A lot of the preliminary work for their proposed show is already done. There’s a thick binder of maps they hope to include in the display, each with extensive notes that move the story forward.
One map that particularly excites them was produced in 1876 and displayed at the American centennial exhibit in Philadelphia. It is notable for its large size, its ornate borders, and its many detailed insets of volcanoes. It was only exhibited once and even then never printed full size.
“We were able to digitally clean up and improve an image and print it full size (see photo), said Mikelsen. “It’s not just Photoshop; it’s having the knowledge of antique paper and being able to combine it with Photoshop and the giclee printing process."
In this team Mikelsen is Mr. Inside; he works at the computer making the digital refinements to the image and then supervises the printing. The Oahu native started in the graphic arts in the old cut-and-paste days and made the transition to the intricacies of the computer early on. He has developed many of his own refinements and specialized techniques.
Neal is Mr. Outside: he writes the history, weaves the images together into the story and works on sales to keep the company afloat. To keep his material fresh he gives frequent talks to visitors at the Westin and the Ritz, two of Maui’s leading resorts. The company has also produced three short videos that set out the basic narrative. It’s an exciting story that starts with the Polynesian voyages and continues through the European navigators, American missionaries, the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, followed by Territorial days and American Statehood in 1959.