Popular Hawaiʻi artist, author and designer Patrick Ching is known as “Hawaiʻiʻs Nature Artist,” and with good reason. His beautiful paintings and designs reflect a happy childhood roaming the upland forests of Pauoa Valley on Oʻahu. Patrick counts his time as a ranger at Kīlauea lighthouse on Kauaʻi and living among sea turtles and monk seals as some of his most treasured memories.
In addition to being a working artist, Patrick is a successful entrepreneur. He runs art schools and galleries under his company name, Naturally Hawaiian,
We are pleased to share our interview with Patrick with you.
For those who haven’t met you yet, tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in 1962 at Queen’s hospital. I became a teenaged punk and went to Outward Bound (Hawaii Bound) program for juvenile delinquent kids at age 16. It was there I decided to be a wildlife artist, and the direction for my life work was set. I became an artist and author and now host a tv show called Painting in Paradise on Spectrum oc16tv.
Where did you grow up? What high school did you grad?
I grew up in Pauoa Valley through 6th grade, then Moanalua Valley and graduated Moanalua High School 1980.
Go Menehune! Why did you become an artist? Did you always knew you could create art?
I always drew and painted but never considered it a career until my Hawaii Bound instructor ask me if that could be my calling. Then, I said to myself that I will make my living as an artist, or die trying.
We are so glad this is working out! What do you enjoy most about creating art? What are some of your greatest challenges?
I am now living the artistʻs dream I had when I was a young artist. There were many hard years between then and now. The financial challenges of paying bills burdened me heavily, especially when I owned art galleries.
In addition to being an artist, you have done illustrations for children’s books.
Do you have any plans to illustrate more books for kids?
Yes, I love making books, and that is a big part of plans for the future.
Many readers might recognize you from your popular series on tv and streaming. What do you like best about teaching?
I love if I can help multi-generation families do art together.
What are your hopes and dreams for the year and beyond in terms of your artistic career and what you would like to see in the future?
I’d like to bring art to those who will feel better when they see my art, or feel better when they create their own art.
Besides your website and your YouTube channel, are you active on social media?
Your art is so expressive and vibrant. If you had to choose a favorite project, which would it be and why?
I love teaching art through TV. Painting in Paradise.
What beliefs is your work challenging?
I challenge the belief that I should focus or specialize. I DO focus…on everything.
In addition to books, what other kinds of art do you do?
I make ceramic, comics, and murals.
Can you share a bit about what you’re working on next?
A wide variety of projects keeps it fun for me.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Decide: do you want to be a recreational artist or a professional or both?
What do you enjoy doing in your down time?
I go surfing early mornings. Then work day and night. I love working.
Mahalo nui loa for sharing your work with us, Patrick!
To learn more about Patrick Ching and to see a gallery of his art and photos of his students, visit his website at Patrick Ching.com.
Images courtesy of Patrick Ching.