An Interview with Max Lemaire of Infinite Arts Gallery
Sunlight spills unto the steep, rugged crevices of the Nāpali Coast, casting bright, rainbow beams of light unto the dark green peaks and deep blue caverns. The clear, aqua waters shimmer like sparkling diamonds, cradling the soft sand that shifts into deeply-carved rocky cliffs.
Illumination moves and dances, spreading light across the dramatic coastal landscape, creating a sacred symphony unlike any other, unique breath by breath, moment by moment. In Max Lemaire’s case, it’s stroke by stroke as he paints, capturing the enchanting light and brilliance of transient moments in time on the iconic Nāpali Coast.
Holo Holo sits down with the incredibly talented artist Max Lemaire of Infinite Arts Gallery in Hanalei for a glimpse into the magic and inspiration behind his artwork, his collaboration with Holo Holo, and his captivating Nāpali Coast paintings.
Max: I’ve been painting for about 25 years. I started in high school in New Hampshire and went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for college. I focused on painting, drawing, and printmaking.
I opened Infinite Arts Gallery in 2015. I was already doing art markets, and there was an opportunity to take over a space, so I made the leap. At the time, my art was more surreal and visionary. Having countless hours sitting at the gallery in Hanalei staring at the mountains, I started my painting love affair with Kauaʻi’s unique landscape.
Holo Holo: How do you choose what to paint, and what motivates you to paint?
Max: I look for what I call the “Hallelujah Moments” – the times when the light is just right, and it transforms a beautiful place into a stunning moment that takes your breath away. The choice of colors and composition is very intuitive and comes from 25 years of art making.
Holo Holo: In what ways does Kauaʻi and the Nāpali Coast inspire your work?
Max: I’m constantly inspired by Kauaʻi and especially the Nāpali Coast. As anyone who’s been on a boat tour will tell you, it’s mesmerizing and so overwhelming. I take photos and search for a moment within the massive tableau that speaks to me and conveys the quality of light out there. From that initial inspiration, I spend 60-400 hours on a single painting, layer after layer, to create a window into a moment on Nāpali.
Holo Holo: How has your work been impacted by your experiences on Holo Holo Tours? How did you team up with Holo Holo Charters?
Max: I’ve done several boat tours with Holo Holo, and every time the light is a little different, and I notice new compositions and qualities of the coast. I take my cameras with me and hunt for the next paintings, often storing a list of future potential paintings and memories. Kit [Holo Holo’s Creative Manager and Photographer] was really the connecting dot with Holo Holo; his eye and experience were really in alignment with my inspiration, and he encouraged me to work with Holo Holo.
Holo Holo: Our remarkably talented teammate, Kit Furderer, captured three stunning images of the Nāpali Coast from Holo Holo’s catamaran that you used as source images and transformed into the breath-taking “Timeless Light Collection.” Will you please tell us more about this Collection?
Max: I’ve been friends with Kit for about 10 years, and he’s managed to capture the quality of the light streaming through the clouds and the atmosphere so well on the Holo Holo Charters. He’s also been gracious enough to share these moments with me as an inspiration point for three paintings. The presentation of each painting is completed with a unique wood frame I build specifically for that piece.
This Collection focuses on the “Quality of Light” as the true subject of the paintings. That moment of light is brief and dynamic. It reveals the dramatic folds and textures of Kauaʻi’s Nāpali Coast.
Millions of years of wind, rain, and crashing waves have sculpted lava into ancient organic cathedrals that shape-shift in the ever-changing light. The scenes are fleeting moments in a timeline of unreasonable proportions. This body of work is from the last few years.
Atmosphere and lighting effects are achieved with careful planning of many transparent paint layers. Each piece takes many sessions of painting that happen over the course of months. For a person, that feels like a long time. For a mountain, it is not even a breath. The light has come, reflected through our world, and gone faster than we can perceive.
Max Lemaire’s Gallery is located at 5-5190 Kūhiō Hwy. in Hanalei and is open Tues-Sun and by appointment. Originals and prints are available, as well as convenient shipping.
What are you waiting for? The word is out! Get yourself a piece of the magic, and bring the radiant light and timeless beauty of the Nāpali Coast into your home.