In 1976, Makiki [the nickname his aunt gave him in childhood which he said meant “flying rooster” in Hawaiian] began to make art after his Mother died. He said the creation gave him a reason for living. Makiki began to decorate the walls of his Key West home with pieces of glass and mirror, then constructed altar-like structures. He used photos, flowers, dolls and lights and bits and pieces of memorabilia and painted surfaces. It was all a compulsion to honor his Mother though he included other photos and religious figures. He died in December 1998 by his own hand apparently having been greatly depressed by failing health and was unwilling to live in this condition.
Makiki had been an entertainer during his working years playing the drums and maracas and dancing. He also served in the US Navy, of which he was quite proud. Some years after he began his art in the “shrine”, he was encouraged to sell some of his art objects. So he began to make a few paintings like his neighbor down the street, Folk Artist Mario Sanchez. Makiki’s paintings were sold from his home and sometimes in the local galleries in Key West and are delightful scenes he renders about stories from the Bible and of Key West images, especially “Spring Break.”