Growing up on the beach at Cottesloe, Derek felt inspired to paint from an early age. He developed a passion for surfing that guided him to other locations and ultimately, he found his way to Honolulu in Hawaii, following an invitation to exhibit at the World Expo 88.

He has been painting in Hawaii since.  Using traditional symbols and designs, Derek manipulates his surface to transform his compositions into powerful objects telling complex stories.  With a focus on texture and tribal patterns that are a testament to his own indigenous background, many of his works are inspired by the history, culture and identity of Hawaii as told to him by the indigenous elders. Refining his style comes from these conversations and tells of his experiences. 

In his passion to inspire people to appreciate the visual and spiritual arts Derek paints full time, abandoning his surfing to devote his time to capturing the culture in his timeless and meaningful paintings.