A Celebration of Life and Art: Honoring the Legacy of Dietrich Varez

January 13, 2019 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Volcano Art Center Ni‘aulani Campus
19-4074 Old Volcano Road
HI 96785

Varez 05 pixA Celebration of Life and Art: Honoring the Legacy of Dietrich Varez

Sunday, January 13, 2019 | 1 – 3pm

You are invited to a special event in honor of Dietrich Varez, who carved a deep appreciation and understanding of Hawaiian values and lifestyle through his art.

Volcano Art Center announces a very special event on Sunday,  January 13th, from 1-3pm to honor the life, art and legacy of Dietrich Varez.  Varez passed away peacefully in Hilo on August 14, 2018.  The public is invited to attend a casual gathering to bid Aloha to the man who carved a deep appreciation and understanding of Hawaiian values and lifestyle through his art and writings.  Dietrich was a husband, father, friend, artist and author in his lifetime. 

Varez is best known for his extensive collection of linoleum-block and screen printed images of which over 250 have been published.  Each image would begin with reading and research.  A particularly colorful or visual passage in a legend was often the stimulus.  Based on oral traditions, some of the images produced by Varez can be viewed as the first visualizations of these myths and legends.  Shunning publicity and working in simple fashion, Varez shaped his strong personal expression of Hawai`i.  By nature a quiet and private man, he lived with his wife Linda (also a noted painter) in a remote rain forest setting near Volcano on Hawai`i Island.  Several miles of poor roads preserved the tranquility and privacy required for his prolific collection of block prints, original painting and books to be created. 

The subject matter in most of Varez’s work is inspired by traditional Hawaiian legends, integrating mythological figures in scenes with flora and fauna typical of the diverse Hawaiian environment.  He boldly outlines the adventures and passions of his Hawaiian cast of characters in his direct and unmistakable style. Varez was greatly influenced by the early print makers of Japan and shared their belief that art is for the people.  For over 40 years, Varez produced new print images year after year, personally printed each image by hand, refused to number his prints and maintained extremely affordable prices. In Dietrich’s own words “I’ve made many fans and friends abiding by this philosophy of availability.  Prints make it possible to bring art into the life of almost everyone.”  Dietrich reluctantly retired from his printmaking process in 2016.  His print images continue to be offered as fine art giclee reproductions at affordable pricing through the Varez Legacy Program offered by the Volcano Art Center.  The Legacy Program also offers a beginning printmaking class every Monday at VAC using linoleum blocks hand carved by Varez.  The books he illustrated and also authored are also still available at the VAC gallery and at Petroglyph Press in Hilo.  Varez’s work will be recognized for years to come, his is spirit will live on through his works. 

 Varez CelebrationFrontFINALVolcano Art Center encourages all those who have been touched by his story as told through his prints, paintings, books and illustrations to attend the event which will be held in Dietrich Varez Hall at the VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.  Refreshments will be provided.  VAC will be collecting condolences and sentiments of appreciation to share with the Varez Ohana.  Monetary donations for the Varez Legacy Program, as well as live plants for the Varez homestead will also be accepted.

Questions may be directed to Emily C. Weiss at (808) 967-8222 or via email at gallery@volcanoartcenter.org.


  1. says

    I was saddened to hear of Mr. Varez’s death. We never met him but it was a great fortune for us when we visited in January of 2017, VAC was having an exhibition of his work. We purchased a beautiful oil Mr. Varez had made of Hina bringing the wind and the stars. When I saw the piece it brought tears to my eyes with its beauty. My wife found that as sufficient reason to purchase it for me. We also found a beautiful unnumbered print Hina. After talking with two wonderful gallery staffers we also obtained a copy of Hawaiian Volcanoes by Westervelt and Mr Varez’s incredible prints communicating such wonderful understanding and expression of Hawaiian culture and mythic history.

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