“So many of us experienced destruction, but also extreme beauty – which can create confusion in the mind and spirit. Art can bring both sides together.” Bailey Ferguson, August 2018

On May 4th 2018, I evacuated my home and studio on the Big Island of Hawai’i as the Kīlauea Volcano began an epic eruption into the lower East Rift Zone.

Over the next 70 days while I sought refuge in the homes of friends and family, and the DISPLACED series began. Due to the emotional and physical impact of the eruption my artistic style sharply shifted from impressionistic to abstract expressionism in order to properly convey the nuance of this experience. Without access to my art studio I embraced new tools and mediums that were easily accessible such as house paint, pencil, palette knives and paint rollers.

DISPLACED: Kilauea Rising, June 2018, 17×25″ by Bailey Ferguson

The ongoing DISPLACED series (both studies and completed pieces) is an investigation
into the impermanence that comes with living on an active volcanic island. The art pieces are interpretations specific to the 2018 historic eruption: Fissure 8, LERZ, Halema‘uma‘u Crater, temporary homes, the natural resources lost (and gained), and neighborhoods affected.

“… bold swatch of color translating new earth. Small hatches resemble earthquakes. The opacity of new marks covering old give history of what once existed – evoking spirit of the creation from destruction.” Ferguson, August 2018

As an artist directly impacted by the Kīlauea Eruption, painting helped me regain control through staying present and by celebrating impermanence. Rather than getting stuck in the unknown outcome of the lava flow, I turned to art-making to reconnect with the tactile and find order in the chaos.


Big Island Now
Kīlauea Eruption Artwork Wins 1st Prize at Kahilu Exhibit
West Hawai’i Today
Inspiration from Destruction: Big Island artist wins first place at juried exhibition with eruption-inspired artwork

Hawaii Tribune Herald
Big Island artist shows eruption-inspired painting