Remembering the artist Maui Piero Resta, 1940-2015

We are very sad to say that Maui has lost one of its brightest stars this week. The artist Piero Resta died on Tuesday, September 8 at the age of 75. Giovanni Steven Cappelli, owner of Casanova in Makawao and Bistro Casanova in Kahului, called Resta “a magnificent being who blended into the magic of Maui and made our lives richer.” .

“His art is everywhere in my restaurants,” Cappelli told us. “He stays with us forever. I am so grateful that he is my best friend. I wish everyone had a best friend like Piero.

We call him an artist, but he was much more than that. Resta was a person who seemed to see the world in brighter colors than usual. He loved everything about art, expression and the power of an individual to imagine and create.

“I am an artist because I am drawn to the alchemy of creativity and the presence of the Muse,” Resta said in her own artist statement, posted on Pieroresta.com. “With each new meeting, I discover new universes, new ways of seeing and breathing, and I work on the colors and shapes of my explorations.

MauiTime readers saw this philosophy and energy more clearly in this 2003 story on his new Paia gallery known as The Artery.

“It’s more urgent than ever to have a space for people to talk and come together,” Resta told writer Joe Gatto. “It is important to have this sanctuary and this laboratory as an artist, but also that it is open to the public. Young people who want to learn need places like this; it is part of the life of the liberal arts. The Artery is a private place which is a public place. Public art enriches everyone’s life and makes them smarter.

“My duty is to be an inspiration,” Resta added. “We’re going to make history here, I assure you.”

Born in the town of Voghera in northern Italy on August 3, 1940, Resta studied architecture at the Instituto Leonardo Da Vinci. In her twenties, Resta traveled across Europe, exploring and experimenting with art and expression. He quickly settled in New York City, where he did fashion photography and appeared at Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory often, according to his official biography on Pieroresta.com.

But Resta continued to move west, first to California, where he lived as a hermit studying philosophy and mysticism, and later to Maui, where he built his magnificent five-acre. Villa Tamarinda in Kaupo. The place was a work of art. “Italian arches and columns rise to the sky, the kitchen and pizza oven are carved into rock faces, mango and papaya trees provide shade, and ancient fishing villages and waterfalls surround the region, ”according to Pieroresta.com. “Deep and exalted inspiration is inevitable at the villa.

The villa was also home to the Kaupo de Resta Art Sanctuary, a sort of eternal festival of the arts that included works from several galleries, various studios, a sculpture garden, symposia, films and poetry. Chefs, musicians, actors and other artists stayed there often, living and working together.

Resta may have created several of his works in the villa, but most people have seen his art in places like the Paia Galleries and Capelli’s restaurants. In 2007, Maui Hands in Paia promoted one of his shows saying that “For over forty years Piero Resta has explored our presence in the cosmos, seeking to discover and expand the inner self by developing a new sense of consciousness. ”

Former MauiTime Associate editor Samantha Campos knew Resta well and she often mentioned her latest show or works in her Holoholo Girl columns. We asked her for some thoughts on Resta, and she ended up summarizing her life and influence as only she could:

“Almost everyone knew Piero Resta as one of Maui’s most accomplished artists,” Campos said. “But he was so much more than that. He exalted beauty, celebrated the sublime, imbued love and spirit in everything he did. His Eden-esque villa in Kaupo was a gem of creativity and sensuality; its notorious gatherings there have brought together a wide range of island friends and lovers, poets and artists, longtime residents and visitors from afar. He was a man who would light up any room he was in with a smile, exuding charisma and charm. For me and other young artists in Maui, he was always encouraging me, offering sincere support and affection. He taught me what it means to live like an artist, to infuse art into the beauty of life, to collaborate, to be curious and to find inspiration in everything. For me, Piero embodied the magic of Maui. I am so grateful to have known him and to have been blessed by his light.

We will update this article when we learn about Resta’s services.

Photos of Resta and her artistic courtesy Piero Resta’s Facebook page

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