I am “shiner” Bruce Whitaker.
If it is true, that we all have a destiny in life, then mine is to create art.
I believe that It is my life‘s mission to love without fear and contribute beauty and meaning to this world, that connects us all.
I was fortunate to have been born and raised in Lafayette Louisiana.
A place wealthy in culture, heritage, music, food, and especially art.
As a young man I seem to be gifted with talents for drawing and making things out of clay, along with a very large imagination. This talent grew with my education all the way to studying fine art at the university of Southwestern Louisiana.
As an athlete, my life changed forever after having a near death experience due to a heat stroke. After that my attitude towards everything completely changed, and still influences me to this day. “ why should a drop of water fear the ocean”?
This is when I realize that I was destined to be an artist that would travel around the world, painting, sculpting, making music, and living each and every day, knowing that it could be my last.
I began my travels spending many years hitchhiking across almost every state in this beautiful country, learning a lot by meeting just about every type of human imaginable. I made a living by picking fruit, odd jobs, but mostly painting signs. From Louisiana across the states up to Alaska I did just about every sign imaginable from grocery stores to 18 wheelers, restaurants, sides of buildings, wood carved signs, and even water towers. I learned a lot about composition and design, but especially how to make people feel good about their business with a good handshake deal, along with a good hand written contract.
It was also during this time that my spiritual life started to unfold more quickly meeting people from many different religions, and going to many different, spiritual gatherings and spending time with many different intentional communities.
I was eventually introduced to the wisdom and teachings of the Native American people’s, especially the ceremony of the sweat lodge. This is where I made peace with my European and native American heritage. My ancestors that have been fighting with each other for many generations. This ceremony I continue to practice even to this day.
In 1983 my travels lead me to
Maui, Hawaii. Another life-changing move.
I did not think that I would be on the islands very long when I realize that I was quickly running out of money. This is when I discovered the beauty of the many different types of Hawaiian wood and pursued my ambitions as a sculptor.
After a while, selling my sculptures and paintings, with limited success, I met my teacher, master sculptor, Bruce Turnbull, and once again my life changed in a big way.
Being his apprentice for almost 4 years, was one of my greatest influences. My eyes were open to creating my art “like a kid in a mud puddle”, with no fear or limits in one of the most popular art markets in the world.
He introduced me to the practice of tai chi, and taught me more than I can express. I will be forever grateful for his influences.
Since this time I’ve had the privilege to sell my art through galleries and art shows to collectors all throughout America and the world. Over the years my work continues to grow along with the price that I receive.
No matter where my art has taken me, I have traveled there with a guitar strapped on my back.
Writing songs seems to be a way for me to make sense of what sometimes can seem to be a crazy world. No matter if I was in love or if I felt sad, making music seem to help me. Some thing that I feel compelled to share.
Over the years,
I have played in many bands, and recorded with many fine musicians. Because of this, I have had some of the best times in my life, however achieving financial success is not what seems to be driving me forward to grow in this beautiful form of art.
It’s more a feeling of something that I have to do. To constantly work and learn how to bringing my music to a higher fidelity and hopefully create an unforgettable experience.
This is who I am, this is what I do, this is my destiny.
Through my art, I have been able to meet so many thousands of people from all around the world sharing their stories of love, families, and their art and accomplishments.
Because of all of this and all of the friends that I have made over the years, I feel that I am one of the wealthiest people in the world.
I feel so blessed to live here in Hawaiian with all of its Mana and beauty, especially the aloha of it’s people, and to take care of my 2 acre farm on the slopes of Haleakala and raise my family of two boys, Bodhi and Kaleo and their mom, Kara.
For me, the highest art is staying healthy, being at peace, and enjoying and caring for this life that has been given to all of us.
Thank you for reading this, and no matter who you are or what you do I wish you all the best in the art that you create.
“Shiner” Bruce Whitaker
PO Box 1541, Makawao, HI. 96768.