Around the Square: Mike Carroll Gallery
Stroll into the Mike Carroll Gallery nearly any day of the week and there’s a good chance award-winning artist and gallery owner Mike Carroll will be painting at the easel.
Mike creates artwork of the island’s iconic landmarks, such as Puu Pehe or Manele Bay, but he also finds striking scenes all over Lanai.
“I see things that make me stop and say ‘that’s beautiful’ or ‘that’s neat.’ What is it about it that grabs me? Sometimes I don’t know. There’s something that just speaks to me and says paint that right now,” Mike explains.
Painting scenes from Lanai that demand to be put on canvas is just the type of art Mike wants to produce and it’s a welcome departure from his past career as a commercial artist.
From Commercial Artist to Gallery Owner
Mike was a trained medical illustrator before moving to Lanai 15 years ago; he has a Master's degree in Medical Illustration from the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His professional work ranged from illustrations that demonstrated techniques for life-changing reconstructive plastic surgery to logo and billboard artwork.
“I was making a living with my hands, which for an artist is great, but I was working on things that weren’t really making me happy,” he says. I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something else. I’ve got to go back to what I really love.’”
For Mike, a vacation to Lanai was the key to getting back into the type of artwork he was passionate about. During that trip, he and his wife Kathy decided to buy a fixer-upper where Mike could paint in oil for two months a year. Renovating the home brought the couple back to the island several times in the subsequent months and they soon decided to move to Lanai.
Mike launched his art career in Hawaii under the iconic Lahaina banyan tree where there still is a bustling art fair. Mike and Kathy soon opened a small gallery on a side street in Lanai City and, after a couple of years, the couple had an opportunity to move to their current space at 443 Seventh Street across from Dole Park.
In the Mike Carroll Gallery
Mike wants to make sure that every guest who visits the gallery is able to take home a nice memory, so there is something for every budget. In addition to Mike’s original oil paintings in a range of sizes, there are notecards from $5 and reasonably priced prints that ship free when three or more are purchased.
For animal lovers, the gallery has dedicated a space to the Lanai Animal Rescue Center (LARC), a non-profit that Kathy founded. Items from LARC, such as T-shirts, go to support the organization.
For those looking for a specific scene from Lanai, Mike paints commissioned artwork. For instance, a honeymooning couple requested he paint the view from their room at the Four Seasons Lanai Manele Bay. Mike was able to recreate and tailor a landscape for the newlyweds so that they had a wholly unique keepsake from their trip.
“It’s a way to give people a personal memory. That’s what it’s all about here [on Lanai],” Mike says. It should be unique and people shouldn’t feel like they’re part of some mass production.”
Art of and From Lanai
In addition to Mike’s original oil paintings and prints, the artwork of roughly 30 artists can be found in the gallery. Award-winning artists from neighbor islands and the mainland often visit Lanai and paint on-island. For example, Billy O’Donnell, who has won both national and international awards, spends four- to six-weeks on Lanai painting plein air (on site) and finishing his work in Mike’s home art studio.
Because the gallery concentrates on art from and of Lanai, it also features talented artists who live on Lanai or are from the island, including:
- Fine art photographs by Brad Bunn, Bill Diersen and Ron Gingerich
- Gyotaku by Joana Varawa
- Handcrafted jewelry made by Diane Belez, Baby Cook, Susan Hunter, Alex Palumbo, and Malia Preza
- Wood bowls turned by Chris Franklin and Mel Pedersen
- Asian antiques curated by Barb McIntire
Visit the Mike Carroll Gallery
Mike aims to honor Lanai with his paintings and invites the community to come into the gallery.
“We want people to come in and take a look. You may see a painting of your house or your neighbor’s house.”
Visit Mike and his friendly staff at the Mike Carroll Gallery seven days a week at 443 7th Street. The store hours are: