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Diary of a Maui Web Designer

Art Mixx Maui – Taken By Wonder

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Art Mixx Maui October 4th, 2013 with Eric Gilliom

The MACC might be on to something. Two or three times a year the Maui Arts and Cultural Center rolls out Art Mixx Maui, an interactive multi-media art extravaganza which is FREE to the public. This new edition of Art Mixx which took place on October 4th, 2013, explored the theme of WONDER, tagging onto the current Schaefer Gallery exhibit, Wes Bruce’s “Taken By Wonder”.

the big hat

Stepping into the gallery, there was a nice beehive energy of activity. The major driver of this was the amazing fort-like found object structure built by Wes Bruce. Crowds weaved in and out of the various rooms, exploring and discovering the many gems hidden within the wooden walls – literally with smiles on their faces and many murmuring aloud that they’ve reclaimed their childhood.

Wes Bruce - Taken by Wonder - Inside FortThis was my second visit to the exhibit. On the first encounter I found myself unexpectedly surprised and thrilled (see article) with the “fort”. On this trip, it was fun to see others experience that same sense of joy that I had. And then it occurred to me. What made this exhibit so enriching, was the uncanny way it brought me back to my childhood. As a kid, we built forts with leftover lumber, metal roofing and any other scraps we could find that my dad had lying around the house. The forts were my sanctuary as well as hide-out, clubhouse and army base. As a young child, my world was continuously filled with new experiences and discoveries. Over the years, as I’ve experience more and more of the world, that sense of the new seems to be less and less and fewer and farther between, which is why this exhibition seems so special. It brought me back to that time of my youth and feeling I discovered new, or probably more accurately, reminded me of a time when every day things could be filled with joy and wonder.

peeking out of fort by Wes Bruce at ArtMixx Maui Taken by wonder

people of wonder

We decided to hang out in the parlor of the fort for a while since every so often a new person would hop onto the old piano and play a song for all of us, while people played with the penny rain-maker to add sound to the festivities.

fort parlor pianist

parlor wonders

Usually, in past Art Mixx Maui events, there were a multitude of stations both in and out of the gallery in which guests could interact and experience the goings-on. In this version, the focus was basically on two things. The first being Bruce’s installation, the second, the band on the main stage headlined by Eric Gilliom and special surprise guest (and amazing guitarist) Vince Esquire. They did a tribute to Stevie Wonder in the first set. Backed up by three gogo dancers that reveled for the entire set. Their raucous energy had the place hopping.


crowd at art mixx maui

One of the things that makes Art Mixx such a happening event is its energy. The creative, free-spirit vibe that flows, inspires attendees to costume and calls to mind Burning Man or mardi gras. What is also great is the general positive, “feel good” attitude of the throng. They just want to cut loose, have some fun and party, both young and old. I commend the MACC for finding inventive ways to continuously draw a wide cross section of Maui’s populace to its gates. Art Mixx is welcome addition to the Valley Isles’ entertainment spectrum.

rainbow girls at the art mixx maui october 2013

art mixx maui wonders

October Rocks!

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Hello and Happy October – our favorite month out of the whole year. Yes, be sure to wish us both a Happy Birthday! A lot of our favorite people are born this month, too. Let’s put it this way, if you’re an October baby, you’re alright with us! And then there’s Halloween. So, yesss…. October Rocks! Which brings me back to my topic of this blog posting…. our Song Peck of the Month.

song peck of the month

This month’s song peck comes from a cool band called AWOLNATION. They came out with their first album (Megalithic Symphony) just a couple years ago which went on to be a big hit with a lot of the songs being featured on numerous different TV shows. This one song, “Sail”, hit #10 on the U.S. Billboard and has gone Platinum in the U.S. and double Platinum in Canada. Good stuff, yes?

The song is great, but the video is a work of Art. It’s filmed well and the storyline is intriguing with a shocking ending. Classic. Just watch it and enjoy…

Taken By Wonder – Wes Bruce Exhibition

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Yesterday, we ventured into wonder. The art exhibition currently at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center is phenomenal. “Taken By Wonder” – an art exhibition by Wes Bruce is a giant fort structure that takes you on a mythical journey through a living space inhabited by people from a different culture… different island… different time.

Outside view of the giant fort structure.

Outside view of the giant fort structure.

As you cruise through each intricate room of the structure, you find strange writings on the walls, which you can decipher by matching the symbols to letters to form words and sentences… all clues… clues of those left behind all for you to decipher. It all entices you to explore and discover the chambers. Each room more interesting than the other. Some rooms hidden, in which you must crawl to get to… but worth the effort.

wes-3When you first enter the structure, you feel as though you are in a rustic fort from your childhood, except this fort is “THE” fort of forts. Front entryway sports a fireplace mantle, hanging instruments, bones, bottles, and cryptic language scratched onto the walls. You venture further, coming to the Study filled with books and oddities… and room after room – each so bizzare. If you crawl up the netting from the Study, you come to an observation deck, complete with a telescope to view the constellations above.

chair roomEach room is more wondrous than the next. Never knowing what to expect next, you enter a world of wonder. There was a room with a hanging rocking chair held up delicately by colorful strings. It looked sturdy enough to hold us up, but we didn’t dare.

We felt like we were kids again, climbing up steep stairways to secret rooms and hallways, crawling on our knees at certain points to catch a glimpse of a giant shell in an interior room… I’m not sure if we saw everything… even though we visited every room several times, looking for more and more wonder of delight.

Wes Bruce is an emerging artist originally from Northern California, where as a child he spend much time building incredible forts. This childhood passion has led him to building huge art exhibitions as seen in ‘The Fort’ at the Escondido Center for the Arts back in 2010, and at the LUX Art Center. What a treat to have Wes Bruce fill the gallery at the MACC with his incredible, whimsical fort creation. Wes Bruce is the MACC’s first artist-in-residence. He came to Maui for a month, staying at several different people’s homes during the course of his stay as he built his giant fort.

The exhibition will be up until November 2nd, 2013. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, please be sure to go see it. It’s really quite amazing.

Ben is wondering how we can take this fort home with us once the exhibition is over.

interior of fort, left of entryway

wes bruce interior room

wes bruce exterior

Web Design Customer Reviews

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We are not the type of website design company that just follows a project through from A to Z. There is a lot of communication, interaction, and a lot of hands-on with the client… and a lot of fun along the way. That, I think, is what really separates us from the rest.

The following is a sampling of reviews from our clients:

Erik Eike
Honolulu, HI
website: www.kilimanjarorifles.com

DzinePOD is the absolute best. We are a custom manufacturing business with an international customer base that competes in a very high-end market against a number of vastly larger and long-established competitors in both the USA and Europe. We had been working and grew dissatisfied with a big name marketing firm when I ran across DzinePOD’s own website and was impressed with the samples of their work. After flying in and driving up the slope of Haleakala to meet with them, we transferred not just our website work but all of our national and international print advertising and other marketing work to them. After two years, I cannot be happier. Ben & Syl are wonderful people and form a very unique team. Ben’s creative artistry for our print ads and visual imagery has been tremendous, and Syl is an absolute wiz on the website, SEO and social media side of things. Its not just the outstanding quality, however; the extraordinarily fast turn-around has been a sheer joy. Before we had to wait weeks if not months for new ad copy or major website updates to get done. With DzinePOD, if it hasn’t been done in 24 hours I start to worry something has happened to them. The creative collaboration is also excellent. With the other major advertising and marketing firms with which we have dealt, it is always a cumbersome process of having to deal through an account representative with formal presentation boards and no chance of having a real time interaction with the creative talent. With DzinePOD, it has been a great experience of receiving, commenting and getting revised artwork virtually immediately. We have had as many as ten revised versions of national magazine print ads go back and forth in a single evening until we had it perfect. As a smaller company competing against much larger firms with vastly greater resources, it is gratifying that our website and print advertising puts them all to shame. One major national magazine gave us its back cover ahead of a long waiting list of much larger companies, and at the same price as a simple inside ad, because–as they put it–our ad copy better represented the quality of their magazine and that’s what they wanted on their back cover. The other primary journal in our industry bumped our ads up opposite its table of contents in every issue for the same reason. That is a greater testament to the quality of DzinePOD’s work than anything else I can say. Highly recommended.

Kayden R.
Kula, HI
website: www.aftersea.com

I LOVE LOVE LOVE DzinePOD…an amazing team of two…husband and wife duo…I like to say you get 2 brains for the price of 1!! Fun and easy to work with. Very creative and talented, and they deliver what you ask for! I presented them with a pretty big challenge, to present 3 very different products that I make into one cohesive and beautiful and elegant website. The site is called http://www.aftersea.com Take a look and see how amazing it is!! I told them I wanted it to be a site that would lead to more business for them…as well as for me …and it has done just that! They listen to what you want, and they deliver it with exceptional quality at a very fair price.

We are about to make a new website that is exclusive to one of my products because that product is growing and expanding and merits its own site. Soon there will be an amazing new http://www.bluebottlelove.com site gracing the world wide web thanks to the talents of Ben and Sylvia.

Jasen H.
Kihei, HI
website: www.haleakalasolar.com

Well, where do I start?

We came across DzinePOD when looking for a company to help upgrade our website but little did we know how much more this awesome team was going to bring to the table. It’s been well over a year since starting a working relationship with this organization and we don’t see it ending anytime soon. They have not only made our website look much more appealing but have also improved our SEO so we show up on the first page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches!

In addition to helping us with our website, they’ve implemented a VERY effective social media campaign which has generated a tremendous amount of interest and business. They monitor all our social media channels and assist in interacting with our customers helping to further integrate our company into the community.

Furthermore they have helped us create a marketing plan which consolidates all our web, social media, newspaper, magazine, and TV marketing efforts into one cohesive and effective endeavor.

They are an extremely effective team and can not recommend them enough!


Ken S.
website: www.rappelmaui.com

When we needed a website for our new company, we already knew we’d work with Ben and Sylvia at DzinePOD, because they had designed such a great website for us at http://hikemaui.com. In both cases it has been such a pleasure to work with an accomplished artist who readily takes our ideas and makes beautiful layouts with them and a technical HTML master who creates bullet-proof websites that always keep their form and are very fast-loading. Both Ben and Sylvia are such a joy to work with. They’re always patient and understanding with us. They’re straight-forward in making their proposal and delivering what they promised. We could not be happier with their process and the results. Look at http://www.rappelmaui.com to see what I mean. They’re also affordable compared to all the other high-end web-design companies that we’ve queried.

Kipuka H.
Kula, HI
website: www.hikemaui.com

I searched for several years for the right web master / graphic artist to update Hike Maui’s antiquated, 1994 website. I wanted someone artistic who would work with me as a team. I already had some ideas yet found that some art egos were threatened or insulted if I voiced my suggestions. Sylvia and Ben were a pleasure — very open, very artistic, very technologically attuned (which i am not). Their color schemes are beautifully matched. Their work pace is fast. They stay current with technology. Their layouts are perfect. When I suggested an addition to their designs, they tried my ideas immediately and then together we’d decide what we liked best. I really enjoyed working with them; there was never any artistic push-pull — it was always teamwork. You know your company best, and DzinePOD knows design and technology best.

I am so happy with my DzinePod website that i still look at it all the time. It is perfect for a hiking tour company. It’s green and gorgeous. Just check it out — http://hikemaui.com — you’ll see what i mean.

Roger S.
Kihei, HI
website: www.mauiislandactivities.com

Really made the process as easy as possible and results very fantastic. DzinePOD helped us out in all aspects in ensuring our site turned out like we wanted it too while making it attractive to search engines, etc. All in all, they made this a painless endeavor.

John V.
Mentor, OH
website: www.euclidwelding.com

I was truly impressed with my new website. It was much better than I could have ever hoped for! I highly recommend you getting your future website done here!

Rappelling Down A Waterfall

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Rappel Maui - A Walk on the wild side

When building websites for clients, we do research to uncover what their business is all about. Only then can we go about creating the right look and style for their website; a look and style that reflects exactly who they are. Sometimes, research involves going into new uncharted territories… like rappelling down steep waterfalls.

We’re currently working on a new website for Rappel Maui. You may have heard of the owners – MJ Harden, Ken Schmitt and their General Manager, Dave Black. MJ and Ken are the ones that started Hike Maui a few decades ago. And Dave Black is famous in the canyoneering world. We hear he is “Rappelling Guru”.

mj harden and ken schmitt

Val TamuraOur mission was to get some good photos to use for the website. Our friends, Bob and Val Tamura, enthusiastically volunteered to be models and were first-timers to the sport. Glori (a guide from Hike Maui) and Ben also geared up and joined in – being their first time also. I was on the camera, capturing the day.

Dave Black started everyone off with a dry practice run. He went over all the safety gear; the ropes, anchor, carabiners, how to brake, how to step, where to put your hands… all sorts of things. It’s actually a pretty safe sport, but just watching everyone’s faces as they were about to take their first step off the cliff’s edge was exciting. You could see the excitement and the fear. And then finally the surrender to just do it. Go into auto-pilot and rappel down the face of a waterfall. Amazing!

Glori looks over the edge

Bob TamuraThe location of the valley is quite beautiful – nestled deep in the rain forest in an area called the Enchanted Garden. The hiking trails are private – built and used only by Rappel Maui. They provide all the gear necessary, including a waterproof backpack and water to drink. And after the excitement, the day ends with a great lunch. MJ mentioned that many people are too excited to eat right before rappelling – but afterwards, it’s a most welcome meal.

So, all this research has come in handy as now we are knee-deep in the designing and coding of the new Rappel Maui website. We’re doing something totally different for the Home page in hopes to share the excitement of rappelling, with a design where you can almost feel what it would be like to rappel down a waterfall deep in the valley of a Maui rain forest. We’re having a blast piecing this website together – because, let’s face it… rappelling is cool!