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DOWNLOAD: Tallett CV 2013
DOWNLOAD: Tallett Press 2013

Artist’s Statement

Our society has a cultural relationship to the land that is constantly being transformed. As a Hawaiian artist, I am driven to convey a personal interpretation of this relationship, to observe, witness and to respond. This involves an intuitive practice of gathering, (information, images and organic material), both from the landscape around where I live and from Hawaiian popular culture. My intent is to explore the blurred lines that define authenticity, where the merging of contemporary culture with that of the natural world becomes a metaphor for native verse nonnative. The resulting work takes form in paintings, photography, sculpture and installation and explores such themes as commodity fetishism, privatization of land ownership and the accumulation of cultural capital.
My current body of work, Militia, references the language, stylized patterns, and finish fetish materials used in Polynesian tattoo and car culture. There are mixed messages that are being sent (by outside forces like corporations) to create a fusion and confusion, mixing Hawaiian culture with counter culture and popular culture. I use those contradictory messages and symbols as material for this body of work… as a tension or opposition between opposing forces or elements.


2001 MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
1996 BA, University of Hawaii, HI
1989 AA, Marymount College, Palos Verdes, CA
1987 HS Diploma, St. Joseph High School, Hilo, HI

Selected Exhibitions

2013 Militia (solo show), SPF Projects, Oahu, Hawaii
2012 AGGROroadshow, Fishcake, Oahu, Hawaii
2011 Artist of Hawaii 2011, Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, HI
2011 alterna-APEC – The Arts at Marks Garage, Honolulu, Hawaii (AGGROculture collaborative work for a group show)
2011 KAGU/AKARI – Fishcake, Honolulu, Hawaii
2011 AGGROculture, Wailoa Center Gallery, Hilo, Hawaii
2010 AGGROculture, The ARTS at Marks Garage, Honolulu, Hawaii
2010 Recent Work, Kahilu Theater Gallery, Kamuela, Hawaii
2008 Everything vs. Nothing, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York
2008 Five Nutshells in a Dream, Wailoa Center Gallery, Hilo, Hawaii
2007 One Winter Story, (16mm), 60min., – Additional Camera- Ocean Film Festival, San Francisco,CA; X-dance Film Festival, Park City, UT; International Surf Film Festival, St. Jean de Luz, France; Surf Film Festibal 04, St. Sebastian,Spain
2006 Blue Cube Art Auction, San Francisco, CA; One Winter Story, (16mm), 60min., – Additional Camera -Mill Valley Film Festival, Mill Valley, CA; Louis Vuittan Hawaii International Film Festival, HI
2004 University of Hawaii at Hilo Alumni Show, Hilo, HI
2003 Surfstyle, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, HI
2003 Blue vs.Blue, Arts at Mark’s Garage, Honolulu, HI
2002 Post-Postcard Show, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
2001 San Francisco Art Institute Auction
2001 Staff Infection, New Nothing Cinema, SF, CA
2000 Fuzzy Logic, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
2000 Surf Trip, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2000 Surf Trip, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF, CA
2000 San Francisco Art Institute Auction, SF, CA
2000 My Valentine, The Dentist’s Office, SF, CA
1999 Tender, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
1999 MFA Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco, CA
1998 National Invitational Works on Paper Exhibition, University of Hawaii at Hilo
1995 “Mapmaking”, Rutger’s University, traveling exhibition

Grants and Awards

2012 Joan Mitchell Foundation Sculptor and Painter Grant
2012 Cultural Apprenticeship Grant, Folk Art Program – Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
2011 Jean Charlot Foundation Award for Excellence – Honolulu Museum of Art

Related Research

2005 – Fabrication and design of carbon fiber/EPS foam canoes for local company (Pineula Va’a)
2004-present –Research, design and tattoo of traditional and contemporary Polynesian patterns. (apprenticeship w/Tattoo Traditions/Tricia Allen)

Professional Experience

2006-present Mahi’ai Creative – Co-Founder of Hawaii based creative studio providing video, photography and design.
2004-2011 Instructor – University of Hawaii & Hawaii Community College – 2D design, Drawing, Painting, Introduction to Art History (Art 101)
2003-2004 Ho’okupono – Head Treatment counselor (school for at risk youth)
1999-2003 San Francisco Art Institute – SFAI Store Manager, managed student employees as well as coordinated ordering, shipping and inventory of art supplies.


Keith Tallett is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Hilo, on the Big Island. He is also a second generation surfboard shaper and tattoo practitioner of traditional Polynesian patterns. The process of making art for him becomes a way of creating dialogue between his cultural knowledge and practices, and his investigations as a contemporary artist. Keith has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He has exhibited at such venues as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles, and Franklin Parrasch Gallery in New York. His professional experience includes lecturing at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Art Department from 2004 – 2011 as well as being a founding member of AGGROculture, a Hawaii based art collective. Keith was included in the 2011 Artists of Hawaii exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art where he received the Jean Charlot Foundation Award for Excellence. He was also awarded a 2011 Cultural Apprenticeship Grant through the Folk Art Program at Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and most recently, a 2013 Joan Mitchell Foundation Sculptor and Painter Grant.

Shaping an agave fish, using wood gathered from Big Island gulches.