Raised on Maui and born, literally, in the cradle of modern surfing culture, the island is more than just my home. With deep roots in the ocean lifestyle, and a life-long affinity for the natural and cultural beauty of the Islands, it was an easy choice for me to join the only locally owned and operated Real Estate Company, run by design-driven people who truly enjoy their Hawai’i Life.
Although my life began in Laguna Beach, California, it took shape in Hawaii. My family travelled to the islands every winter chasing the north swell. My father, John Severson, an artist, journalist, and devoted surfer, founded Surfer Magazine. He was always on the quest for the perfect wave. “Sevo” moved us to Maui in the early ’70’s, where my sister and I enjoyed an idyllic bohemian childhood, surfing in the Napili waves, and attending Haleakala school and Seabury Hall. I thought, “If this is normal, the rest of the world must be even more amazing.” I set off to study and work abroad, but always returned to Maui as my home.
After graduating in Communications and Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego, I moved to Paris, where I lived and worked for 10 years, eventually becoming the Art Buyer for Yves Saint Laurent. Lured to Los Angeles by an opportunity to design for rock stars, I continued to work as a freelance artist until a long-ago romance came full circle. In 1985, on a windsurfing mission to the South of France, I met Eric “Speedy” Gonzales, a professional windsurfer and owner of a string of surf shops. We managed to keep in touch for 18 years, and in 2003, Eric and I married and moved, at last, back to Maui.
Today, I own and operate Magenta Boulevard, an art studio and gallery in Lahaina. Sevo, who still surfs and paints, and who seems to know everyone on the island, and my mother, Louise, an accomplished designer of beautiful textiles, split their time between Napili and Sprekelsville. Eric and I live in Puamana, on the Lahaina side, speak French with our bilingual daughter Zoe, surf, tend our garden, paint, and enjoy our beautiful life in our island home.
Photos by Brent Schlea and John Severson.
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