Reception for John D. Dawson mural at Downtown Laundry Express

John D. Dawson, the renowned illustrator, has taken on an interesting and significant mural in Downtown Hilo. The mural, more than 6 feet high and 12 feet long is a composite of nearly every feature Hilo has to offer, from two canoes, frigate birds, kolea a monk seal, leaping dolphins and a beautiful Hilo squall out to sea in the distance. One of the most significant features for local residents is the tower on Moku Ola, Coconut Island. Nearly every youngster growing up in Hilo has jumped off this tower at one time or another.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this spectacular mural is its location, at the local Laundromat. Downtown Laundry Express has always had art on its walls but this mural is being completed above the customers. Dawson paints, with the help of his wife, Kathy, every day from his perch on a huge scaffold while customers dry and fold their laundry beneath him. 

“John is my tennis partner and this project grew out of a conversation on the court one day.” said Michael Shewmaker, owner of the facility, “He graciously agreed to take on this massive project. The customers love it!”

Dawson is most well known for his “Nature of America” series for the U.S. Postal Service. These stamp panels where each stamp was pealed from a larger scene were immensely popular. It eventually gave him the honor of being the individual who has painted more U.S. postage stamps than any other artist. His work has been featured many times in National Geographic Magazine, Audubon Magazine and many others. He has done many paintings for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park including the stunning mural that graces their visitor center.

John D. Dawson is now an elder statesman of Hawaii art and, at 81, is going strong. His work is available through the Volcano Art Center Gallery in the National Park.

Listen to Noe Tanigawa's segment from 'The Conversation' on HPR with John Dawson and Mike Shewmaker, owner of Downtown Laundry Express:

The reception will be held at Downtown Laundry Express located at 194 Kilauea Ave # 101, Hilo, 5PM on June 7th 2019!