Zeke Israel is a gifted artist, musician, and educator whose home and studio are on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The beautiful simplicity and cultural richness of island living has continued to inspire his innovative creativity.
Originally from Vashon Island, Washington, he received undergraduate degrees in art, piano, and education from the University of Washington. He later traveled to New York to receive a masters degree in creative studies from State University of New York. He has been a master teacher and professional musician since 1974. His career as professional artist blossomed with his move to Hawai’i in 1984.
Throughout his lifetime, he has enjoyed explorations in diverse creative endeavors: graphics, painting, clay, sculpture, jewelry, fiber art, earthworks, to name a few. The challenge of using new materials in different ways naturally sparks his creative process. Currently, mastering the ancient Japanese technique of Raku has captivated his creative sparks. “With the inescapable rhythm of the volcanic process underfoot, the pulse of heating, melting, and reshaping that occurs everyday on the Big Island, there has been a captivating inspiration to reflect this process in Raku.”
For many years Zeke has prolifically produced Raku art. He is most well known for his whimsical masks, native Hawai’ian bird masks, and Kahu (guardian) sculptures. For the “Sightlines” exhibit, he expands on the traditional vessel shape to not only represent, but to also elicit the concept of being “full” of a location’s sights and sounds, it’s essence. These locations are primarily those seen in Volcanoes National Park and are echoed throughout the island.