Carla Crow

Hana Coast Gallery Maui

From the Artist

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Carla Crow
Painter, Photographer and Printmaker

Born in Chicago in 1946, art has always been an influence in Carla Crow's life. Carla's passion for art flourished when she moved to Maui, Hawaii in the 80's. Working as a flower harvester provided her needs as she kick started her art career. Inspiration abounded in the beauty of the island and its local color and culture. Carla lived and painted on Maui for 25 years. In 2009 her fate landed her in Eugene, Oregon. “I'm in love with the Pacific Northwest. It suits me physically, spiritually and creatively.”


My journey in art has taken me down a paper trail. Nearly 40 years ago, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I discovered Amate Paper, made in small villages by the Otomi Indians of the Sierra Madre Mountains, north of Mexico City. The paper is made in a rich variety of colors and sizes that suited my need for a paper substrate that would inspire and enhance my imagery.

Over the years I developed a deep appreciation and connection with this beautiful material. Amate was first made over two thousand years ago. Made and used by village curanderos, it was associated with religious ceremonies and traditional healing.

The “spiritual” nature of this paper had a particular interest for me. The expression of esoteric and transcendental concepts in my work became connected to its use. Before beginning a new painting, I perform a ritual, selecting the sheet that speaks to me, then sit in meditation with the sheet as the imagery unfolds.

In time, I relocated to Maui and became aware of Hawaiian Kapa, or tapa cloth. This ancient material is made from the same Mulberry plant as Amate but differs in the making process. Kapa is much revered in the Islands, but difficult to acquire.

It naturally developed that I would use Amate to capture the beauty of the islands and their culture. The imagery blended with the organic quality of the Kapa-like Amate, and the alchemy was set in place.

Color became less and less a concern in my paintings. The focus was shape, pattern, and symetrical composition. Influence came from the art of many cultures that I studied and particularly patterns, which I passionately borrowed and applied.

Over the years I experimented with other materials but would always return to my true love, Amate. I tapped into Hawaii's regionally inspired imagery, including the three Fs, fruit, fish. But the work that stood out was the geometric exploration that continued to unfold. A student of sacred geometry and symbolism, I became intrigued with creating meditation pieces that allowed me to express my inner journey through my work. This intention remains true to this day.

It is an honor to have the opportunity to present this collection of my work that reflects my love of the materials and my life on paper.