Bringing Artists Together

Kauai Society of Artists members Louda and Gilles Larrain believe there is an artist in everyone.

“People have talent, but it’s like a dynamite stick – you need a match to light it up,” says Gilles Larrain, who has photographed the likes of jazz musician Miles Davis and American Ballet Theatre’s Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The veteran photographer and his fashion designer wife, Louda, are providing that match, and they are on a mission to encourage more people to tap into their imaginations and create what inspires them. The duo moved to the island only six months ago but already are making a colorful splash in the artistic realm by bringing local crafters together and inspiring them to share their work. Not only do they volunteer for KSA, but they also helped found a new group, Kauai Art Factory, to bring even more artistic talent together.

“But it’s still a baby – it’s not working yet, it’s still in diapers,” jokes Gilles about the new organization.

Still, no doubt the Larrains already are collaborating with artists and using their decades of experience to unite and inspire creators of all varieties. Louda especially is interested in attracting more attention to KSA’s Gallery at Kukui Grove Center, which currently is showcasing the exhibit “Small Work, Big Show,” in which small-scale works of art created by local talent are on display through Jan. 3.

“I want to bring some energy to this place,” says Louda, dressed in her own brightly designed clothing during an interview at KSA’s gallery.

Louda creates vibrant, one-of-a-kind clothing and has worked for labels such as Channel Couture throughout her career. Originally from Siberia, where her parents moved to escape the Nazis, Louda achieved an education in fashion before moving to cities such as Moscow, Paris and New York to pursue her career. Luckily for us, she has brought her abilities with her to the island and has displayed some of her latest work, which now includes soft sculptures, at KSA gallery.

“This is what I do; it’s my means of expression,” she says. “I can’t believe I still pay my bills with this after all these years.”

She is hoping more people will be willing to participate in upcoming shows and visit the gallery, which is open daily.

“Art is therapy,” she explains.

Louda also plans to coordinate a Kauai Art Factory fashion show with Kauai’s UnderGround Artists (KUGA) in May 2014 during the Love Life festival. She dreams of turning Kauai into a fashion destination.

“I think it is very possible, because every buyer wants to come here, especially in the winter,” she says.

Still, her ultimate goal is to band together local artists, which she currently is achieving through her voluntary work with KSA, a nonprofit that conducts three major exhibitions each year, with intentions to lease out the gallery to host individual artists’ shows in the coming months.

Katy Zeidner, an artist and chairwoman of KSA’s current exhibition, is happy to be a part of the organization, which is celebrating its 30th year.

“I always meet the most fascinating people and they all have stories; the art engages them,” says Zeidner, who enjoys greeting guests at the gallery.

She admits, however, that it takes many people to make the group tick.

“Everybody’s doing their part,” she says.

Zeidner agrees with the Larrains that everyone has an ability to create art, and she recommends that people submit their work no matter what their level of expertise or genre. In fact, because ocean and island art are so common on Kauai, KSA is the perfect chance for artists to showcase alternatives.

“This is an opportunity to make people feel good and lift their spirits, and do something for yourself as well,” says David Dinner, an artist and KSA member.

To find out how to become a member of KSA and for more information about the club, visit

Photos by Coco Zickos