It started in Zurich, Switzerland in 1998. Large fiberglass cows were painted into masterpieces by local artists and infused the landscape with color and creativity. Quickly spreading to America, the public art idea evolved and flourished cows in Chicago, salmon in Seattle, pigs in Petaluma, hearts in San Francisco, and geckos in Honolulu, the whimsical collections were later auctioned off to benefit local charities. Anyone living on Hawai’i Island knows that this potent phenomenon arrived in full living color in March, 2008, as It’s a Honu World. Organized by Karen and Errol Kaufman, of Hilo, the program garnered 35 Big Island artists to decorate large sea turtle forms in support of local organizations including the W. M. Keck Observatory. The painted turtles are on display across the island through September, 2008.
Jon Lomberg, one of the world’s leading artists inspired by science, created Cosmic Honu for Keck. Lomberg is a painter who has lived with his family in Honaunau since 1987. Also an Emmy Award winning art director for “Cosmos,” he was deeply involved in Carl Sagan’s work for over 25 years, a journey that culminated with designing the astronomical innovation for the film, Contact.
According to Lomberg’s description on the Honu exhibit page, “The artist has the unique distinction of having created artwork carried aboard 5 different NASA spacecraft. With work now on Mars and far beyond Pluto, Jon Lomberg can claim the title of Earth’s most far-flung and enduring artist. His work will last over a thousand millions years.” Lomberg is also the creator of the Galaxy Garden, a 100 foot diameter walk-through scale model of our Galaxy at the Paleaku Peace Gardens Sanctuary.
Cosmic Honu is currently on exhibit at Keck Observatory headquarters and will be available for purchase at an island wide Honu auction in September. Please visit http://www.itsahonuworld.com for auction details or call Joan Campbell at Keck Observatory at 808.881.3854.
Click the learn more button to read Jon Lomberg’s artist statement for Cosmic Honu.