By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Artist Kat Reeder, center, made her LeSportsac debut this month. She's with LeSportsac's Edna Hechtman, left, and Cindy Eastman. Meet the artist from 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 at LeSportsac at Royal Hawaiian Center.
LeSportsac held a press reception on July 20 to introduce its latest collection featuring Kat Reeder's exclusive Hawaiian print "Moana Ahe."
Her fusion of pin-up art and 1960s Tropicalia seems tailor-made for Hawaii, hitting all the nostalgic notes that resonate with many a kama'aina and visitor's image of the islands, with a warm palette and imagery of island girls, ocean and landscapes.
The Peruvian-American illustrator had been working as a graphic artist in Miami and fell in love with Hawaii on vacation, vowing to return to live one day.
"It's a very visual city, with so much color. Miami is very similar but Hawaii is much more romantic. When I came here, I just felt it was home."
Here, she felt confident to quit working for others and work for herself, developing her own style. She had grown up drawing Disney characters and later developed a passion for anime.
Reeder said she'd visited LeSportsac many times, and appreciated their prints, never imagining she would see her own work on their bags one day.
"I wondered how artists got to create these wonderful prints and just kind of hoped and dreamed that maybe one day it would be me, and when they called me I couldn't believe it."
The 2009 Women's Triple Crown poster that caught the attention of LeSportsac.
LeSportsac buyer Edna Hechtman said she had seen Reeder's work on the Women's Triple Crown poster in 2009, then while working with Raiatea on last fall's "Mele" print, realized Reeder also had worked on Raiatea's CD cover, and it cemented the company's decision to seek her out.
Regional sales director Cindy Eastman announced that night, "We've already hit record sales with this print," while explaining that "print" does not entail a single design. "It's not just drawn on one piece of paper. There are a lot of rules involved in putting the pieces together."
Because of the way the bags are constructed, imagery has to be legible in many nooks, and the bag really comprises artwork from four large paintings and two small paintings, all on display that evening.
"It was a lot of effort," Reeder said. "All the parts were drawn independently. There's a lot of texture in my work so I was concerned how it would look, but it turned out fabulous. It looks just like the image, true to life."
Meet the artist from 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 at LeSportsac at Royal Hawaiian Center. At that time, you may win pieces from the Moana Ahe Collection, including a first prize travel set, second prize handbag, and third prize cosmetic accessory. Entries are being accepted now through that evening. Call 971-2920 for more information.
The Moana Ahe collection, comprising six of Kat Reeder's paintings, some of which are shown below.
In a sneak preview, LeSportsac also showed Kat Reeder's design, launching in October 2012, "Paradise Bloom."