When it comes to Hawaii’s culture, Yuko Shinoda personifies the idea of Mālama ‘Āina. Although born in New Rochelle, New York, and raised in Chigasaki, Japan, Yuko holds Hawaii’s culture in high regard. Her brand Honua Ho‘onani reflects her dedication to our land, as it is the ultimate merger between sustainability and art. Honua Ho‘onani serves as both a nursery and woodblock prints shop, and Yuko runs it all while living off the grid in Hana, Maui.
Well known for her woodblock prints, Yuko first learned about the art in Japan when she was in the fourth grade. Her interest in woodblock printing was rekindled after moving to Hawaii in 1996, and to this day, she continues to draw inspiration from the local nature around her. Yuko strongly resonates with the responsibility we have towards our posterity and aims to underscore the value of sustainability when sharing her prints.
Q&A With Yuko
Q: What made you want to live off grid?
A: Always dream of living sustainable organic Lifestyle.
Q: When and why did you first start creating?
A: Since 1996 when I moved Hawaii. I met my Teacher and mentor artist John Costello in Haleiwa, Oahu.
Q: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from to create?
A: All from nature around me.
Q: When did you start woodblock printing? How did you get into it?
A: My very First wood block was in 4th grade japanese elementary school . Then when I moved to Hawaii I met wood carvers and brought back carving again.
Q: Can you tell us a little more about your tie to Western Aloha / how you know Paul & Dale?
A: They found me thru instagram. I love Western Aloha’s concept of Aloha and respecting culture.
Q: Are your children also interested in the creative outlets you practice?
A: Yes. Some drawings.
Q: What were the artistic processes behind the I’iwi & Ulu woodblock prints for Western Aloha?
A: I worked at national tropical botanical garden for 15 years and thru my job ulu and I’iwi were important to Hawaiian ecosystem.
Q: What is the most memorable print you’ve ever made?
A: My very first one was Kalo print. Origin Of everything in Hawaiian
Q: What’s one message you’d love to share with others / the Western Aloha community who will see your page?
A: We live in Hawaii. To respect and learn culture is very important that will leave to next generations. Live sustainable malama aina is my motto. Hope my carvings bring importance of culture.