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by Danielle Marcotte, JOUR 3000

 


The interaction between Dean Kline and Kimberly Binkle is a testament to how well they balance each other.

The two friends met in a marine biology class during their first semester at HPU. They quickly learned they had a number of things in common: both were the only children in their respective families, both were far from home, and both loved both science and art. They became roommates and developed a strong friendship that grew into a fraternal bond. Now they not only finish each other’s sentences, but also complement each other creatively. Their joint creative efforts, and successes, reflect the support – filial and artistic – they show each other.

Kline and Binkle presented their photo mosaic, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” inspired by famed Hawai‘i musician Jack Johnson’s music video of the same name, at the Hawai‘i Loa campus gallery’s HPU Ohana Exhibition this fall. The art show was the first for both students, and their work sold for $800.

The two began creative collaborations early in their friendship when Kline used Binkle, a 22-year-old junior from Texas, as a model for many of his photographs. This arrangement soon developed into an artistic partnership.

“ We were always into pictures,” Binkle said.

Specifically “non-color Hawai‘i pictures,” added Kline, since both prefer these to the color-saturated, commercialized photos that are commonly displayed to promote the islands’ beauty.
In fact, Kline, a 19-year-old sophomore from Virginia, had taken the photo that he and Binkle would ultimately use for their photo mosaic almost a year before they decided to use it in the larger piece.
Binkle credited Kline with the initial idea for the project. While watching Johnson’s video, Kline noticed that the focal point at the video’s conclusion was a tree. Several of Kline’s photographs of Waimanalo incorporate trees. The video’s artistic theme of the tree is presented via a sequence of individual tiles pieced together to create the complete picture of the tree. Kline believed he and Binkle could manipulate one of their pictures in much the same way, forming a photo mosaic of a tree washed up onto a sandy beach, with small islands and headlines dotting a distant horizon.

“ We narrowed it down to three [pictures] and just picked our favorite,” Kline said.

Binkle and Kline then modified the original picture, which was taken with a Kodak Easy Share 5.1 mega pixel camera, by using Adobe PhotoShop to crop and straighten the image and then to change the color scheme to black and white.

Binkle then purchased Poster-Printery 4.0 online at download.com. The $16 software program allowed them to enlarge the original picture file to five feet by seven feet. Then they used Binkle’s Hewlett-Packard All-in-One printer to print the photograph – a total of 50 pages that they pieced together using double-sided tape to create their super-sized picture.

They each had different visions of how the piece should ultimately look. Kline wanted to mimic the tree in Johnson’s video by breaking down each individual section of the enlarged photograph and framing them separately before putting them into a mosaic order. Binkle preferred to preserve and emphasize important sections, framing larger contiguous portions and then accenting them with the remaining smaller pieces.

They decided to use Binkle’s suggestion, focusing on key images and complementing them with the additional sections.

“ I was so nervous,” Binkle said. “We had this beautiful 5-by-7 picture, and now we’re going to cut it.”

But cut it they did. The duo worked for almost 14 hours straight, trying various layouts before achieving their final 18-piece vision. The finished mosaic features black and white frames, bought for a total of $120 at Ben Franklin Crafts store. These define the layers of the photograph: larger sections are accented by smaller individual pieces.

“ We felt inspired, compelled to finish it,” Kline said.

“ Obsessed,” Binkle added, laughing.

At the time the pair was making the piece for their personal use, planning to hang it in their apartment. However, artistic enthusiasm prompted them to consider what it would be like to have the opportunity to show the piece in a gallery, and this coincided with a notice on the University’s internal Web site, HPU Pipeline, calling for submissions by students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to the art gallery board to be selected for display at the HPU Ohana Exhibition.

“ I wouldn’t have entered the piece if Kim hadn’t pushed me to do it,” Kline said.

Lynne Led-ward, assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs, is a member of the gallery board—comprised of HPU faculty, local artists, and gallery curators—that selected pieces for the exhibit. “Basically, we like to give the students a chance to show their work, along with faculty and alumni,” Ledward said of selection criteria for the exhibit, which opened at the Hawai‘i Loa campus gallery last July 31 and ran through Sept. 23.

The exhibit featured approximately 25 artists, according to a Sept. 14 article in Windward People, and included, in addition to photography, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media pieces.
“ This year we had a real range of talent….Some of the pieces were extraordinary,” according to HPU art history Professor Jerome Feldman who was quoted in the article.

Kline and Binkle said they were very excited to be among those artists whose pieces were selected for the exhibition, which Ledward noted had been moved from its usual March opening to July to coincide with the University’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

Francis Kirk, director of activities at the Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki, added to the excitement for Kline and Binkle when she purchased the piece for $800. Kirk plans to display the work in her office, and according to the artists, she has commissioned them to create another composition specifically for her residence.

Binkle and Kline say they continue to approach their artwork with a focus on personal satisfaction rather than commercial success. And although both work independently on creative projects, they still enjoy the chemistry that shows in their team efforts.

“ I think our art comes out a lot better when we work together,” Binkle said, smiling.

 
 

 

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