Opening of a new art studio and gallery at the Queens’ MarketPlace
Natasha Bourlin’s story
Queens’ MarketPlace welcomed a new retail concept focused on creativity when Hawaii Fluid Art opened on May 1, 2021.
A dual-use space, the boutique invites students to tap into their inner artist while finding inspiration in the gallery space which features Hawaiian painters and artisans.
At a time when the retail vacancy rate in Hawaii averages 8% statewide, according to a recent report by commercial real estate services company and investment firm CBRE Group, Inc. , and the pandemic has driven many people out of their homes and into the Internet. shopping, opening a retail space can be a daunting business.
But Maya Ratcliff, owner of Hawaii Fluid Art, takes that risk.
In addition, it offers new jobs to residents of Hawaii, showcases many creations from local artists, and provides them with a sales platform.
“We are delighted to welcome Hawaii Fluid Art to the MarketPlace family of Queens,” said Hanna Bree, Director of Real Estate Marketing. “Hawaii Fluid Art will provide visitors and locals with a unique, immersive art experience with a lasting memory to take home.”
Maya Ratcliff, a professional educational artist, certified art therapist and resident of Waikoloa, opened Hawaii Fluid Art after creating a thriving business, which sprang up in her home during the pandemic. Ratcliff began his artistic career helping people with brain damage to immerse themselves in their artistic talents as therapy. She eventually developed her proprietary fluid art method using acrylic paints and a special casting medium while working from home and at resorts across the region.
Ratcliff has invited small private groups of masked friends and family to his home studio in a bid to brighten up the days hampered by COVID-19. Together, she and the students painted pieces that Ratcliff said often ended up surprising even the most categorically “non-artistic” individuals. From there, Hawaii Fluid Art was born.
As the word spread by students excited to see what they could create, even as beginners, growing demand forced Ratcliff to seek a dedicated space to share his interactive and educational process. Now, she is starting to franchise Hawaii Fluid Art Studios nationwide as well, with plans to expand internationally.
“I feel like anyone can be an artist, and I love to help inspire people and bring joy to people through art,” Ratcliff said. “Fluid art is a fun way to bring people together for a unique experience focused on self-expression. Together, we make the art of well-being.
Ratcliff’s mission for Hawaii Fluid Art is: “To inspire and nourish the human spirit, one painting at a time.” His fluid art technique is taught in several daily classes booked by appointment. In the studio, she shares her specially designed materials and teaches students how to mix and flow paints in a way that forms vibrant works of art on canvas that often mimic nature. Ratcliff also teaches resin art classes, including how to create three-dimensional designs. When finished, students can take their masterpieces home.
“I have found Maya’s fluid art style to be both a liberating and inspiring type of art that is satisfying both to do alone with music or with a group of friends. It’s also fun to do with the kids because you can all get messy and make nice pieces, ”said Amy Gappa, a fluid art student in Hawaii. “I appreciate it because there are a variety of casting styles that all turn into beautiful pieces of unique artwork. It’s therapeutic. I have already made many pieces to give to friends as a sign of love, and this is something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.
Other local artists featured in the Hawaii Fluid Art gallery include Laura Beech Bauer, a fiber artist who weaves natural materials found in Hawai’i to create intricate baskets; Kathy Sprinkle, nature painter and silk scarf artist who uses acrylic and natural mediums; Cherie Sequiera, a Maui-based jeweler who works with precious stones and fine metals; Don Ratcliff, a koa, mango, and monkey pod artist specializing in custom furniture as well as traditional Hawaiian paddles and bowls; and Martin Sanchez, owner of Smart Shark Designs, who paints canvases and wood in vivid colors and island-inspired themes, then donates a portion of each sale to the nonprofit Hawai’i Wildlife Fund.
Hawaii Fluid Art is hosting an open house on June 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Hawaii Fluid Art is open daily at the Queens’ MarketPlace at Waikoloa Beach Resort from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with classes available by appointment. For more information or to schedule classes, visit Hawaiifluidart.com or call 808-344-4878.