Photo by Roger Kea
My love of nature and humanity combined with my love of photography and design have guided me towards what I feel is my higher path in life. I am deeply inspired by spirituality and all of the divine beauty that God has created on this earth and I feel that it is my duty to share this inspiration with others through my art and my creative vision. It is my hope that my art will remind people about how important our natural world is to us and that we, too, are part of it – integrated with it on many different levels from the air we breathe, to the food we eat, to the remedies that heal us.
By integrating my photographs of humans, animals, and other elements of nature, I create fine art photo collages that evoke a world untouched by man-made objects. Through my creations we are reminded that we are one with nature. The organic theme of my art places emphasis on the fact that our natural world provides us with all of our basic needs and an insurmountable abundance of beauty on this earth.
- Carolyn Quan
Carolyn Quan is one of fine art's most innovative, photographic artists. Launching a career in fine art in 2002, Carolyn Quan has already been celebrated by art collector's worldwide from Germany to Japan to Australia. With more than 20 years of professional experience in the commercial art field, Carolyn has transitioned seamlessly into fine art, applying her refined sense of design, composition, color, and technical expertise to the art that she creates. A prolific artist, Carolyn creates fine art photo collages that are a unique combination of her own original photographs that are creatively and artistically blended together and transformed into imaginative works of fine art. Her art is inspired by spirituality and the beauty that she finds in nature and humankind.
An Artist since childhood, Carolyn Quan grew up in Toronto, Canada and earned a degree in Commercial Design and Photography from the Ontario College of Art and Design. She was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship for her fourth year of studies awarded to her by City-TV/MuchMusic, Canada's MTV, along with a summer internship.
After working as a designer in television for 3 years, she moved to New York City to pursue her dream of designing album covers. In NYC, Carolyn was a music industry Art Director and designed album covers for many celebrities, including Barry Manilow, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Yes and the Grateful Dead, to name just a few. She is the recipient of 4 gold records for her creative achievements in the music industry. In 1992, Carolyn began to build her own graphic design company which specialized in the entertainment industry. Clients included PolyGram Video, CBS Radio, Black Entertainment Television, Sony Music, EMI and Warner Music Int’l, amongst others.
In 1997, Carolyn diversified her business and launched a glossy multicultural magazine, Urban Mozaik, which promotes cross cultural understanding and celebrates diversity and is currently published worldwide on the internet at www.multiculturalmagazine.com.
In the year 2000, after 11 years in NYC, Carolyn moved to Maui, Hawaii and since 9/11 has focused her creative endeavors on her fine art. (Click here to read the whole story about how Carolyn's artwork came to be).
In January 2004 Carolyn opened her first art gallery and studio in Lahaina, Maui. In 2005 it transitioned into The Quan Gallery on Front Street in Lahaina - a co-op art gallery featuring six local artists - and on September 11th, 2007, Carolyn opened The Quan Gallery in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, in the heart of Waikiki. The Quan Gallery in Waikiki is her first solo art gallery. Also in 2007, two of her nudes were added to the permanent collection of art at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction founded by world-renowned sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey, in Bloomington, Indiana. She recently re-located her home-base to Honolulu to nurture the Waikiki gallery and to be near family.
Synchronicity, Life and How My Art Was Born
I am often asked about how I came to live in Hawaii and how I started creating the art that I create.
And so the story goes...
In 1999 my mother, whom I was very close to, passed away very suddenly in her sleep while taking a nap. She used to teach the hula out of our home in Toronto, Canada, when I was young child. She had no Hawaiian blood, just a love of the Hawaiian culture and a love of dance. Her stage name was Leilani and she used to perform at cultural centers and shopping malls along with the dance troupe that she formed and taught. Upon her passing, my younger brother decided that he wanted to marry his girlfriend of six years and wanted to get married on Mother’s Day in Hawaii in honor of our mom. So, they whipped a Maui wedding together in a matter of weeks.
During this trip to Maui, I met a total stranger on Front Street in Lahaina. It was love at first sight. We smiled at one another and said a quick “aloha”. That was the extent of our first meeting. And then over the course of the next five days, we bumped into each other another 3 times in different places, some obscure. The third meeting was on the other side of the island while driving 50 mph on the highway in the lanes next to one another. I was in a Jeep with the top off so my hair was flying all over my face and there he was next to me waving his arms around, frantically giving the shaka sign, trying to get my attention. When this happened, I knew that we were meant to meet and to know one another. Fate along with some effort, brought us together one more time on Front Street and then we began a long distance relationship for almost a year while I was living in New York City and he in Lahaina, Maui. In the year 2000 I decided to move to Maui to be with him.
Then on September 11th, 2001 everything changed. The world changed. This was the catalyst that changed the course of my life. Prior to 9-11 I had a thriving graphic design business in the entertainment industry where I telecommuted with clients back in New York City and also in Hawaii. I had built a strong client base back in New York and was able to continue working with them after the move to Hawaii, thanks to the internet. But, after 9-11 my business flatlined, along with countless others. My clientele was primarily in NYC and Hawaii, the two most economically affected parts of the country (Hawaii having been cut off from the rest of the country due to the fear of air travel). I was left with expenses, no income, no work and what seemed to be no hope for more than a year. Phone call after phone call simply resulted in nothing. Businesses were closing left and right. It was devastating. The events of 9-11 and the aftermath left me financially, spiritually, and emotionally broken...emotionally because I was still very connected to New York and my clients, friends and family there.
I had a friend who escaped from the 70th floor and I also had a client who perished on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center. I also lived just 2 blocks away from the twin towers and used to use the towers to focus on for meditations. I would lay on pillows on my balcony and just stare at these magnificent buildings in front of me. It was powerful. So, a shift took place for me after 9-11 and I decided that it was time to follow my heart and just create my art. If I couldn’t make a living doing what I had been doing for over 15 years (graphic design), then I might as well be doing what I absolutely love and am completely passionate about (creating art from the heart). And now, I can truthfully say that if it weren’t for 9-11, I may not have ever found my higher path - a path that has lead me to being able to share my gifts with others - to share my art with the world. Through darkness, there IS light...
Many people ask if I am still with the man that I moved to Maui to be with, but unfortunately the relationship did not work out, but I feel like he was the vehicle - an angel - that brought me to Hawaii, which in turn led me to creating my fine art, which in turn lead me to my higher path. In 2007, I created a photo collage titled “Memories of You” which I dedicated to this wonderful man. He too, suddenly passed away prematurely, at the age of 49.
So, the story continues... I create my art from my heart and observe and ponder upon all that takes place around it, wondering about what is next and where my art will bring me or who it will draw towards me. It’s been an interesting journey so far and I know it will continue to bring even more beautiful memories, beautiful people and beautiful experiences into my life that will serve as inspiration to continue to do what I do and continue to remind me of why I am here.
- Carolyn Quan