Louis Pohl was both a superb painter and an innovative printer. His paintings and prints are powerful statements acknowledging his connection to Hawai'i’s natural surroundings, yet they maintain a delicate balance between nature and abstraction, and thus evoke both a specific sense of place while also suggesting something universal.
Pohl adapted a unique printing process, “collagraphy,” a collage like approach to design. Without using any mechanical printing press, he layered different shapes and colors together, using his hands and body weight to create his mixed-media bird, volcano, and sea series. His collagraphs were made from an image built with glue stencils and other materials carefully placed on a relief board. The inked image was transferred from plate to wet paper to achieve an embossed effect resulting in beautiful, original fine art works.
Pohl was born in Ohio and graduated in 1940 from the Cincinnati Art Academy where he studied lithography and taught. In 1945, he moved to Honolulu and taught art at the Honolulu Art Academy – a professional art school that he helped found – Kamehameha Schools, public schools, the University of Hawai'i at Hilo and in his own studio. In 1988 Kapiolani Community College honored him as an art educator. In 1994, the State of Hawai'i legislature and the Honolulu Printmakers recognized and honored Pohl as a living treasure for his lifetime achievements. Through his career, Pohl helped establish exhibited, galleries, the Linekona Art Center and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. He was also a newspaper cartoonist and author of children’s books.