Where Every Day Is A Banner Day

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - September 12, 2007
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Jeff Pagay works on another birthday banner at Airbrush Creations Hawaii
Jeff Pagay works on another birthday banner at Airbrush Creations Hawaii

Painting a portrait on a banner is just one of the ways artist Jeff Pagay has figured he can make a living with his company Airbrush Creations Hawaii. The banners, which are popular at birthday parties, luaus and other festive celebrations, reflect the uniqueness of the celebrant. The banner can also match the theme of the event whether it is cartoon superheroes, butterflies or Mardi Gras.

“I even got five faces to fit on one banner,” noted Pagay proudly. “Some people put balloons on the side of the banners. They are hung with bungee cords on stage or by the table.”

The self-taught artists says the three-foot by six-foot canvas banner should be ordered one to two weeks before the event, although sometimes rush orders might be possible - depending on his workload.

“I was one of those kids who was always drawing as a child,” explains the Moanalua High graduate, who painted a mural of a muscle-bound menehune, the school mascot, in the school gym during his senior year.

In 1982, he started painting fingernails in the International Marketplace in Waikiki. Then he borrowed artist Patrick Ching’s airbrush to airbrush T-shirts, and he did an airbrush sign for the nail shop. In 1986, he started Airbrush Creations Hawaii with a partner. When the partner left in the early 1990s, Pagay continued on his own. He’s even air-brushed flames on a guitar.

He credits his wife Donna for her support. “It is not easy being a small business,” admits the West Oahu resident. “You’ve got to be diverse.”

He has four more extensions of his creativity. In addition to the banners, he also does murals. Sometimes murals are community projects where he serves as the consultant to get everyone else involved or sometimes he works on it by himself. One of the murals he worked on is at the Kulana Malama children’s hospital, where he painted 20-foot murals, and also a three-story high mural at King Intermediate School. A second part of his repertoire showcases his talent as a book illustrator. He’s illustrated at least eight books with local publishers such as Island Heritage, Mutual and Bess. The third leg of his art business is doing fine art work. And the newest branch of his services are faux finishing that he’s done in some private homes and at a church hallway.

For more information, call 225-1161 or log onto www.airbrushcreationshawaii.com


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