Kim Taylor Reece

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - June 08, 2011
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Photo courtesy Kim Taylor Reese

Artist Kim Taylor Reece’s joyous, lighthearted personality has helped him work cohesively with the hula dancers he uses as a focal point for the majority of his artwork.

“A lot of people ask me why I don’t work more with natural scenery. I really enjoy working with people; I always want to have a good time and make them feel good,” says Reece. “I think that emotional contact or interaction has an impact on who sees the artwork later.”

Featured on MidWeek‘s cover April 12, 1989, Reece - who has been studying hula kahiko for more than 30 years - would like to see the art of hula progress more like it has for Tahitian dance.

“There is no ancient Tahitian dance because it was never banned or stopped by missionaries,” he says. “It is a living thing that has always grown and developed on its own. I would like to see Hawaii and hula go in that direction, where the dance just blooms or expands itself and goes into more of a living dance growing on its own.”

As for his photography, Reece’s success lies in allowing each dancer’s natural movements guide each photo shot.

“I don’t give a lot of direction. What I have found is if I just let them go they get into a meditative state, and if I am lucky I can capture more of the impactful parts of the dance that someone can relate to on an emotional or artistic level,” he says.

Reece has taken time recently to get back to his original art expression. “I actually took a year off, shifting from film photography, shut down the darkroom and went back to painting,” he says.

Since digital cameras have become the way of photography, Reece has been working aggressively on a new portfolio. He has since taken the time - or his wife Kanoe has more or less forced him to take the time - to get adjusted to the digital age of photos.

“Kanoe is a computer whiz, and I drove her nuts asking her stuff over and over, so she signed me up for a class at The Apple Store,” he says. “I am enjoying it now.”

Kim Taylor Reece works that will soon be on sale include the 2012 keiki and kahiko calendars and a new Hilo Hattie T-shirt line that he is really excited about. “The T-shirt line is pretty cool; it is more of a silhouette of the dancer, and inside we’ve embedded a tribal tattoo-type print - kind of new and interesting,” adds Reece, who doesn’t like to disclose most of the locations for his shoots, but says that areas in Laie and Punaluu have some incredible beaches. For more information on Kim Taylor Reece photography and gifts, visit


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