DRIVEN BY PASSION NOT FEAR: Jess navigates Maui’s uncertain future

DRIVEN BY PASSION NOT FEAR: Jess navigates Maui’s uncertain future

DRIVEN BY PASSION NOT FEAR: Jess navigates Maui’s uncertain future

In the aftermath of the wildfires on Maui and the uncertainties that follow, there shines a beacon of positivity, hope, and resilience named Jessica Tepora. Known affectionately as Jess, she has journeyed from the fast-paced streets of New York City to the serene shores of Hawaii, leaving a mark on her community and the world of art.

Jess stands with her art pieces at a pop up market

Jess embarked on her creative odyssey by earning a BFA in fine arts with a focus on painting and printmaking from the School of Visual Arts in 2003. Her artistic spirit soon led her to explore the art world from various angles, working as an artist assistant and gallery assistant in the vibrant East Village of NYC and at prestigious institutions like the Guggenheim Museum and the American Museum of Natural History.

As a first-generation Filipino-American artist and a passionate traveler, Jess's art is a fusion of her diverse experiences, both at home and abroad. Her unique style draws from her printmaking background and her studies in textiles and pattern design. However, her life took a transformative turn when she became a certified Bikram Yoga teacher and, along with her older brother, co-founded the Bikram Yoga Lahaina Studio on Maui in 2010.

Popup market

In 2020, as the world grappled with the global pandemic, Jess faced another turning point in her life. Having dedicated over a decade to operating the yoga studio and building a community in Maui, the pandemic forced her to pause her operations. But in this pause, Jess saw an opportunity—a return to the world of art.

With unwavering determination, Jess embraced her true calling as an artist. Her current body of work focuses on imagined dreamscapes and celestial portals, reflecting her intuitive approach to painting, which draws inspiration from the emotions of the moment. She believes her art possesses healing properties, offering solace and inspiration in times of uncertainty.

Jess at a popup market

And this uncertainty brought about by the recent wildfires is where we find Jess in her journey. She remains an active member of her Maui community in pop-up events like gift and craft fairs in Kihei, Saturday swap meets, and the Friday town parties where she encourages us all to move with passion rather than fear. She emphasizes the importance of understanding our own emotions and aligning them with our desired direction, moving forward with purpose.

While times have been challenging for small business owners on Maui as the community navigates recovery, Jessica hopes you find inspiration and healing in her art.

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