Brady Evans possibly knows the museum better than anyone else on staff—and he’s only 24. At the Honolulu Museum of Art he has assisted Asian Art collections manager Celeste Ohta, Asian Art conservation technician Susan Thomas, and European and American curator Theresa Papanikolas. Then he worked for a year as the web content coordinator in the Communications Department before becoming a collections manager. And he still is a dedicated volunteer at Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday and Spalding House Free Family Day. (In the way, way back machine, Brady started volunteering at The Contemporary Museum in 2009, as a member of its tech team and at events such as ArtSpree).

Brady studied collections management at the University of Hawai‘i, and his thesis dealt with Japanese painting. “It is so cool to be here and work with the collection first hand,” he says about his motivation to be such a supportive staff member. “And I really like the people.”

When he isn’t tending to artworks for exhibitions, Brady is creating his own—he’s a talented manga artist and founder of the volunteer-based group Pen & Ink Works, which holds events to promote drawing and manga. He has also been curating manga exhibitions—you can see his latest independent project, Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawai‘i, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. It opens May 3.

We asked him, “What’s your favorite work of art in the permanent collection?” His answer is a painting has very personal meaning for him:

Shirley Russell
Banners for Boy’s Day against the blue sky, c. 1935
Oil on canvas
Gift of Charlotte and Henry B. Clarke, Jr., 1995
(7953.1)

After first coming across this painting reproduced in a book, I was happy to see it had been put on display in the Arts of Hawai‘i Gallery after its recent renovation. The painting depicts the Japanese Boy’s Day tradition of stringing up large carp-shaped fish kites in the hope the young males in the family will grow up strong and courageous. I have fond memories of my grandfather erecting a tall flagpole at his Mānoa home to fly our family’s fish kites. Seeing this painting brings me right back to that time when I would spend endless days watching the kites swim across Hawai‘i’s clear blue sky.