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Hawaii's First Coworking Space

Atis Puampai

Photograph by Kent Nishimura (


Artist Atis Puampai is focused on observing perceptions of time through the lens of his modified cameras. By taking pictures that display the motion of the earth moving around the sun, Atis uses photography to observe the way humans experience time.  He also takes photos of his surroundings during his daily journey from home to work to focus on the banality of time. Instead of using digital cameras or computer programs to edit his photos, Atis constructs film cameras from recycled camera parts to create his desired effects. His personal philosophy towards his practice is to use any resources you have to observe everything around you. In this vein, Atis taught himself photography by using his friendʻs old camera and learned photo techniques through trial and error. Though Atis has been mostly self-taught, he recently received his Masters in Fine Art (MFA) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The MFA program gave Atis a better understanding on how to fully conceptualize his artworks. I asked Atis to sit down with me in the BoxJellyʻs conference room to further discuss his art practice.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion for art?

Atis: After I graduated from high school one of my friends gave me my first camera and I immediately got hooked. I just kept taking pictures of my buddies, skate friends, and anything in general. I was the typical shutterbug. During that time I took rolls and rolls of film. Everything I know about photography is from trial and error. All the worst things that can happen when you pick up photography happened to me. For instance, I used to load film incorrectly into my camera to the point that I wasn’t able to wind my camera. I had to learn to deal with different light sources without a light meter. I ruined a lot of photos discovering the difference between sunlight and sunlight on a cloudy day. I tend to learn things better when I make mistakes. I also learned a lot from my friends who were photographers. I would show them my photos and they would tell me what was wrong and how to fix them. .


How does the materials you work with inform your art practice?

Atis: Going through the MFA program at UH really taught me to be critical on my thoughts towards photography and my process for creating photos. For example, when people take pictures they say “Iʻm going to shoot a photo.” I remember my old photography professor would say “Its not shooting photos, you’re not capturing the images. You’re making pictures by collecting information around you.” So the whole idea of photography for me is about observation and collection. My artistic vision comes second to the observation. Also, I’m always trying to figure out how I can keep things simple and work with materials I already have. I create photos from cameras that I craft from salvaged camera equipment. One comment I got when someone saw my modified cameras was “Itʻs like seeing a caveman discover photography for the first time.” I took that comment and thought, how do I move through the history of photography using  my intuition? I make my cameras and “discover” various camera effects and craft my camera to achieve desired effects. In the act of making I often wonder do I need a shutter or other basic functions to bring my ideas into reality.


What ideas are you exploring with your art?

Atis: Iʻm exploring different perceptions of time. For my project titled “Earth at 970 mph” I took photos of the sun to show the earth in motion in relation to the sun. The sun is something that is constant and anybody can locate. We watch it rise and fall everyday. However, we rarely think about the motion and the rate we are moving around the sun. As the sun stays the same, we humans are moving and evolving. This calls into question our human significance. I took these photos at Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is monumental and a specific location. Iʻm also trying to find the magic of being at Mauna Kea in my everyday routine. I take photos of my route from home to work. By taking pictures of my daily route, Iʻm also exploring the mundaneness of time.

What is your work flow for doing art and how do you project manage

Atis: My workflow is sporadic. I go on these spurts where I work everyday. It’s like pringles. Once you start you can’t stop eating them but once your done you can go a long time without pringles. While working on a photo series I try to explore numerous ways to approach the concepts I’m interested in at the time. Once I feel like I have said everything I can about the concepts, that is when I known a photo series is completed.

What does it mean to be an artist in Hawaii?

Atis: Being an artist in Hawaii has made me very resourceful. Hawaii is in the middle of the ocean and has a very iconic location. Hawaii also has a strong connection to the themes of an idyllic paradise and tourism. As an artist I take it as a challenge to create photographs in Hawaii with concepts that can be applied anywhere.


Is there a piece you would like to be known for?

Atis: I would like to be known for my concept of exploring different perceptions of time and my modified cameras. My thesis series “Project: ANCIENT LIGHT” focuses on the fact that the light coming from the sun is 10,000 to 100,000 years old. The light that the earth receives now is older then all of written human history. With “Project: ANCIENT LIGHT” I’m exploring time past our human experience.

Do you have a favorite book, film or artist, which inspires you?

Atis: Artist Hiroshi Sugimoto is a big inspiration. He’s a photographer and he also explores the themes of time and space. His work is super polished.  I see him as a foil as I work the other way; really rough and raw. Stylistically, my photographs are inspired by Sugimoto. Sugimoto lets the concepts of the work take over so what visually comes out is purely the concept.

Have you ever doubted your art practice?

Atis: I have always doubted my art practice. I believe there will always be doubt. Anyone who is a creative, musician, or artist will doubt their practice at some point. I feel like I’ve done my best work when I felt the most doubtful. If your so sure of the work you create it might be too formulaic. If I doubt my work but I’m honest with it, I think people will be able to at least resonate with what I create.

What advice would you give to an inspiring artist?

Atis: Get ready to struggle, but as artists we will struggle together.

Check at more of Atis Puampaiʻs artwork at


06/023/2017.  Seven second exposure. Elapsed time: 0 min.

30″x40″. Archival Pigment Print from Fujifilm FP-100C Instant Picture.


Donʻt Worry, Eat Happy: Hakuna Banana

Photo by Frolic Hawaii

Photo by Yelp user H Q.


Hakuna Banana located on the second floor of the Ward Center Whole Foods Market

Hours of operation: 11:00am-7:00pm

TLDR: A delicious non-dairy, plant-based, banana soft serve made with real fruit and no refined sugars.

Current flavors: Banilla, Matcha

Toppings: banana chips, sprinkles, li hing mui, candy sugar, and shredded coconut

Ever since Whole Foods Market opened in Kakaʻako, the store has become a focal point for shopping and leisure in the Ward Village area. While exploring what the new store had to offer, I discovered Hakuna Banana and was immediately attracted to the bright pink sign with bananas patterned all over it. One of my favorite things to do with bananas that are a little too ripe is to mash them up in a bowl and stick them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Intrigued by their fun graphics and reminded of my favorite homemade dessert, I decided to buy a cup. I opted for the original Banilla flavor and added banana chips and coconut on top. Each bite was a dream; not too sweet and none of that artificial banana flavor. The coconut milk offered creaminess without making it too heavy.

Hakuna Banana offers a healthier alternative to ice cream without compromising deliciousness. Aptly,  their name is inspired by the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata,” which roughly translates into “no worries”. Located on the second floor of the Ward Center Whole Foods Market, this small soft serve stand will leave a big impression on your tastebuds. They currently offer two flavors – Banilla, their original vanilla banana combination, and matcha, a flavor unique to Hawaii.. Made with all natural ingredients (bananas, dates, and coconuts make the base of the two flavors), even the most health conscious person can feel good about enjoying a cup. All of Hakuna Bananaʻs products are vegan, paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, and corn-free, so people with dietary restrictions can savor the sweet, creamy treats worry-free. If you find yourself craving something sweet that will leave you feeling surprisingly refreshed, head over to Hakuna Banana and you will not be disappointed.

388 Kamakee St. (second floor of Whole Foods Market Ward), Open Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.



Entreperleaders: Ellemsee Media

Lauryn Chin and Noah Gordines are two halves of the full service digital agency Ellemsee Media. Ellemesee Media creates content for individuals and businesses across the media spectrum. They design and develop websites, photography, videos, and various other branding imagery. Lauryn and Noah take pride in doing intensive research on all of their clients to create a visual language suited to their clients brands. Not only are Lauryn and Noah business partners but they’re a couple as well. While working as a couple Lauryn and Noah feel communication is a key factor in their workflow and it helps their company grow. Ellemesee Media had a dedicated desk space here at BoxJelly. While at BoxJelly their company started to outgrow the space and they recently moved out into their own office. Before Ellemsee Media moved out, I had the opportunity to sit down with Lauryn and Noah to discuss the ins and outs of Ellemesee Media and their experiences while working out of BoxJelly.

How did Ellemsee Media start?

L+N: It started as a side hobby. It was essential to our other business. We own a jewelry business called The Pi Collection. Lauryn started it about 7 years ago. It was a business where I wore all hats. We actually met at a trade show where I was peddling my product. After we met, Noah jumped in and he started to help with my business. We got into like 200 stores around the world. He is a badass at selling. As our partnership grew we were able to grow the business. Naturally, people started to ask us “Who does your website?,” “who does your marketing?,” and “who does your graphics?” We were like “Oh we do it.” From then, people started asking us for help with their businesses. It started out just as a fun thing to help out our friends and then everybody started asking us for help. Finally, it got to the point where we decided this should be a business.

What makes you different from other design companies?

L+N: We aren’t just a web designer. We don’t just drag and drop things into little boxes and call it a day. We actually take the time to research and develop a campaign appropriately. One of the latest projects we did was for Hawaii Ship. It’s a website for seniors trying to figure out how to get medicare

e. We analyzed the demographic data of people using their website. We needed to design the function of the website to be the best for their specific demographic. When you think of seniors you have to consider that an 80 year old isn’t going to be using the website. Rather, itʻs more likely that their children who will be using the website. So, we had to target to those people. Lastly, I think one of our client’s favorite thing to say about us is that we are very responsive. When they email us they are going to get a response. Noah’s really good at getting back to people.

What is it like working as a couple?

L+N: One of the things that helped us do work as a couple was working out of BoxJelly. It really helped to separate home and work life. One of the biggest things for us was that we bonded instantly. We were actually a long distance couple before he moved back to Hawaii. Conversation was key. Conversation was so important. That’s how we made it as a couple. We were able to communicate with each other and it made our work life much easier. Itʻs just knowing at the end of the day that you love each other and you still are going to be together. We have different skill sets that complement each other.  

Describe your experience working out of BoxJelly?

L+N: BoxJelly was a good stepping stone for us. From working out of random coffee shops or even at home. BoxJelly has a nice creative atmosphere. The people here are awesome and we love that you can bring your dog to work. It’s a collaborative space and weʻve made a lot of good connections here. So did our son Kolby. He loves Matt, the architect. So much so, that now he wants to be an architect! Every time he sees Matt or Ed, heʻs starstruck! We also like the BoxJelly events. We like coming to the art shows. Itʻs really a perfect spot for the creative industry.

Is there anything from the experience of working at BoxJelly that you will take with you  as you grow and expand?

L+N: From the artwork to the placement of the furniture, we were inspired by the space. When we were planning out our furniture for our new office, the number one we need is a snack spot just like in BoxJelly! Thatʻs so important. One thing that being at BoxJelly helped us with was creating a checklist of things we need for our new office!. Also, when planning out the layout in our own space, we were thinking that we needed a more modular style to move things around. We modeled our employees workspace after this place. We appreciate the co-working, open space floor plan as opposed to everybody in their own cubicle. It just works better for us as a lot of the tasks we do are very collaborative. We have designer and a web developer. Our place is going to be a big open friendly collaborative area.    

What advice would you give to anybody who wants to start a small business

L+N: Always answer emails. I canʻt even count how many times a client has said to me “Youʻre the only person who has responded to my call or email!” Another one is be passionate about what your doing. You have to break the mold and go beyond what your comfortable with.   

Check out Lauryn and Noah at


BoxJelly x Fishcake Artist in Residence: Call for Artists Spring 2019




DEADLINE: January 11, 2019

Since 2011, Box Jelly has functioned as a collaborative workspace for a diverse set of professionals. Our mission is to provide a carefully curated physical space that cultivates and enriches our communities. As a coworking space, we understand the importance of a dedicated work area. This is why we’re opening up our resources to upcoming artists.

The Box Jelly/ Fishcake Artist in Residence Program is a development platform for those transitioning into professional artists. We intend to accomplish this by providing ample studio space, utilities and a supportive community of like-minded art professionals to foster resident artist’s creativity.


We are now accepting proposals for BoxJelly+Fishcake Artist in Residence (AiR), a 6-month opportunity to create new work for a solo exhibition in Honolulu, Hawaii in the heart of Kaka’ako, an urban neighborhood with proximity to the beach, shops, restaurants, bars and local events.

We’re looking for bright, enterprising creatives who work in contemporary art practices and forms with big ideas and the ambition to execute them.


The six-month residency runs from February 1st 2019 with culminating show to be presented in August 2019.


The residency includes:

  • A workspace (a clean studio space suitable for artists and designers working in digital arts, video, photography, illustration, fiber arts and textile design).
  • A solo exhibition at The BoxJelly, the premier co-working space for urban creatives in Hawaii! We will provide press, marketing and hosting costs of the opening reception. All sales from the exhibition go directly to the artist.
  • BoxJelly Dedicated Studio membership (a $4000 value).
  • Creative mentoring with the BoxJelly and Fishcake team.
  • A one-on-one portfolio review with Fishcake Art Curator Keiko Hatano.
  • Consultation with Fishcake Co-Founder and Chief Creative Maura Fujihira and Fishcake Showroom Manager Cassie Louie on selling artwork and design products.
  • An opportunity to earn a spot on Fishcake’s roster of local and international artists and designers.  Fishcake sells artists’ work in two retail locations, as well as direct to homeowners and businesses through their interior design studio, Fishcake Works.

The residency does not include exhibition costs, artist stipend, transportation or housing. We cannot offer a visa for international applicants.


Submissions must include:

  • The application form
  • Project proposal: 1-2 pages in length, outlining a plan to create a body of work to enhance BoxJelly’s space. Include a detailed list of techniques, materials, and outlining project logistics.
  • Artist’s CV
  • Digital zip file containing 5-10 samples of your most recent work with an inventory sheet
  • Artist Statement
  • Other Supportive Material (optional)


Please email your application and materials to 


DEADLINE: January 11, 2019


BoxJelly x The Company is now on Soundcloud

We’ve been busy with new programming at the BoxJelly. We introduced a new talk series called For Your Inspiration with host Jasmine Slovak, and a podcast produced by Central Pacific Time about our upcoming expansion.

So, if you missed a recent FYI talk or just want to listen back to the discussions, you can find everything on our SoundCloud. Furthermore, if you’re looking for the latest Jelly Cast episode, you can find it on our SoundCloud, too! It’s where we’ll keep recordings of on-site talks, all episodes of the Jelly Cast, and other audio tidbits.

Below, listen to conversations with our first FYI speakers, Kevin Sweeney and Ashley Lukens.

The Jelly Cast will be released once a month on the second Monday of the month. The next episode comes out Monday, September 10th via our friends at Central Pacific Time.



For Your Inspiration (FYI) with Kevin Sweeney

Longtime member of BoxJelly Jasmine Slovak has set into motion a new Monday morning talk series called For Your Inspiration (FYI). While the event feels more like a candid conversation over coffee than a presentation, Slovak hopes to create a forum for speaking about staying motivated through setbacks, frustrations, and failures. Kicking off the first FYI was Kevin Sweeney, founder of Imagine, an urban church in Honolulu that is building a more inclusive, progressive Christian community. Sweeney has a master’s in Theology and Intercultural Studies, is a BoxJelly member, and shares a great affinity with industrious, imaginative entrepreneurs.

The topic for this talk was community building. Sweeney spoke from personal experiences about growing an idea beyond his living room, and creating a movement of individuals working towards a common goal.

He believes that “Human beings have been created to  flourish in the context of thriving relationships. There’s no substitute for people who are willing to be with you along the journey.”

One take away was that community is the solution to the problems we can’t solve alone. That scaling that community creates the culture wish to create. But it starts with the individual.

“Those moments when you want to quit are a sign that you’re moving forward and growing.”

When things get uncomfortable in the process of growing your community, Sweeney reassured everyone that “the least likely places you go are the most likely places you’ll grow.” 

The next FYI event will be on Monday, August 27th from 7:30am-8:30am. Coffee and pastries will be provides by Morning Glass. For more information or to RSVP check out our Facebook page. All photos by Tommy Pierucki of PineappleSunrise.


“Frozen , Floating”- Michelle Artist in Residence

During my second and third months at the BoxJelly my plans have materialized and I’m moving full-speed ahead. Supplies are being prepared and the forms are taking shape. BoxJelly’s co-working and exhibit spaces are being scrutinized so the artwork can match the proportions and functionality of the layout.

I initially thought my project would have me working with wool and creating forms with novel approaches, but that plan has been modified for the sake of other explorations.  For some years I have felt the urge to let go of some principles of science illustration, to experiment with looser interpretations of ideas, and I decided to answer that call during this program.  The materials I’m using are familiar to me but some aspects include exciting departures from my previous works.

This new body of work will include 3D and 2D works with metals. I’m sticking with the sculptural knit stitches I know and love, this time using them to depict elements of my experience scuba diving under Antarctic sea ice.  A series of small multiples are being created and will interact with a singular large piece, built to scale, representing a certain feature of the diving environment I want people be able to visualize.

The second component of my project is a series of metalpoint drawings, a medium rarely used in modern times but something I have been exploring for the past two years. These drawings are guided by the self-imposed directive #ifitmakesamarkdrawwithit (examples can be found through that Instagram hashtag) whereby I test various metals to see if they can function as drawing implements.  More small multiples are being made in this manner, demonstrating my experiments and sharing what I saw underwater during these extreme dives. Mark your calendar for the following upcoming events at BoxJelly.  The “Artist in Residence Conversation” will be Friday May 18 at 6pm when I will share some of my background and discuss this new body of work.  Special guest will be my dive buddy Kirsten Carlson, joining me to talk story about our experiences in Antarctica!

The previous Artist in Residence exhibition  “Mother” by Nanci Amaka is currently still up at The BoxJelly. The closing party will be on Friday June 29th at 6pm. Also join us for the opening reception of my exhibition “Frozen, Floating” on June 14th at 6pm.


Artist-in-Residence Blog


Artist residencies come in many forms, including short/long, formal/informal, near/far.  While I didn’t think I’d explore this form of professional development with a young family, my family (and the village it takes to raise a family) has been incredibly supportive of my endeavors, whether near or far.   During this, my fifth artist residency, one of the first things I’ve learned is that programs don’t need to take you to far corners of the earth for the experience to be enriching.

I was delighted to learn of this BoxJelly program when Amelia Samari was the inaugural resident artist.  The setting, the flexibility, and the amenities were all appealing and I was itching to apply, but I knew I couldn’t until a few other things were sorted out in my calendar.  At that time I was still waiting to see if my friend/dive buddy/collaborator Kirsten Carlson and I would be going Antarctica to participate in a distant art program… Fast-forward to today and we’re back from Antarctica and here I am at BoxJelly, making works inspired by that experience! 


Even though the BoxJelly is very close to my home and I’ve been visiting fishcake for most of its decade of operation, the setting and scenario are proving to be just what I need at this moment.  Many of the people who make up the Box Jelly and fishcake ‘ohana are familiar to me, yet through this experience I am getting to know them in meaningful new ways, deepening the community connections.  The workspace is a venue I saw my predecessors customizing for their needs and now it is similarly accommodating mine.


My art background is inextricably linked to science.  As a college student in the early ‘90s with a full schedule of science coursework, I did drawings as a way to learn the various anatomies of my subjects.  The drawings caught the attention of a professor who hired me as a science illustrator in his research lab, thus beginning my SciArt career. Since then I’ve illustrated lots of life forms in a range of media.  

After becoming a parent I realized the need to find a more family-friendly art medium, and fiber fit the requirements, launching my explorations in 3D.  Wool, wire, and paper are now my primary materials and I am exploring new means of expression through them. Building on the works I exhibited in the 2017 Honolulu Biennial, I’m looking forward to seeing what manifests here.

– Michelle

Learn more about Michelle’s work HERE


Meet the 2018 BoxJelly + fishcake Artists-in-Residence!

Spring 2018 Artist-in-Residence Michelle Schwengel-Regala

Our Spring 2018 AiR is science illustrator and fine artist Michelle Schwengel-Regala, of Mililani, Hawaii. Michelle creates diverse projects including technical science renderings, information graphics, sculptures, and community art initiatives. The common thread is that her art tells stories about science. She presented her work at the 2017 Honolulu Biennial, Hawai‘i Handweavers’ Hui, and CONTACT. Michelle’s past residencies include the Artist-in-Resident program at the Bishop Museum, Artist­-at­-Sea Program with Schmidt Ocean Institute, and National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Program. 


Read more about Michelle and her work HERE



Summer 2018 Artist-in-Residence Jane Chang Mi

Our Summer 2018 AiR is Jane Chang Mi, an ocean engineer and artist based out of Honolulu and Los Angeles. Her works consider land politics and post-colonial ecologies. Exploring the narratives associated with environment through her interdisciplinary research-based work, she aims to express our contemporary relationship to nature. Jane has exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada, Honolulu Biennial, and Beaconsfield Contemporary Art in London. She was a visiting artist at the National Gallery in Amman, Jordan, sponsored by START House and Art Dubai, and a scientist on the Arctic Circle Program departing Spitsbergen, Norway. Jane currently teaches at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.


Read more about Jane and her work HERE



Aloha & Mahalo, Nanci!

A huge  “Congratulations” to our Summer 2017 Resident, Nanci Amaka! Her opening of MOTHER on January 11th was an incredible success, and we were blown away by her beautiful, poignant images and words. We will miss your warm spirit and gracious energy, Nanci! Best of luck with your future endeavors!


For more information about Nanci, click HERE


MOTHER will be up at the BoxJelly until April 27, 2018. With her mother as muse, Honolulu-based artist Nanci Amaka explores the anxieties surrounding concepts of love, loss, embodiment, and letting go with a new series of work. Amaka’s artistic process involved re-enacting memories and metaphysical childhood visions of her mother, an intimate performance of dealing with her death and release of her lifelong search for answers.  







Join us for Nanci Amaka’s AiR Opening Night


A Solo Exhibition by Nanci Amaka

Thursday, January 11, 2018 from 6-8PM

Honolulu-based artist Nanci Amaka, BoxJelly + fishcake’s latest Artist-in-Residence, explores the anxieties surrounding concepts of love, loss, embodiment, and letting go with a new series of work.

Amaka’s primary inspiration was her mother, mysteriously killed when she was a young girl. Through video, photography and sculptural media, she explores anxieties she endured from the loss of her mother as an adult, as well as lessons learned. Amaka’s artistic process involved re-enacting memories and metaphysical childhood visions of her mother, an intimate performance of dealing with her death and release of her lifelong search for answers.



Nanci Amaka is the current Box Jelly + Fishcake Artist-in-Residence, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Nanci’s work explores ideas surrounding trauma, identity, memory and the liminal space between experience and language. Working from the theory that traumatic events challenge perceptions of power, autonomy, and identity. Her performances are poetic narratives of memory retrieval & inspection that investigate limits of vulnerability & social empathy, by creating charged contemplative experiences. Nanci received a BA in Visual Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Nanci was born in Nigeria and spent her formative years in a rural rainforest village in south eastern Nigeria.