Maui artist Hamish Burgess continues the ancient practice of Celtic art, with his own traditional and modern pieces, in various mediums. He regularly spends time in the Celtic areas of Britain, Ireland and Europe, studying ancient works of art. He spent the summers of 2018/19 as a guide for historical tours in Scotland, using his Celtic art as visual aids during story-telling evenings. Hopefully that will continue after covid travel restrictions ease.
From an Aberdeen family, Hamish Douglas Burgess grew up in a Scottish household in Kent, and later moved to Cornwall. Many years in that ancient land instilled him with a love of Celtic legends, art and music, leading to producing artwork, photography, and playing the bagpipes.
Completely self-taught, in his youth he was inspired by the fantastic art books of Courtney Davis, Jim Fitzpatrick, Aidan Meehan, and the late George Bain. Recent years have brought him full-circle, getting to know the art heroes of his youth, writing a book forward for Courtney, and proof reading a manuscript for Aidan. He was to be a speaker, and exhibiting his art, at the 2nd International Celtic Art Conference scheduled for June 5th-7th 2020, in Downpatrick, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, the final resting place of St.Patrick. Due to the coronavirus, it is now postponed until a future date, yet to be announced.
His recent works have included many album and DVD covers, including iconic band The Irish Rovers, now in their 58th year. As resident artist and photographer for the group, his work has appeared on stages around the world. He has given presentations on the group’s career to VIP concert-goers, based on his piece ‘The Life of the Rover’, illustrating the band’s career on the cover of their landmark ’50 Years’ triple album collection.
He was a featured artist in the Mick Fleetwood Gallery in Lahaina, Maui, and created a special piece telling Mick’s life story. Other work has been published as newspaper covers and book illustrations, in addition to commissions, murals, Celtic tattoos, and even entire cars!
Hamish Burgess is the named Celtic artist for the Ireland Canada Monument, honouring the Irish contribution to the building of Canada, a national monument in final planning stages proposed for Vancouver, B.C. He created a piece of Celtic art that will honour Ireland and Canada.
Celtic art commissions are available for private collections, album covers, books and magazines.
Not all those who wander are lost...
Previously while living in Cornwall in the UK, Hamish started a career as a graphic artist and screen-printer, also owning his own clothing company, before emigrating in 1992. He still screen-prints the Maui Celtic logo-wear by hand on Maui.
He has traveled the world extensively for 38 years, exploring the cultures of everywhere he lived or visited, formerly as a professional scuba instructor for 10 years, and an avid surfer to this day, bringing him to Oahu for 2 years, then Maui for the last 22.
Since arriving in the Hawaiian Islands, Hamish has promoted Celtic culture for the last 2 decades, as a Celtic artist, bagpiper, and via his weekly Maui Celtic Radio Show. He has been a guest lecturer on Celtic art and music at the University of Hawai’i.
Along with partner Jennifer MacKay Fahrni (of Vancouver and Maui), he co-owns owns Maui Celtic, a retail company and cross-cultural link for music events, genealogy, Celtic art and heritage. The website is a resource for all things Celtic, and the Scots in Hawaii – www.mauiceltic.com.
Hamish shares Celtic culture and music with a worldwide audience as host and producer of the weekly syndicated ‘Maui Celtic Radio Show’, on KAKU 88.5fm in Maui (Sunday mornings 8-10am Hawaii time www.akaku.org, with a repeat 5-7pm), and on Celtic Music Radio 95fm in Glasgow (Tuesday 12 noon GMT www.celticmusicradio.net). He travels to many countries interviewing musicians for the programme. Based on research for his artwork , he has produced themed shows on the Celtic festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, as well as St.Patrick’s Day, and many more. Over 4 years of shows are archived at www.mixcloud.com/mauiceltic.
With partner Jennifer, Hamish is also a promoter of traditional Celtic music concerts on Maui, including the late Irish singing legend Liam Clancy, top Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, and award-winning bagpiper Jack Lee of the SFU Pipe Band (previous World Champions), to name but a few. He has organized and hosted a Robert Burns Night on Maui for the last 15 years.
He is a certified Whisky Ambassador, very active as The Whisky Surfer on Instagram, also on Facebook and Twitter. He’s co-founder, International Ambassador, and Cultural Advisor, of ‘Maui Malts’ Whisky Club, representing the Maui club at events and distilleries around the world. On Facebook and Instagram at Maui Malts.
He is a well-known Maui bagpiper, and was a founding member of The Maui Celtic Pipes and Drums, a bagpipe band serving the community, later renamed The Isle of Maui Pipe Band. He is now a solo player for weddings and cultural events throughout Hawaii, and was previously a piper on Mick Fleetwood’s rooftop bar in Lahaina. In the summer of 2000, he and Michael Riedel represented Maui and the Hawaiian Islands in Scotland at The Millennium Pipe March, where the biggest gathering of pipers ever marched through Edinburgh, and raised money for the Marie Curie Cancer Research charity.
Hamish has also been a piper for both his Scottish clans on his mother’s side. He was piper in Scotland for the Clan Douglas at their International Gathering in 2014, playing for the Earls of Morton and the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. He piped in future Chief Robbie Strachan to the opening dinner of the Clan Strachan Society International Gathering in Banchory, Aberdeenshire in 2019.
As Scottish Ambassador for The Princess Ka’iulani Project, Hamish personally took the story of Hawaii’s most beloved Hawaii-Scot, Princess Victoria Ka’iulani Cleghorn, back to her father’s homeland in 2009, where he was a featured guest on BBC Scotland and Celtic Music Radio Glasgow, as well a contributor to Scottish national newspapers. He also reports freelance on Celtic events, for local Hawaii and mainland societies and newspapers, including the ‘Celtic Connection’ in Vancouver BC and Seattle.
In 2010, Hamish was awarded ‘Scot of the Year’ by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii, for services to the Scottish/Hawaiian community. He was proud to be an instigator of the Hawaii Tartan (created by Douglas Herring), actually being made into kilts worn in Hawai’i, before it was ultimately recognized by the State of Hawaii.