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Brightly-colored surfboards line the lawn at Ron Artis’ Haleiwa art gallery. They’re not meant for riding but rather, serve as canvases of artistic expression and creativity in this historic surf town. Although the man behind the works has since passed, the memory of Ron Artis continues through this colorful North Shore gallery.
As long as Ron was around, his surfer friends knew that an old or damaged board would never go to waste. They often donated their old boards to the artistic cause, from which Ron transformed into a one-of-a-kind creation. Additionally, he has painted more than 900 murals throughout the community, including dozens along Oahu’s North Shore.
Upon entering the Haleiwa gallery dubbed “Resurrection City,” you’ll first notice the resurrected boards. They almost look like tombstones across the lawn – which isn’t too far-fetched of an idea. The boards have paid their dues in the ocean, and now it’s their time to rest in peace and paint.
In addition, you can’t miss the equally-festive vehicles parked outside of the shop. An old school bus and dilapidated truck have also turned into Ron’s canvases. I especially liked the bus art because portraits of famous surfers have been painted on the windows, including Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons. At the top, next to the once-flashing lights, it reads: “ART…IS.”
Playing off of his last name, “Art…Is” has been a running theme for Artis’ business. He left behind a wife and 11 children, who you’ll most likely meet if you visit his gallery today.
They’ve not only continued to run the shop, but they’ve also kept the unique sounds of their family band alive. The Ron Artis Family Band jams together at the music studio nestled inside of the gallery. If you dig their jazz-funk style, like I did, you might pick up a CD or keep an eye out for their performances around town.
• 66-246 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712 • 808-637-1211 • www.ronartis.com