Monica Riecke Morakis was born in California but grew up on the lovely island of Maui. With a father who is a well-known architect, a mother who was an avid gardener, an uncle who was a pottery artist and a German grandmother who sculpted, she was fortunate to be raised in a home that nurtured her creative explorations. As soon as she could hold a crayon and make marks on the back of blueprint sheets, Monica expressed herself visually. Special family times included the making of amazing Halloween costumes plus Christmas cookie and Easter egg decorating marathons every year. After high school (while taking science courses for a Biology degree) Monica happily squeezed in some classes to learn more about drawing, water color, oil painting, singing, dance and photography, before she landed onto the joys and intricacy of mosaic art.
“Glass that reflects, refracts, and glows with inner light has finally matched my hunger to create art that shouts out with saturated gem-like colors”. Her studies in botany and animal science have given her a scientific knowledge of living beings, which strengthens her artistic visions of her island backyard. Monica’s favorite materials are vitreous, dichroic, and stained glass, which she hand-cuts and places like puzzle pieces until her new work is “born”. “I feel as if the pieces I create are my art “children” and my wish is that they go to families that love them as much as I do.”
Monica’s mosaic creations have been shown at Kaukini Gallery, Viewpoints Gallery, Hui Noeau Visual Art Center, Maui Crafts Guild and Manele Bay Hotel; they currently reside in homes from California to North Carolina (even China and New Zealand). Her largest commissioned mosaic mural greets all who enter the new Malama I Ke Ola Health Center in Wailuku. This five foot mural is a celebration of the richness of community found on Maui.
“I am so blessed to be living in such a heavenly, but humble place. I hope to reveal through my mosaics, the sacred and the beautiful that I see everyday. I want the world to know that Maui is no ka oi (the best)!”