Nicole Namdar created a unique piece of art and inspiring quotes for the 2021 2.0 Edition of the Virtual M2O.

Nicole Namdar is an artist, illustrator, and fashion designer with a background in medicine. She  began illustrating full-time three years ago after a family illness which relocated her from Oahu back to California.  “I just fell in love with the culture, the spirit of aloha, the feeling of ohana wherever I went, and the lightheartedness in the air. But when I suddenly had to leave, I was devastated. Creating art that not only encompassed my memories on the island but also my love for the people of Hawai’i, makes me feel as though I never left.”

Recently, Namdar started using her platform and adapting her artwork to provide hope during the COVID-19 outbreak.  As a former healthcare worker, she was drawn to the moment immensely and channeled her art to build an effective giveback to small business in Hawai’i with her digital art and apparel collections.

My “You can’t Quarantine Aloha” caption was inspired by all of the love and personal connections I was making from people all over the globe. Merely thanking me for helping them and I just thought wow, there’s so much need for unconditional love right now. I saw that we were all on the same boat, globally. Everyone was quarantined and for the first time we were all going through this together…I thought what a beautiful time to try to create something everyone can connect with and find some sense of relief.”

Her illustrations have been shared by thousands of people online. Namdar is also using her skills to create custom artwork to sell and give back to small businesses, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to these local businesses in Hawai’i. She also created a collection honoring healthcare professionals and donated all of the proceeds to an event she threw at The Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu. Healthcare Heroes were surprised with a flower truck filled with exotic blossoms for them to choose from and make their own bouquets. “After talking to a few of the nurses who had reached out to show their appreciation for the my coloring pages, and how much it relieved them in between patients, I thought, how nice would it be for them to walk out to the ER loading dock and for a change, see a truck full of beautiful flowers especially for them.”

Nicole wanted to create a similar feel for the Moloka’i 2 O’ahu event and continue to create art that resonates with the paddling community. While providing hope and excitement for the return to the Ka’iwi channel in 2022. “Although a virtual event this year, I felt through the ocean, near or far, the second we immerse ourselves in one body of water, we are all connected, together, celebrating this event  as one, channeling Aloha.”

To see more of Namdar’s artwork and help a small business in need, click here.