Texas-Hawaii artist brings secondhand objects to life at EHCC

  • Courtesy photo "Floe," a 2021 mixed media work by artist Ken Little, will be on display at the "Tight Hide" exhibition at the East Hawaii Cultural Center from June 5 to July 30. The art is constructed from shoes, belts, roller blades, ties, belts, extension cords, and paint on a taxidermied doe.

“Disturbing” and “a bit like Frankenstein” are the words that postmodern artist Ken Little first used to describe his works on view at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in the exhibition, “Tight Hide,” that will open June 5 and run through July 30.

But, says the artist, his friends had a different reaction – they saw humor and pathos in creations like the one that began when he found a tattered deer trophy mount, missing its eyes and nose, at a secondhand shop in Missoula, Montana.

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As he began rebuilding the deer, using an old boot to recreate the nose, he realized he was returning the skin to the animal.

This insight led him to use shoes, boots, and other objects to form his creations, leading people to remark, “how wonderful it would be to see these animals in the wild!”

Having recently retired as a professor of Art in Sculpture at the University of Texas, San Antonio, Little now divides his time between Texas and Kona.

His work shows influences from his time spent in places as diverse as Florida, Manhattan, Montana, and the San Francisco Bay area.

He cites as inspirations musicians ranging from Hank Williams to Thelonius Monk and visual artists ranging from Marcel DuChamp to Eva Hesse.

The opening day of the exhibit will offer an especially rich set of experiences for EHCC patrons, as the opening is being held in conjunction with a “musical open house” where visitors can participate in hands-on demonstrations of Japanese koto and Javanese gamelan instruments, ask questions and sign up for future classes.

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For more information, visit EHCC online at ehcc.org, call 961-5711, or visit the gallery at 141 Kalakaua Street.

Current hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

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