Native to the Land


Rosina Potter, art director at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, discovers local artist Gregg Kaplan, who is modernizing Hawaiian traditions.

Artist Gregg Kaplan in his studio. Photos courtesy of Gregg Kaplan.

ARTIST GREGG KAPLAN’S work embodies his very personal connection to Hawaii. His Upcountry Maui home and studio offers views of the Mauna Kahalawai, Haleakala, the deep valleys and adjoining coastlines. As a father of three, Kaplan raises his family alongside his wife, Jeannette, much in the same way he was raised on the north shore of Maui in Kuau—with an appreciation for the land, the water and the creative process.

Influenced by the symbolism found in Hawaiian iconography like kapa, quilts and aloha shirts, each piece shows his unique spin and represents
a modern interpretation of Hawaiian paradise. He produces a new ideal for the viewer through the use of bright colors, bold accents and a range of textures and creates without limitations by utilizing a wide variety of mediums and materials, resulting in beautiful works deep with meaning.

Mixed Plate by Kaplan that was commissioned for the Elite Suites at the Four Seasons Maui. Photos courtesy of Gregg Kaplan.

Along with various exhibitions in Hawaii, California, Australia and Japan, he has collaborated on signature product lines with Vans, Stance, Dakine and Beams Japan. His work is currently installed at Town Kaimuki and Surfjack Hotel on Oahu and on Maui at the Four Seasons Wailea, Dakine Haiku and Holoholo Surf.

A great influence in Kaplan’s life was the time he spent at the Pauwela Cannery in Haiku, Maui, thanks to his creative parents. Originally built to process pineapple grown in nearby fields, Pauwela has become home to a variety of industries since the early ’80s. The cannery is filled with surfboard shapers, windsurf sailmakers, carpenters, fabric designers and other creatives —and each impacted Kaplan’s unique view of modern island culture. – Rosina Potter

Blade Flipper a six-foot mixed-media piece. Photos courtesy of Gregg Kaplan.