Artist Tambi Larsen
Hale Kilo I'a was home to Academy Award winning Art Director Tambi Larsen, who with his wife, Barbara, owned the bungalow from 1961 until his death in 2001. His family still owns and operates the house. Prints of Larsen's art are hanging in the home for visitors to enjoy.
Tambi was a Dane born in India who immigrated to the United States at the age of 20 to attend Yale Drama School. He married Barbara in 1941 and became an American citizen in 1943. Tambi (pronounced “Tom' bee”) struggled for some years trying to make a living as a set designer for Broadway shows, but opportunities were scarce. During World War II Tambi worked for the Office of War Information, first broadcasting the news in Danish, and after V-E Day, designing exhibits in Denmark as Assistant Cultural Relations Officer.
After the war, the family—which now included son Peter and daughter Pamela—moved to Hollywood, where Tambi decided to try his hand in the movie industry. He was immediately hired by Paramount Pictures as an Assistant Art Director and before long won an Oscar for The Rose Tattoo. He was also nominated for Hud, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Molly Maguires, and Heaven's Gate, and he won the British BAFTA award for The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. He designed at least 41 movies during his career.
During a time-out from Hollywood while he designed a movie about Father Damien, Tambi fell in love with Hawaii. In 1961 he and Barbara bought "Hale Kilo I'a," which was then a one-room cabin. Over the years they built additions and spent as much time enjoying Kauai as they could. After Tambi retired, they spent three to six months here out of the year. Over the years Tambi explored the island, taking snapshots of places that took his fancy, and then set to work bringing them to life with colored pencils. He distilled the essence of each place, rather than producing an exact replica, and usually included a dash of his whimsical humor. He called his exhibits "100 Entertainments." If you look closely you may find some surprises. Because many of the places he drew are now gone, the Kauai Historical Society is preparing to publish a book of his 100 drawings.
Here are some examples of his work. Click each image for its larger version. These works of art make great computer backgrounds (aka desktop wallpaper) or web page backgrounds.
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Tambi also worked as a book illustrator. You may purchase some of these books illustrated by Tambi Larsen from Amazon.
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