About Colleen Wilcox

Colleen Malia Wilcox  is an artist based in Honolulu, Hawaii.  She creates acrylic on canvas paintings inspired by life in the islands and Nature's beauty. She enjoys spending time outdoors surfing, swimming, and exploring landscapes filled with tropical plants and flowers. Colleen uses elements of design observed in nature by incorporating vibrant colors, organic shapes and bold lines to create energy and movement. Her artwork features realistic subjects that she stylizes with a whimsical twist. She hopes to inspire feelings of wonder and happiness in those who resonate with her work. 


Q&A with Colleen Wilcox :

If you had to describe your style, what would it be? If you were to explain what your work was all about to someone who has never seen it before, what would you tell them?

I create acrylic on canvas paintings that are inspired by living in Hawaii, the ocean, and nature in general. My current style has mostly come to life in the last few years and I feel that it is constantly evolving. I started out doing really realistic artwork (copying photos mostly) when I was a child/ teenager and more recently decided to work on developing my own style. I began by experimenting with bold lines over watered-down acrylic to try and capture the essence of a subject like a wave or figure. I still use this technique but now I add a lot of detail to my subjects. I like to blend realism with a lot of stylized components from my imagination (for example: a painting may feature a realistic view of Diamond Head but be embellished with whimsical swirly clouds and water). I adore bright colors and curvy, organic lines and am always attempting to create a lot of movement and energy in my pieces. 


When you were young would you have guessed that you would someday be creating art for your livelihood? What were your interests as a kid?

I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. People suggested the idea of art school to me but I ended up majoring in communications (and I actually fell away from art for several years). At the time I didn't see art as a viable career option. After a few years of soul-searching I decided to give being an artist (for my livelihood) a shot and now I couldn't imagine my life differently. 


How would you describe your creative process? Do you pre-conceive your works, or do most of them come to life during the process?

Sometimes I allow myself to experiment without an obvious plan and just let a piece come to life. If I am doing a commission or creating something specific, I know in advance the basic elements that need to be included and will often use a pencil sketch as a base. Even if I have a plan there will likely be surprises as I go and the painting still has a life of its own so to speak. No matter what I am painting, I have recently begun emphasizing to myself the importance of being in the right mindset before working- relaxed, clear, and open. 


You live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Has the city and culture of Honolulu deeply influenced your work, or do you consider yourself someone who operates independent of your homes customs and aesthetics?

Living in Hawaii is the absolute number one inspiration for my artwork. There are really no words to describe the beauty of this place- which is perhaps why I try to paint it instead. I am constantly in awe of the changing colors of the ocean, shapes of coral, tropical flowers, etc. I usually don't paint while out in nature, but instead I spend time observing it by going to the beach, surfing, or maybe walking in the park. I later feel inspired to express those daily experiences into paintings. 


What other artists in the world, past or present, have inspired you? 

I like Gauguin, Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, and in general the styles of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. I love artists of Hawaii like John Melville Kelly, Frank McIntosh, Arman Manookian, Charles Bartlett and other guys that were doing a lot of the ad posters and graphic design here in the first half of the 20th century. I also am drawn to Japanese woodblock print styles like Hokusai. 


What do you see as the purpose of your artwork? What do you hope people see and take away from your work?

I try to create art that is a representation of my love for the beauty of nature and my love for Hawaii. But more so I think it is about capturing a moment, a mood, or a feeling that someone may have while experiencing something beautiful. For example: looking at an awesome sunset or pretty flower can allow someone to feel joyful, alive, and connected in that moment. That is the essence I hope to "bottle up" and express in one of my pieces. If someone can connect to my artwork and have that experience every time they view it, then I have succeeded in its true purpose. 


What are some of the most memorable things people have told you about your work?

I have been told that my artwork makes  people feel happy, uplifted and inspired - which is pretty much as good as it gets for a compliment!



*All original artwork and images are the property of Colleen Wilcox. Any unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited © 2019 Colleen Wilcox 


For questions and business inquiries please use contact form below or email cwilcoxart@gmail.com