if you're in town don't forget to get your bag at any of the 5 boutiques in Oahu (and in Guam). Mahalo!

LeSportsac Royal Hawaiian store display

Friday, September 7, 2012 progress.


Here's my latest project in progress. This will accompany a magazine feature about me, my work, and my favorite spot on the island. I haven't done of these in a while. This one is extra special because it will also feature my favorite place to hang out, Makaha....That and because for once when folks ask if the girl in my drawing is me, I can say "well yes it is!"  :D

Will post more as I make progress. Aloha!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing "Sirena" limited edition letterpress

I've been in love with letterpress all my life and for years have been toying with the idea of creating a set of limited edition prints. Because this will be my first year at the Haleiwa Arts Festival, I wanted to create something special. I'm so happy to introduce "Sirena", limited edition of 100, signed by yours truly.

I teamed up with South Shore Paperie after searching dozens of printers nationwide. This lovely boutique, located in Kapahulu, carries unique stationary and paper products only found at this store.
The owners were so attentive and easy to work with. The print shop owner is a graphic designer herself so I knew my art would be in good hands.

The prints turned out fabulous. If you'd like to get yours, come to Haleiwa Arts Festival. They'll be gone fast!

A big mahalo again to South Shore Paperie for their amazing work.
Below is a bit of the process from sketch to press. Enjoy!

Photos courtesy South Shore Paperie. 


The finished product. So great to see an piece from start to finish. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Moana Ahe" is here!

I just had a final lunch meeting with the LeSportsac team and got to check out the finished samples. What can I say? I was just blown away by what LSS was able to do with my design. The level of detail they were able to capture is amazing. From the color, to the small details and distressing, the production team was able to achieve a pristine reproduction of my original work.

We have a media event coming up on the 20th (for media folks only) and a signing event on the 27th (open to the public). Can't wait to see the window displays and merchandise soon!

Kat Reeder for LeSportsac

I am incredibly excited to announce my collaboration with LeSportsac Hawaii! This has been an almost year-long project filled with great experiences and I just couldn't wait to share this news with you.

As of July 2012, the new product line, titled "Moana Ahe" will be available exclusively in stores across Hawaii and Guam.

I was first tapped by LeSportsac in 2011 after my collaboration with singer Raiatea Helm. Throughout this process, the LeSportsac team (both Hawaii and New York) have been incredibly encouraging, giving me complete creative freedom. For any illustrator/designer working with any major luxury brand such as LeSportsac, this is a dream come true!

Join me Friday, July 27th for a signing event at the LeSportsac flagship store in Waikiki (Royal Hawaiian Center-Kalakaua Ave), 6pm. I will be there signing bags and meeting the fans.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hale'iwa Arts Festival this July!

Aloha friends! After missing out last year, I made it a priority to submit my work to this year's Hale'iwa Arts Festival. My acceptance packet has arrived in the mail this week and I'm super stoked! 

After working with art galleries for some time now, I must say I'm a bit spoiled. Having friends and a sales staff handling transactions for me has been the best. My only responsibilities have included creating new works and attending signing sessions. No biggie though, as I'll be putting together an "Art of Kat Reeder" team soon. :)

On hand will be some new releases, and of course, I will be there to meet fans and enjoy the beautiful Hawaii weather. The Hale'iwa Arts Festival will include a wide array of performance arts, cultural history tours, arts demonstrations and a host of activities for kids and families. 

I'm looking forward to being part of this annual gathering of local artists and performers. It'll be so much fun to see old friends and to connect with collectors and fans alike. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Odaiba Hawaii Festival '12

I recently returned from an amazing trip to Japan for an appearance at the Odaiba Hawaii Festival 2012. A huge mahalo again to the organizers of this event, including the luxurious Venus Fort, Hawaiian Airlines, and of course Toyota, for displaying my art on their cool new Aqua Hybrid!

A special mahalo to Jun Yoshimura, the staff at the Heather Brown Gallery (including their friends and family who were kind enough to help out). There were long hours put into this event and I sure appreciate it!

The hospitality of the people of Japan is unmatched in the world. I'm always so overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness shown to me by friends and fans. I was greeted warmly by happy folks, many of whom offered gifts, photos, and warm embraces. I was giddy all weekend from all the love.

Odaiba Hawaii Festival was of course a fabulous event. Aside from the rainy weather on the first day (didn't seem to stop anyone from enjoying the performances inside the Toyota MegaWeb), everything went off without a hitch. There were lots of great dancers and performers, including the cast of the Polynesian Cultural Center's Ha: Breath of Life (making Japanese girls swoon with their braun and fire-twirling skills), local food (malasadas, steak plates and shave ice), and an array of hula dancers strolling about.

It was a great weekend for families and lovers of Hawaiian culture. There was so much aloha in the air it felt like home. My art found a place at the Hawaiian Festival as well, being instantly embraced by new art collectors. It was also nice to see established fans who kindly stopped by for a signed postcard or just to say hello.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in Tokyo and want to see a mall to end all malls, visit the Venus Fort. Seriously, this place is like the Venetian in Vegas and a Mall of America all rolled into one. The fashion is outstanding and the shoes....don't even get my started on shoes! There is a whole level dedicated to pets and their owners. Just a beautiful thing to see.

Well I hope this is my first of many appearances at the Odaiba Hawaii Festival. I look forward to returning again soon. I'm so happy for this experience. Mahalo to everyone!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I love Hawaiian Airlines

I remember the first time I ever saw a Hawaiian Airlines plane. I was visiting Hawaii for the first time. While standing quietly (but so excitedly) in line, I looked out the terminal window hoping to get a glimpse of Diamond Head. What caught my eye instead was a vision of purple and pink. The face of a beautiful woman blossoming from a flower. It was Pualani "Flower of the Sky", emblazoned on the tail of a shiny new jet.

Being a graphic designer I always pay attention to the small details of brand identity: colors, language, culture, etc. Every designer has that "I wish I'd thought of that" moment. I have this feeling EVERY SINGLE TIME I see an HAL plane...and living in Ewa Beach, that's pretty much every day.

Former Miss Hawaii Leinaala Teruya helped promote original Pualani logo in 1974.

The reason I am so inspired by this artwork is because you don't have to be a designer to be utterly stunned by it's elegance. She's an exotic beauty, gazing beyond the horizon. Wherever she may be going, you want to go with her. She is simple, iconic, and purely sublime.

I find the HAL logo more than inspiring--it is inspired--and that is something that touches me deeply. As an artist I yearn to capture this same spirit; to bestow upon the viewer a desire to get lost in place full of wonder and delight. The way people say my work makes them feel is the way this art makes ME feel.

As I prepare to take another trip with Hawaiian Airlines, I look forward to traveling with Pualani beyond that beautiful horizon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Golden Week 2012!


I'm so excited to participate at this year's Hawaii Festival in Odaiba. I've been gearing up for a week of fun and making new friends in Japan. However, I could not forget that Golden Week is also a much anticipated holiday here in Hawaii!

Whether you're a local or visitor, there are many exciting things to see in do this time of year. The weather is spectacular, the mountains are lush, and the waves are crystal blue. Everyone is in a great mood. How could we not be? We're in Hawaii!

If you're in Waikiki, stop by Greenroom Hawaii Gallery to see my new prints and summer releases. If you're in the North Shore, make sure to visit Thomadro Gallery in Haleiwa!

Wish you all a happy visit to Hawaii and for those of you back in Japan, see you soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Postcard Set

Introducing a limited edition 6-postcard set! Each set includes "Islands", "Love Letter" and "Makana Breeze" (two of each). Postcard size 4x6, UV coated on both sides. Available through my shop only for a limited time!

Buy now

New Goodies!

The past few weeks have been insanely busy between preparing for the upcoming festival in Tokyo and introducing new items for release. Here are two of my latest limited edition Giclees that will be available at the Odaiba Hawaii Festival, May 2nd-8th, 2012!

Sunset Beach, 16x20, canvas Giclee, edition of 50

Makana Breeze, 16x20, canvas Giclee, edition of 100

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I've been very fortunate to work with wonderful clients in the past year. It's exciting to see more and more requests come in for custom designs. Of all the types of illustration I've created however, the most exciting have been those for private portraits.

Interestingly, I don't often get requests for true-to-life renditions of the subjects. I find clients want to be interpreted and recreated in the style of my work. They want to envision themselves in a tropical dream being bathed by sunlight, as a beautiful wahine in a forgotten place and time. I'm always happy because I know before the art is created, it is already loved. 

Such is the case with this illustration for my latest client who dances hula and is a quite beautiful Japanese woman. I was asked to create an image in her likeness. Because she needs a digital file and not a finished canvas, I went for a fully digital illustration.  Here I wanted to share a bit of the process...

1. Ok, so not every step is digital. I do begin every illustration with a good old sketch. I don't go into much detail...I mostly just indicate where elements will sit and get a feel for the layout. This is submitted to the client for approval. 

2. After initial sketch is approved I begin the line drawing process. I like to think of this as digital inking, where I clean up my lines and create a framework for the image, working in Illustrator. 
3. My client did not want an exact rendition of herself but did want me to take cues her photographs. She was so lovely I couldn't help but be inspired by her facial features. 

 4. I carefully build the composition and base color. I sometimes will do this in gouache to pick up the texture of the paper. For this one, I did all my base in vector format.

5. Here I'm beginning to texturize the skirt and skin to give it a depth and tone. I work on the main subject first before moving on to the background/scenery.
6. Painting the ocean can be tricky. I challenge myself with each piece to come up with new ways to render water. Unlike the mountain (which is static) the ocean has a energy of it's own. The important thing to remember is to give the sea life and movement.

7. Ok, so you'll notice my girl's features changed since the original sketch. The first girl had smaller eyes and a poutier lip. I made some edits to suit the client's request. I put the finishing touches to the face, being careful to keep the shading soft and subtle. Overall, turned out great.
So this is my basic design process. I'll post the final version in the next few days when I complete the project. 'Till then, a hui hou! 

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's a blog!

Well look who finally started a blog...
after years of ignoring this page, I finally got my stuff together and gave this space much needed attention. With all the wonderful feedback, questions from students and fellow artists, and all the exciting new projects in store, I thought this would be a great way to connect with everyone.

Please bear with me while I collect images, photos, and other thangs for ya. ALOHA!