I first met Sergio Garzon when I moved back to Hawaii three years ago. He’s a wiry artist with a passion for fish, woodblock carvings, melted wax, figure outlines and matted human hair.

Born in Colombia, he somehow wound up in one of Honolulu’s premier artist lofts to entomb himself in a catacomb of casual creation. There, something seemingly unexpected happened to him, like a Tinder date turned soulmate. In his creation lair, his works have been piling up, just like the list of Honolulu’s most eclectic, creative heathens and heartthrobs who have passed through his studio, and Garzon has accumulated a collection trove of one of the Islands’ most interesting bodies of work.

Before we discuss his creations, however, I would like to disclose more about my personal relationship to the artist. I first met him on a visit with the co-owners of Barrio Vintage before they had opened their storefront. I was taken aback by his hospitality, genuine excitement about life and the frequency that I had encountered his works in high-profile local art showings.

But it wasn’t until a First Friday opening of artist co-op Fishmarket, which he co-founded, that I saw his works in a completed state. I’ve been lucky to get to know this man and develop a friendship with him over long conversations about inspiration, aspiration and innovation.


Although most widely known for his large-scale woodblock pressings that require a closed-off city street and a steamroller to produce, he recently has returned to producing vivid watercolor/pen drawings (like his Kakaako Park, pictured above). Some of them have been geotagged so that, through a smart-phone app, the illustrations become a video of the location, landscape or image captured by his pen and brush pigmentation. His floor-to-ceiling portraits of Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein were one of the highlights of the Halloween show at The ARTS at Marks Garage — and were both unmistakably him as much as they were them.

You can catch a glimpse of his evolution at the 2015 staff exhibition at Honolulu Museum of Art School at 1111 Victoria St. The work is on display now and will be up through Jan. 16. The show features works from the passionate creators who make the school’s programs possible — and make the museum more than just a stagnant gallery, but a place to inspire the next generation of artists to fill its walls and create our city’s creative sense of time and place.