Making Waves

A new art feature that American Savings Bank launched last week finds all 57 branches in the state displaying the work of local photographers and artists flanking the bank’s kalo leaf logo. Numero uno to be on view through early March is Hawaii’s own ocean wave photographer extraordinaire, Clark Little. As if anyone in the world didn’t know, he’s the man whose ultra-crisp still shots of fanning, foaming, tunneling waves caught in a permanent crystalline dance – in sometimes surprising purple, orange and sandy hues – make the “pure stoke” that surfers experience when riding a barrel accessible to the rest of us more earth-bound mortals.

Clark Little stands beside the new American Savings Bank logo featuring his photographs at the Jan. 29 Makiki branch program kick-off

A&S caught up with Little at the bank’s logo launch:

A&S: You’ve been busy … a new exhibit in Tokyo, some work with Macbook Pro.

CL: I’ve done a lot in the last few years, from working with Apple computer on a couple of shoots – they flew me to Tahiti – and then working on an exhibit with the Smithsonian. And being featured in Hawaii at the best bank, in all its locations, is insane!

A&S: Have you always had a knack for photography, or did it really happen when your wife asked for a picture of the ocean to go on the wall?

CL: Everyone to some degree loves photography, but when my wife asked for the picture, that’s when I really took it to the next level. I love the ocean, I love waves and I love putting myself in the shore-break waves. It was basically learning the camera. I never intended for it to become my career, but I did start doing it full time four or five years ago. We’re very grateful, my wife and I, and we’ve got two kids … I’m living the happy life in Hawaii, to say the least.

A&S: Which passion is bigger, surfing or photography?

CL: Photography is, 10 to one. That’s what I live for is going out there and getting that perfect picture. Being in the wave still, but not necessarily riding it, just sticking my hand out and getting the picture as the wave barrels over – that, to me, I get the same feeling a surfer does for five hours when I’m out shooting for five hours. I get out of the water all refreshed and excited to actually see the images. Surfing, you see the images in your mind, but when you go home, you only have that memory for so long. If you take pictures inside the tube and bring them home, you get a double whammy. Then, you’ve got those images to look at again and the same excitement comes up, and you can share it with people all over the world who enjoy the waves and beauty of Hawaii.

A&S: Do you have a favorite beach?

CL: I love the North Shore. I’ve lived there most of my life. The sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous, and the water color is exceptional. The coconut trees, the mountains … that’s my place. Not specific spots, the whole North Shore. That’s home to me, that’s where I want to be, out there capturing beautiful images and, of course, with my family.

It’s easy to see why Little would be chosen for the inaugural exhibit, and executive vice president of retail banking Margaret Pettyjohn confirms: “Clark is certainly world-renowned and he has won lots of great awards. We were looking for someone who encompassed all of what Hawaii represents and offers, and he is a great representation of the ocean and shoreline.” She says Little’s works will vary from branch to branch.


Dashing Sir Roderick (Wesley Lambert) introduces himself to imprisoned damsel Rapunzel (Jessica Cruz), while his hair-obsessed sidekick Edgar (Kiefer Harrington) looks on

Why are children so enamored by the story of Rapunzel? It’s the mystique of that hair, long and thick enough to climb. Oahu theater luminary Ron Bright, who professes to be “not retired, just tired,” directs the latest fun family romp at Paliku Theatre, Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale (Feb 9-17, This not-yet-published musical, by the same creators of last year’s How I Became a Pirate, centers around Edgar (Kiefer Harrington), the shining knight’s (Wesley Lambert) hairdresser sidekick. Edgar is on a quest for the most fabulous head of hair, and surely, thinks knight Sir Roderick, it will be attached to a most lovely princess. Meanwhile, Jessica Cruz’ hopelessly upbeat, golden-voiced Rapunzel pipes out a chirpy tune about each “very lovely day” – by the third time, it’s truly a laugh-out-loud moment. There’s always a deliciously evil aunt/enchantress, and Zenia Zambrano Moura plays hers to a T, with the best number in the play, It’s All About Me. Relishable songs include a conundrum on what rhymes with Rapunzel. Threading it all together is the expertise of Leonard Villanueva, charmingly expressive in character and gesture, perfect as the narrator/dragon.