Donald Namohala Yuen created the Malama Torch (TM) in 1967, but he was known for his work well before that. Don was born and reared in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. He spent the Korean War in the US Navy. After the Navy, he attended the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts).
Don’s art esthetic was formed by the Arts and Crafts movement and Abstract Expressionism of San Francisco, then the center of high culture onthe West Coast. While there, Don developed a wholistic philosophy of art, incorporating his sense of design into everything from utilitarian objects such as lamps and door knobs to fine jewelry.
But, even before attending college, Don was recognized as an artist. The Navy, recognizing a valuable resource in the young sailor, set him to work painting murals in the officer’s mess, dive training tank, and other sites at Pearl Harbor. The paintings remained for many years.
Don continues to remain true to his heritage, incorporating the history and culture of Hawaiʻi into his art.