The art of the start
Born and raised on the North Shore of Maui, Chelsea Kohl’s love for art, nature & cutting-edge design has been a huge part of her life since the very beginning.
Chelsea had a special one-of-a-kind upbringing in the early 1980’s. She grew up in a small neighborhood full of kids with super cool parents who encouraged imagination, playing, exploring and freedom. This unique neighborhood, teeming with life, was located directly on the beach in Kuau Cove next to a small “off the beaten path” restaurant called Mama's Fish House (you may have heard of it). Chelsea at the time lived in a brightly painted beach house directly across the street from the restaurant. Her father Bill Kohl was the first in-house carpenter at Mama’s Fish House and became the lead architect/engineer responsible for the creative/genius design of Mama’s Fish House.
For over 35 years Chelsea's father, Bill Kohl, worked closely with the owners to create the retro contemporary Polynesian / Plantation style restaurant of Mama’s Fish House. Bill recently retired from Mamas in 2017, but what a legacy. While at Mama's Fish House, Bill assembled a talented team of local carpenters, wood workers and artists who helped to co-create the architectural vision. As a result, Chelsea was surrounded by visionaries and experienced a renaissance of creativity and building in this small beach neighborhood. During the summers she worked on her Dad’s construction crew where she learned how to use tools, paint, mix cement, dig ditches, weld, plumb, draft and develop a hearty work ethic.
As Maui became a more popular travel destination and simultaneously Mama’s Fish House’s reputation grew, an influx of tourists started to appear in her small neighborhood. Chelsea and her best friends saw opportunity and became childhood entrepreneurs.
"We would sell painted rocks and hand-made plumeria flower leis to tourists. They loved it! We were cute kids with big smiles. I even developed a small "business" shuttling tourists between the valet and restaurant during heavy rains. Tourists would give me tips for escorting them with an umbrella up and down the pathway. It was great!"
Chelsea was born into a very artistic, entrepreneurial family where invention and creative thinking has always been a central way of life. Her family owned one of the first personal computers, a Commodore 64. Her Dad had no idea how to use it, but her Mom Mille was inspired and later brought home an Apple Macintosh. Chelsea's introduction to computers at an early age sparked her interest in computer technology. She would doodle on her Mom's computer, exploring the early stages of computer graphics. Chelsea's understanding of artistic building quickly branched out into the expansive digital realm of computer graphics....
In 2005, Chelsea earned her bachelor's degree from Scripps College in Claremont, CA where she majored in Media Studies with honors and minored in Studio Art. Her studies focused on computer animation, digital art, video production and mixed media art. In college, Chelsea met the love of her life Chelsea Heller (yes, two Chelseas) who went to Pomona College. Post graduation, Chelsea moved back to Maui and took a short break from her computer to go back to her roots. Together Chelsea and Chelsea designed and built a home out of recycled materials which was featured in Dwell Magazine’s 2008 November Issue under the section "Houses We Love." Dwell Magazine November 2008.
Chelsea sees Maui in a different way… Her contemporary pop art draws upon her eclectic upbringing and the nostalgia for Maui’s past combined with the inspiration of today.
"I'm passionate about the ever-expanding worlds of computer graphics, animation, video, website design and digital photography. And my love for digital art and technology is enhanced and balanced by my love for nature, spirituality, history and tactility. I love the complex yet simple wisdom of nature’s design intelligence (biomimicry). I'm turned on by the fluidity and unpredictability of paint and fascinated by the boxy wholeness of a pixel. I'm inspired by the everyday. I love multi-dimensional storytelling that reflects the many layers of life."
Chelsea is an entrepreneur and is the Owner and Creative Director of FLYING 'OKOLE - a website design, branding and creative design solutions company located in Maui, Hawaii.