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Developers: Reef Capital Partners
Project Director: Jon Day
Architect: Agor Architect LLC
Interior Design: Philpotts Interiors

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Introducing T. Christian Wolfe & Decora International

In the spring of this year Federica Stelli of Top Hotel Projects contacted Christian Wolfe, director of Decora International, regarding the Coco Palms renovation project ... especially due to its "historical" design requirements. Decora's primary focus is creating innovative custom bespoke art for the hospitality industry.  That said, with a team of over 100 world-class international artists, Decora can also supply simpler art needs ... especially when at least some aspect of a given project requires custom original work.

One key point of Ms. Stelli contacting Wolfe is the aspect of his longtime residency in the islands, whereby he has gained much notoriety and support of the Hawaiian people and government for his creative endeavors that devotedly focused on honoring the culture's people, mythology, and landscapes.  Wolfe's initial recognition came around the mid 80's with his portrayal of Maui, the Hawaiian Demigod ... which put Wolfe on the map as one of Hawaii's most classically adept painters of their mythology. 

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Kauai Hawaii

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Many projects followed, from public murals to epic-scale events such as Mo'olelo: The Journey that became a Legend.  Over these decades of his utmost dedication to upholding the highest honor for the Hawaiian's sacred culture and mythology Wolfe ultimately gained the respect of some of the island's most distinguished and highly regarded figures, ... from key Kahuna's, such as Frank Hewett, Puna Kalama Dawson, and

"Thomas Christian Wolfe's art has universal appeal."
The Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

Serge Kahili King, ... to politicians, such as Hawaii's Governor John David Waihe'e III, Hawaii Senator Avery Chumbley, House of Representatives Hermina Morita, and Kauai's Mayor Marianne Kusaka, ... to key museums, such as Honolulu Museum of Art, as well as The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.


"Decora delivers a whole new level of hotel art."
Top Hotel Projects

Even his landscapes take you on a journey to ancient times ... where you feel the heartbeat of the island's essence.  As Wolfe conveys: "There's a rich story to be told here ... in this āina, ... and the Hawaiian's art, dance, and music tells this story in countless ways."  Āina, the Hawaiian word for "land", means that which feeds.  It encompasses the Hawaiian's unique worldview of a reciprocal and familial relationship between people and land.  Connection to āina is essential to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of Native Hawaiians.  And this very aspect is what Wolfe instills and portrays in any of his cultural art.

BELOW: Wolfe's oil on canvas "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" .  Honolulu Museum of Art.


Whether teaching children at Kapolei's Seagull Schools to paint a mural, or developing mural designs for the Honolulu Convention Center, storytelling has been at the center point of all his artistic projects.  Above all, Wolfe upholds reverence and utmost accuracy of the island's sacred mythology and history. 


Of Wolfe's 30 years in Hawaii, 22 years were spent on Kauai, where he created a highly successful school and mural company: The Masterworks: Atelier des Beaux Arts, which taught in-depth techniques of the masters in an easy to understand manner.   Wolfe integrated his school with his art focuses by bringing his best students into apprenticeship in his mural company.  In time, The Masterworks went international. 

"Wolfe is a modern-day master for modern-day Medicis."
Jim Edmonds, Principal Broker, Emerald Isle Properties, Kauai


BELOW: Wolfe's watercolor sketch for the ancient Kauai "Valley of the Gods" series.


BELOW: Chuck Larson, Founder and Director of Seagull Schools commissioned Wolfe to do a major mural for the school.
Larson loved Wolfe's concept of "The Storyteller" along with the idea of guiding children to paint his design.
Subsequently, Disney and Sony approached Wolfe to carry the same concept over to Kenny Loggins' "More Songs
From Pooh Corner"
 album cover ... which ultimately received further accolades from Oprah.


LEFT: "The Guardian" Bronze Statue 
for a Lobby centerpiece

RIGHT: "Enchanter" a Kauai estate's
children's bedroom wall mural.


Wolfe's earlier years as a commercial artist gives him the versatility of adapting to completely different styles and requirements for each given project.  For example, when Christie's needed murals throughout their private island estate, they gave one requirement ... being, to "keep everything Roman-themed".  Wolfe borrowed from one of his top art idols, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema to create the various murals throughout the estate.  He also crossed over into interior design with his concept for the in-home theater of creating the sense that you are sitting in the Emperor's booth of a coliseum event. 

"Thomas Christian Wolfe's work is impeccable."
Chris Hemmeter, Hawaiian Destination Resorts Pioneer

BELOW: Wolfe's dome ceiling mural and preliminary sketch for the Grand Room's epic "Orpheus" mural / Christie's estate.


BELOW: Wolfe's creation of the in-home theater of the Christie's estate ~ (interior design and murals).


A Natural Order of Things

The very first step is to conclude the subject matter and message to be conveyed.  In this case with the unique and somewhat controversial situation of renovating the once famous Coco Palms, whereby many of the locals wish it to remain a cultural site -- there is a social advantage to retaining and even revivifying as much as possible the hotel's reputation.  Hence, the "subject matter" is somewhat predetermined.

That said, while showing honor and respect by revivifying the hotel's rich history and memories, a current creation could even raise things up a much higher level ... such as, by portraying an even more inspiring story that pertains to Kauai‘s colorful history and mythology.  Art's greatest purpose is in telling a story.

As they say in Hawaii … Myth is alive … meaning, it is ever-growing and evolving.   

"Wolfe's event takes art to the level of a spiritual experience."
Positive Impact Magazine

Once the subject is concluded, Style, Design, and Execution are all equally important aspects to consider in any project we do.  Style speaks directly to emotions. Whether it's classically romantic, high-realism, illustrative, impressionistic, or primitive, ... style sets the tone and establishes a distinct emotional connection with the audience.  Design at its best ensures that every element serves a purpose and contributes to the overall sense of balance. It's the difference between something that's merely passable as art - versus something extraordinary that moves your soul.  Execution requires tried and true skill, precision, and mastery of one's craft.  It's about bringing the vision to life with confidence and finesse, overcoming any unforeseen challenges, and delivering results that exceed expectations. 



Classical Romantic

On any given project, once the style is established we explore how we would design the overall work.  This is where we show our client examples before any brush touches the canvas.  When the design is approved we basically create in real life the scene we have in our mind, ... and use extensive photography to create the references needed for the final phase.  And this is where effectiveness is truly tested ... as the execution of the prior steps must have full finesse and confidence.

Over the years of working for high profile clients ... from museums to world-class film companies ... in order to stay on the leading edge I've had to develop innovative techniques for achieving museum-quality fine art within our current-day's demanding timelines.  The precise process used is unique to each project.

"For over 25 years thousands of our visitors have been amazed
by Christian Wolfe's mural for our California History wing."

L. Thomas Frye / Chief Curator, The Oakland Museum

BELOW: Wolfe's 10' x 50' oil on canvas mural for The Oakland Museum's Cowell Hall History Wing. 


Classical Romantic



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