Beau Jack Key’s artistic abilities were first noticed at the
age of eleven, when he began creating big game fishing lures on the Big Island
of Hawaii. Being practically raised in and on our pristine Hawaiian waters, Beau Jack honed his fishing skills and formed a deep connection with his ancestors. After many years of this, he was inspired to start
carving Hawaiian fishhooks (na makau).
to master the lashing and cordage of the fishhook, he taught himself these
techniques with the help of books and a lot of trial and error. Today, Beau is a Kumu on this subject, sharing his knowledge openly in classes originally through HOEA (Hawaiian Ohana for Education in the Arts), and now through Waimea Artists’Guild. He is also a 2011 graduate from HOEA. During his time there, Beau Jack began studying different types of ancient Hawaiian adornments. This research gave way to his contemporary version of the kupe’e e’a (turtle shell bracelet) using Hawaiian hardwoods and fossil ivory, with the pattern reflecting the bold
color bands of the Lei Hulu (feather leis).
After refining his design, Beau created two new bracelets; one of which earned him the HOEA award at the prestigious juried art show known as the Piko Awards 2011. Beau has been a MAMo artist since 2012, and in 2013 he was chosen to be one of two poster artists for the Maoli Arts Month (MAMo) artist guide.
Despite these accomplishments, Beau is relentless in his quest to bring forth more treasured adornments worn by his ancestors. Inspired by carvers from long ago, Beau Jack continues to create contemporary pieces in the spirit of the traditional Hawaiian forms.