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From humble beginnings to world-renown artist, Hawai‘i’s own Phillip Sabado

It’s stories like these that you love to read about. Molokai boy makes it big in the international art world, ultimately creating a legacy that will have a ripple effect for generations to come. Such is the life of Phillip Sabado.

Phil was born and raised in Mauna Loa, Molokai, in the days where you treaded barefoot in the plantation villages and spent all your free time fishing, hunting, and cooking. He took an interest in art early in life and after serving in the army he began studying at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Soon after he completed his art program in Honolulu, he interned at the Bishop Museum learning from the great historical archives, also having the benefit of working under Herb Kane. His passion and commitment would then take him to continue his studies at the premier Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Phil worked within illustration and design in Los Angeles carving out a successful career as an art director and was voted to be one of the top 50 illustrators of that time. His talent also earned him a place in the exclusive Arts Directors Club of Los Angeles, Society of Illustrators. His success breaking the ceiling for minorities and persons of color in the art world.

Yet, with all that success home called him back in 1984, and Phil moved his family back to Hawaii to begin his next life phase within the fine arts.

"On every creative project, I strive to create a body of work that is beautiful and connects with the Hawaiian Spirit," said Phil who is passionate about creating art that is historically accurate, expresses the essence of the Hawaiian culture and depicts his love for nature.

Phil’s works are celebrated within the art collector community and he has been commissioned to do many public and private murals. The Sabados ‘ohana is also dedicated to giving back to the arts and the community they love. They offer art classes for keiki and adults, participate in efforts to help establish Wailuku Town as a vibrant Arts District, and continue to share the history and culture of Hawai‘i through their art and storytelling.

According to Phil’s wife Christine, who plays an integral role in the success of the Sabados Art Hawai‘i dynasty, “Here’s this humble Molokai boy who grew up to realize an amazing art career to become a world-renowned artist and one of Hawai‘i’s cultural treasures. It’s a story that dreams are made of and we’re so happy to share it.”

We couldn’t agree more. Stop by Sabado Studio Gallery in the heart of Wailuku Town or Sabados Studio in Wailea Village to see Phil’s artwork, décor and gift items. And, when Phil is not painting, talk story with the artist himself.

Sabado Studio Gallery
38 N Market St, Wailuku, HI 96793

Sabados Studio
Wailea Village, 100 Wailea Ike Dr, Ste 2101, Kihei, HI 96753