Cynthia Conrad is a painter in the realistic tradition. “My work mimics life, but I put a twist on it. I change the point of view or I inject surprising elements into the composition – items that may add wit or humor. I love to present a different kind of perspective, so the viewer has to look at everyday objects in a new way.”
Born in the San Francisco Bay area, Conrad graduated from the University of California, Berkeley campus, in the turbulent sixties with a B.A. in painting. The experience afforded her the opportunity to study with some influential artists: R.B. Kitaj, Peter Voulkos, David Simpson and Ron Nagel to name a few. “The art scene in those days was exciting and revolutionary – especially with all the political activity going on around us. We were very innovative and free; no idea was too far-fetched.”
Conrad moved to Maui in 1970 and and began a career in commercial art, primarily in advertising and graphic design. “I think my eye is kept sharp by the two types of creativity: fine art gives me aesthetic pleasure, but commercial art reminds me that I have to get my point across directly and that I have to have a ‘hook’.”
Hawaii, and all her beauty, influence Conrad’s art. “I enjoy collecting and painting vintage Hawaiiana. The period after WWII intrigues me because tourism was just blossoming and the aloha spirit was sweet and sincere. I’m trying to recapture that innocence in my paintings and to remind people of those ideal times – perhaps even to perpetuate that spirit of true aloha.”
Many organizations have commissioned or published Conrad’s work in poster form, including Maui United Way, Kapalua Music Assembly, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui Nurserymen’s Association and Art Maui. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has purchased several of her works. Conrad also curated 1993’s successful “Feast or Famine” exhibit at Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center which featured 45 of Hawaii's notable artists and the 1998 “Feast or Famine II” exhibit at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Schaeffer Gallery which featured 120 prominent artists from Hawaii. Both Feast or Famine art shows raised funds for the Maui Food Bank.
Conrad has shown her work in numerous exhibits throughout the state and in California. She served on the Board of the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center and is active in community affairs involving the arts. She was a long-time board member of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and was a juror for the 2003 Schaeffer Portrait Challenge.
Her original work can be seen in Maui galleries and in private collections. Conrad’s posters are available at art galleries and poster outlets online. For more information write: firstname.lastname@example.org