Utah Arts Festival 2015, photo by Amourette Bradley

Utah Arts Festival 2015, photo by Amourette Bradley

Twitchell's Booth

Paul Twitchell’s Booth, photo by Amourette Bradley

Every year in June, artists from across the country travel to Salt Lake City for the Utah Arts Festival. They set up booths, display and sell their wares, and share their passion for art with the crowds. After four days of visual art exhibits and demonstrations, musical performances, performing arts workshops, and culinary tastings, the festival concludes. With the ensuing calm comes reflection, and with every passing year, I am continually reminded of how varied, vibrant, and talented many Utah artists prove. Three of my favorite Utah artists showcased in the festival were wildlife watercolorist Paul Twitchell, jewelry designer Kali Mellus, and oil painter Santiago H. Michalek. Their work offers viewers beautiful creations that display their individual style and that highlight Utah’s unique heritage.

Paul Twitchell’s wildlife art offers viewers an opportunity to share his love of the natural world. Within his work, viewers find carefully depicted images of trout, pheasants, grouse, and pintails. Owls, elk, moose, deer, and foxes also appear throughout his oeuvre. The luminescent colors, the delicate renderings, and the careful compositions create an immediate appeal.

Detail of Pintails

PAUL TWITCHELL, Detail of Pintails, photo by Amourette Bradley

When I asked Paul about his work, he explained that he always loved art and nature. He began creating art as a child, and he would practice his drawing skills by recreating cartoon figures from the evening paper. He spent hours playing in Utah’s outdoors, and with an artist’s eye for detail, he absorbed the world around him. After high school, Paul explained, art took a “back burner.” Drafted in the Vietnam War, college, career, marriage, and family occupied his time, but art still held a special appeal. He would create beautiful scenes of nature in his free moments. He told me that when he first made prints of his watercolors, colleagues at work were amazed and quickly offered to buy them. His “hobby” of painting Utah’s wildlife soon became lucrative. After retiring from Hill Airforce Base, Paul decided to devote more time to his art. He displays his works in about seven art shows a year and sells original paintings and limited edition prints. Insisting that his work remains a hobby, his prices remain surprising low. He wants people to like his art and to be able to afford something beautiful, he explains.

KALI MELLUS, Detail of Aspen Leaves in Resin, photo by Amourette Bradley

KALI MELLUS, Detail of Aspen Leaves in Resin, photo by Amourette Bradley

Kali Mellus’ jewelry and art display her affection for detail and a love of nature. Her beautiful framed panels of aspen leaves captured in resin seem to capture the glow of Utah’s canyons. Her recycled hardware jewelry and belt buckles offer an urban edge, alluding to Salt Lake’s urban and mountain culture.

SANTIAGO H.MICHALEK, Round House, photo by Amourette Bradley

SANTIAGO H.MICHALEK, Round House, photo by Amourette Bradley

Santiago H. Michalek’s work, specializing in oil paintings of vintage transportation, instantly attracts the viewer. His large-scale work of engineers and trains in a round house immediately recalls Utah’s railroad history and rail yards. The work seems to offer the viewer a glimpse into the middle of a past story. Santiago explains that his paintings often evoke nostalgia and memories. He creates connections to the past through his subject matter, vintage transportation, and through his realistic depiction of textures. Santiago explains that he finds painting texture particularly challenging and rewarding. The dented metal, the rust, the shine of steel, all bring immediacy to his works. A long-time Volkswagon buff, Santiago, often paints the iconic vehicles. Everyone who owns or once owned a Volkswagon often stops to talk to him about his art, he continues. They find a connection to his works through their own fond memories and his detailed creations. They recognize the sheen of the paint, the dent in the door, the scuff of rust on the side. Beautiful in their own right, the works take on added significance when combined with the viewer’s memories.Dove Blue Bus

My memories of the Utah Arts Festival are fond, as always. I find the opportunity to attend a delightful reminder of how varied, vibrant, and talented Utah artists prove.

Article written by our guest writer, Amourette Bradley, a former Salt Lake Community College and Hillcrest High School Instructor.  Thank you for your contribution!

 

 

 

 

BRENT HALE, Garden Tile Mirror, ceramics, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

BRENT HALE, Garden Tile Mirror, ceramics, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

With summer comes thoughts of vacation. The computer screen’s lurid glare, the smell of exhaust on the freeway, and the constant buzz of cell phones demanding our attention somehow seem even more annoying when the weather becomes warm. The desire to “get away,” if only for a few hours, often lures us outside. Like many of us, I often seek respite from our fast-paced world in nature. Somehow, just spending a few moments in nature seems to rejuvenate my spirit.

Art at the Main gallery celebrates the beauty and restorative spirit of nature with the exhibit The Artist’s Garden held at Red Butte. This exhibit features Utah artists’ depictions of gardens and nature and offers viewers the opportunity to purchase works.

Stepping into Red Butte Garden’s exhibit hall, one instantly realizes the unique nature of this exhibit. It seems so appropriate for an exhibit about gardens to be held in an atrium, surrounded by windows, and looking onto the landscape. Brent Hale’s ceramic Garden Tile Mirror plays with this setting. The mirror, framed with handcrafted tiles of leaves, flowers, and moths not only reflects the theme of an artist’s garden, but it also reflects the garden outside.

BILL REED, Stainless Steel Bouquet, mixed media, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

BILL REED, Stainless Steel Bouquet, mixed media, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

Strolling through the works, one cannot help but notice the variety of mediums and styles used to explore the idea of a garden. Bill Reed’s Stainless Steel Bouquet in mixed media offers the viewer a strikingly modern approach to nature. Heavily impasted paint becomes juxtaposed to the stainless steel “blooms.” It forces the viewer to think about the role of nature in our technological and industrial society. Have we separated ourselves from the natural world, or have we simply incorporated it into our new lifestyle?

BILL REED, Botanicals #3 (Flowering Spiral Galaxy), acrylic, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

BILL REED, Botanicals #3 (Flowering Spiral Galaxy), acrylic, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

Bill Reed’s acrylic Botanicals #3 (Flowering Spiral Galaxy) again explores nature within the modern world. Bill explains that his works exist as “emotional landscapes,” and, in this case, it utilizes an abstract image of nature to convey mood. Striking blues, white, and black move across the canvas in a spiral of color. The image recalls the captivation one feels gazing into a pool or looking into a summer’s sky. The circular flow, an allusion to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, encourages the viewer to consider nature’s cyclic power and its paradoxical transient and eternal nature.

Mary Pusey’s watercolors offer the viewer delicate images of nature. Her exquisite renderings of sunflowers nodding in the garden instantly capture the viewer’s attention. It comes as no surprise to learn that Mary especially enjoys plein air painting. The play of light and shadow within her watercolor Nodding Off seems to capture the autumn light dancing across a sunflower filled with seeds. Her watercolor Rose Garden fragments the flowers into individual blocks of color and brings to mind a stained glass window or a mosaic in its intricacy.

MARY PUSEY, Nodding Off, watercolor, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

MARY PUSEY, Nodding Off, watercolor, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

A garden’s bright and restorative nature becomes expressed with swirled, fused, and slumped glass in Linda Kalmar’s work Blue Fescue. The bright blue and yellow instantly recalls a summer’s sky or a pool or blue surrounded by yellow buttercups. Christine Kende’s cast glasswork Evergreen further illustrates the delicate beauty of pine boughs through the glass medium. The iridescent nature of the glass seems to allude to the many seasons of the garden and the play of light on the branches.

LINDA KALMAR, Blue Fescue, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

LINDA KALMAR, Blue Fescue, photo taken by Amourette Bradley

As one travels through the exhibit, the joy and beauty that the artists convey through their various depictions of gardens lifts the spirit. It acts as a mini “get away” and offers the viewer the opportunity to take home one of the “gardens” to preserve the memory. The exhibit continues through June 21, 2015, at Red Butte, and interested parties may also visit the Art at the Main gallery to view more examples of highlighted artists’ works.

This article was written by our guest writer Amourette Bradley, a former Salt Lake Community College Instructor and Instructor at Hillcrest High School.

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Cigar Box Ukelele, $200. From https://www.facebook.com/HansonMusicWorksandGoods/app_259525164100619?ref=page_internal

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Cigar Box Ukelele, $200. From Hanson Music Works & Goods Facebook page

Have you ever made a guitar with a shoe box and rubber bands?  As a kid, art and music combine in simple craft projects.  But as we get older, the skill set required to create art and music becomes more intense, and we either choose sides or give up all together.  Local artist and musician Bret Hanson seems to have bridged this gap with his multifaceted talent.

Bret Hanson is a busy man. He handcrafts musical instruments from reclaimed objects, composes and performs music under the name Lowlander, and is a master printmaker.

BRET HANSON, from Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

BRET HANSON, from Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

Growing up, Bret felt fascinated by art and by music. He explains that his love of art began at birth and that he would draw and build models from a very young age. At sixteen, when his father surprised him with an electric guitar and amp purchased at a yard sale, his passion for music commenced. From that time on, he was never without at least a few musical instruments in his life.

This fascination with art and with music continued in college. At the University of New Mexico, Bret earned a MFA in printmaking. All the while his prints appeared in numerous exhibitions and shows, Bret continued with his other love of music, playing the guitar and writing his own songs. In 2012, Bret started writing music under the name Lowlander. As he continued writing and recording more music, he also began searching for more instruments to include within his songs. Research led him to discover an international community of artists creating their own musical instruments. Intrigued, he built his first electric cigar box guitar, and he became instantly captivated by the process and the sound.

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Custom Jameson Acoustic Guitar, $180. From Hanson Music Works & Goods Facebook page

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Custom Jameson Acoustic Guitar, $180. From Hanson Music Works & Goods Facebook page

Following his dream of combining his art and music, Bret began the company Hanson Music Works & Goods.   He handcrafts and sells guitars, ukuleles, banjos, and amplifiers. Bret finds the materials to make his instruments in cigar shops, thrift stores, dumpsters, craft stores, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and curbsides. He combines these found and reclaimed objects in the creation of something totally new: a musical instrument.

The challenges involved in arranging unrelated objects in a pleasing composition and in arranging them as functional objects fascinates Bret. He spends ten to fifteen hours creating each instrument. The time consuming nature of his projects and his printmaker’s attention to detail becomes apparent when one looks at one of his cigar box guitars. The copper rivets inlaid in the fret, the juxtaposition of metal bolts with the warmth of a cigar box, and the delicate paintwork on the front show the hand of a master artist.

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Electric Cigar Box Guitar, $200. From https://www.facebook.com/HansonMusicWorksandGoods/app_259525164100619?ref=page_internal

Hanson Music Works & Goods, Electric Cigar Box Guitar, $200. From Hanson Music Works & Goods Facebook page

It seems an ideal fit for Bret. He explains that in creating an instrument he feels his mind and creativity engaged, but he can also put the project down and leave it for a few hours or days when necessary. Being a parent, he explains, necessitated a more flexible type of work than printmaking that requires a dedicated “safe space” in which to work for an extended time.

Bret feels that his instruments bridge the gap between visual design and music. He explains that he can’t categorize his music or art and that he often changes directions swiftly and dramatically in his work. Creating his own musical instruments allows him to explore various musical and artistic traditions and styles all while combining aesthetic beauty and functionality. It seems that he’s found the perfect profession!

Bret Hanson, instruments for sale at Craft Lake City, taken form Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

Bret Hanson, instruments for sale at Craft Lake City, taken form Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

To experience more of Bret’s works and music, refer to his Facebook page and Etsy page at: https://www.facebook.com/HansonMusicWorksandGoods/timeline?ref=page_internal

Interview written by guest writer and former Hillcrest High School Instructor, Amourette Bradley.

Bret Hanson, instruments for sale at Craft Lake City, taken form Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

BRET HANSON, instruments for sale at Craft Lake City, taken form Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

In looking at guitars created at Hanson Music Works and Goods, the question arises, “Are they art forms or simply functional musical instruments?”  What further complicates this notion is the fact that Hanson’s instruments are designed from old cigar boxes and other reclaimed and repurposed materials.  The artist complicates these found objects’ original intentions.  Each work proves unique and is designed with simple hand-tools, a rarity in our modern age of mass production.

Local artist Bret Hanson creates these pieces and seems to resolve the old conflict of form versus function.  According to Hanson, “As an artist with an MFA, I consider these instruments functional works of art. I have designed them in hopes of achieving a balance of beauty and functionality.”

While the artist’s intention becomes evident in our modern time, what about past issues of form versus function?

BRET HANSON, from Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

BRET HANSON, from Hanson Music Works and Goods Facebook page

Discussion Questions:

1.  Native American beading and design decorate clothing, baskets, and other seemingly functional items.  Despite the beauty of their work and level of their skill, these objects most often appear in natural history museums as opposed to fine art museums.  What does this scenario reveal about past views of form and function?

2.  List and describe three items that prove functional but could also exist as works of art.  Why?

To further explore the work of Bret Hanson, refer to Hanson Music Works and Goods’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HansonMusicWorksandGoods/timeline?ref=page_internal

On February 12th, local potter, Blaine Atwood, guest lectured ceramics students at Granger High School and led them in a project.  Now, several weeks later, we can see the finished products after they’ve emerged from the kiln!

With only two weeks into the new semester, these beginning ceramics’ students had the chance to learn from a former college professor of ceramics.  He now works as a full-time potter.  Students learned many methods to create wheel-thrown pottery.  They also learned techniques to make pinched pots, hollow vessels, and even elephant sculptures.  The results proved impressive.

In talking about her experience with the artist connect, instructor Andrea Heidinger said it provided “extraordinary experiences.”  She continued, “This was many students’ first time meeting a full-time artist, let alone having them available in the classroom.”

Students agreed and praised the chance to have hands-on experience.  Students commented on the confidence that Atwood gave them through sharing his experience and advice.  According to a member of Heidinger’s class, “It is valuable because someone is taking their time to teach something they love and have as a career.”

The praise was mutual.  In communicating with Atwood, he admired the fact that “The classes were exited and attentive. It is obvious that [Heidinger] has a way of inspiring the kids to create great things. I personally had a great time.”

Thank you to Ms. Heidinger and her class and, especially to artist, Blaine Atwood!  We wish to thank our sponsors for making this event possible.  We appreciate your support.

For more information about our visiting artist opportunities, please email our staff at: fosterartprogramblog@gmail.com.

Andrea Heidinger provided the photos, and Juliette Bradley prepared the slideshow.  The featured song comes from Nine Inch Nails 7 Ghosts I.

 

 

 

BLAINE ATWOOD, Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

The word service has many meanings. They vary widely from religious to dining connotations. This play on words seems significant in viewing Blaine Atwood’s collection of potteries.

In looking at them, we immediately see the influence of Russian and Indian architecture. The bulbous forms on the top of the installation rise like spires on a religious structure. Pure, colorless forms enhance this idea of “divine service.”

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18' long 7' tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, Front Side View of Accumulation of Divine Service, Ceramic on Wood Shelving, 18′ long 7′ tall, Over 1000 Wheel Thrown Pottery Vessels,
2014

Yet, when we consider the whole title, Accumulation of Divine Service, we suddenly consider the potteries as tangible and collectable. They don’t just represent an abstract idea of transcendence and purity anymore; they exist as real objects. They are separate pieces we can “accumulate.” The hundreds of green mugs on the bottom reinforce this idea, especially since they are practical drinking vessels that we can use everyday in our dining service.

For Further Thought:

BLAINE ATWOOD, detail from Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

BLAINE ATWOOD, detail from Accumulation of Divine Service, 2014

1. Why is such a play on words and this mix of religious/practical significant? What do we learn about our own expectations as viewers from this seemingly unlikely combination?

2. Consider the works’ size. It includes over 1,000 individual pieces. What effect does the overwhelming size and arrangement have on us? Why is this important in deriving meaning?

To view more images from this installation refer to Atwood’s blog at: http://batwoodcreations.blogspot.com.

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Dutch Paper Mill

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Dutch Paper Mill

While some studio artists make a living creating and selling their work, many use their expertise and creativity to pursue other careers, including teaching.  Local artist, Tamara Burnside, presents an example.  As a skilled watercolorist, Burnside has the ability to succeed as a full-time artist.  She began exhibiting her art in 1997.  “I have exhibited in the Springville Museum of Art, BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center, Bountiful Davis Art Center, Utah Museum of Art and History, and the Riverton Museum of Art.  As far as galleries, I have exhibited in PTC’s Loge Gallery, Kimball Art Center, Atrium, Tivoli, Myra Powell, So Ho, Red Butte Gardens, and the Utah County Court House.  My works have also traveled in the Utah Arts Council Traveling Show.”

Despite these numerous successes, Burnside chose to focus on sharing her love of art with others.  She taught art in elementary, junior high, and high schools and now has a successful career as the K-12 Fine Arts Coordinator for Granite School District.

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Luxor Boats

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Luxor Boats

The fact that Burnside inspires others through her teaching seems significant, especially since her own elementary teacher first inspired her interest in art.  “I felt a great deal of accomplishment when my fifth grade teacher displayed my drawing on her bulletin board.  Miss Korn was a very disciplined teacher whose praise was in short supply. Therefore, it meant a great deal to have her display my art.”

Burnside developed this early talent through further study and college degrees.  “I believe in education and know degrees open doors.  I can attest to it in my life.  I double majored in Fine Art and Elementary Education at Westminster.  After teaching elementary school for twelve years, I wanted to further my knowledge of art education. This lead me to BYU’s Art Education program, a combination of my two loves.  During my time at BYU, I had the opportunity to study art education in museums and schools throughout Europe as a teaching assistant.  I also taught at BYU’s new Museum of Art. I received my Masters of Art Education from BYU in 1994.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur

TAMARA BURNSIDE, A Day in Jaipur

Burnside’s education led her to several positions.  “In November of [1994], I heard about an art position at Olympus Junior High.  I taught at OJH for eight years.  I loved teaching art there. I took art students abroad to Europe a couple of years, as well as to New York.  These were wonderful experiences.  In 2003, I started teaching art at Taylorsville High School.  It was a joy to teach Drawing, Painting, AP Studio Art, and Concurrent Art Classes.  I had just begun teaching at Taylorsville (second week of school), and I was hired to be Granite School District’s K-12 Fine Arts Specialist.  I split my time between teaching every other day and between working as a curriculum specialist over Dance, Drama, and Art the rest of the time.  In 2006, the Granite School District Board of Education made me the K-12 Fine Arts Specialist full time.  In this capacity, I have the pleasure of working primarily with teachers, which is very rewarding.”

Despite Burnside’s busy schedule, she continues to create art.  Traveling to exotic locations often influences the artist’s choice of subject matter.  “My art reflects my travels. Italy, Sicily, Spain, Egypt, India, Turkey, China, Greece, Austria, France, The Netherlands, and Africa are all places I’ve painted.  India was a wonder, and its people struck me deeply.  People live in poverty, yet they are clean with beautiful white smiles.  I love the Indian people.”

International travel isn’t the artist’s only inspiration.  “I have also painted many of my travels in the United States.  I just completed a series of paintings of Maine.  I also have done series of painting of Utah landscapes from Maynard Dixon’s homestead in Mt. Carmel, Fairview, Spring City, and Riverton.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Santa Maria Della Salute

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Santa Maria Della Salute

Burnside’s teaching and extensive travel experience greatly influence her art and career.  They create a broad perspective that seeks to elevate art and to inspire others.  “I have been very fortunate to have many opportunities associated with my work in Granite School District and as an advisory board member and chair of Salt Lake County’s arts boards – ZAP (Zoo, Arts, Parks) Tier II, Salt Lake Center for the Arts, and the Art Selections Committee.  My service has brought me in contact with students, arts teachers, art professors, art professionals, professional artists, and gallery owners.  This network is elevating.  I have the opportunity to continually be exposed to people doing great work in the arts at various levels.  My purpose has been to be a resource and support to individuals and groups to flourish in the arts.”

Despite such dedication, challenges face the arts in our local schools.  “Education is undergoing many transitions.  Accountability has been the buzz word of late.  Teachers are accountable to show student growth and use assessment data to inform their lesson plans.  The days are past when a teacher can just teach how and what they want.  They must teach the core.  This has added another layer for teachers.  When you add this layer to class sizes of forty to fifty students, along with inadequate funding for supplies, teaching has become much harder.  Yet, I am continually inspired by teachers who make a difference in student’s lives by encouraging and helping them to grow in knowledge and ability.”

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Peaks Island Anchor Portland, Maine

TAMARA BURNSIDE, Peaks Island Anchor Portland, Maine

So, how can we, as art lovers and artists, help face such challenges?  “It is wonderful to have many community resources.  The Foster Art Program is one of these resources.  Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Patty Taylor’s art class.  She had Blaine Atwood, sculptor and potter, do a presentation consisting of a demonstration and clay project.  He was phenomenal!  What an opportunity for Magna students to get to learn from a professional.  When an artist shares their story, it helps students to see the possibilities for their lives, to use their artistic ability to make a living.  The great thing about Blaine is he attests to the need to further your education.  As a former art professor at Eastern Utah College, he now makes art full time and is succeeding!”

What advice does Burnside have for burgeoning artists?  “My advice to students is to follow their passion.  It takes more than wishing and hoping.  It takes work.  It takes an education.”

It also takes wonderful teachers.  Thank you, Tamara Burnside, and thank you to all the teachers out there who help us find and refine our passion.