Backstage at the Utah Arts Festival 2022: Artist Marketplace returns to usual comprehensive spectrum with 175 participants

This year’s Artist Marketplace at the Utah Arts Festival will be back in full scale and the 175 artists selected for the four-day event reflect the same rigorous process that has produced significant depth in the creative spectrum represented in the visual artists. With a jury composed of experts and community members, led by coordinators Matt Jacobson and his assistant Sarah Baker Taylor, the group recommended artists not only on the basis of technical considerations such as details and quality of composition or on aspects of color and texture but also on meaning and themes that evoke or echo stories, history, nature, emotions and unique appeal to audiences and potential buyers.

Roughly one out of every three artists selected this year is from Utah with 116 coming from outside of Utah. From the pool of 518 applicants, there are 57 artists who are making their first appearance at the Utah Arts Festival. In addition to jury awards, there also will be a people’s choice award, to be determined by the votes of festival patrons. All of the visual artist award winners are eligible for invitation to the Utah Arts Festival in 2023. Best of Show and People’s Choice Award winners also will have their booth fees waived.

Mick Whitcomb.

Among the highlights this year will be Neil (Russell) Greenidge (2-D Mixed Media, Booths 171 and 172), a.North Hollywood, California artist whose work echoes rhythms found in nature, such as gaseous bodies in deep space, aerial landscapes and the ocean floor. Scott Martin (Ceramics, Booth 154 A & B), from Schoolcraft, Michigan, works with hand-sculpted forms inspired by the oceans reef. He uses heavy color and texture to bring each design to life, while crushed glass and sprayed glazes imbue each creation with fluid movement. Scott Hale (Drawings/Pastels, Booth 39), a Saint George, Utah artist who began working full time in pastels nearly 20:years ago, creates his own surfaces with a tinted, made-for-pastel, gesso, as he builds layers of soft pastel into beautiful landscapes. 

The spectrum has expanded this year in artistic representation. Joshua Bales (Fiber, Booth 123), of Evergreen, Colorado, uses hand tools and paints to create leather belts with hand forged bronze and steel buckles and hardware. Juli Cardozo (Jewelry, Booth 46), of Salt Lake City, fashions copper, sterling silver, and gold wire wrapped jewelry with strategically placed gemstones and crystals. Mark Zirinsky (Metalwork, Booth 142), of  Denver, designs carved, machined, engraved, and relief carved from aircraft aluminum with abstract designs suggesting natural forms.

Christian Coleman and Emily Edmunds.

Scott Tuckfield (Painting, Booth 49), of Sandy, Utah, incorporates mystical symbols in creating detailed, layered acrylic paintings. The layering technique stimulates the visual sense of movement in the piece.

Angelina Kidd (Photography and Digital Photography, Booth 161), of Redmond, Washington, creates 3-D paper collage imagery, which is constructed by hand and then photographed in silhouettes. The colors and texture come from paper. Wet plate tintypes of 3-D scenes are created in the darkroom with chemistry. Jonathan Morgan (Sculpture, Booth 168), of South Weber, Utah, creates bronze sculptures representing stories to elicit emotion. All pieces are made by utilizing the lost wax technique. Robert Jackman (Wood, Booth 84), of Filer, Idaho, creates high-quality, handmade, weight driven clocks formed out of hardwoods.

Amos Amit.

Award winners from the August 2021 festival will be returning this month to the Artist Marketplace. They include Christian Coleman and Emily Edmunds (Booth 164), of Salt Lake City, who won the People’s Choice Award. They work as coppersmith artists who focus on etching techniques and patinas. They have been active on the festival circuit with shows including the Tempe Arts Festival, Deep Ellum Arts Festival in Dallas, The Dogwood Festival in Atlanta, the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts and the Pecan Street Arts Festival in Austin, Texas.

Returning Best in Show winners include Tony Barbano (Booth 88), of Murray Utah (Community & Inclusion), who specializes in contemporary glass blowing that involves blowing 24k gold and pure silver into glass. He also will be participating later this year at the Utah Museum of Fine Art Holiday Show Celebration of Fine Art 2022 and in Scottsdale, Arizona. Amos Amit (Booth 76), of Los Angeles (Board), is an Israeli-born artist working in batik, which reflects experiences from his past as well as the present. He also has upcoming shows in Park City, Des Moines and Chicago.

Tony Barbano

Ellie Rusinova and Brandan Styles (Booth 40j, of Denver (Artist Marketplace), have collaborated for more than 13 years with art that emphasizes surreal and theatrical aspects of what they term a “circus of weirdo spiritualism.” Among their upcoming shows is the New Orleans Jazz Fest.

Returning Award of Merit winners include Ian Ely (Booth 136 A and B), of La Jolla, California (Donor), whose lifelong fascination of photography has led him to be among the nation’s foremost landscape photography. Kevin O’Grady (Booth 14), of Scottsdale, Arizona (Community and Inclusion), works as a glass artist who specializes in wearable art, hand crafted in simple, clean lines with a depth of color and detail. Upcoming shows include the Breckenridge July Art Festival. O’Grady also is collaborating with a German jewelry manufacturer for a piece exclusively offered on a European shopping channel. Mick Whitcomb (Booth 25), of Springfield, MIssouri (Artist Marketplace), creates utilitarian sculptures by converting mechanical and scientific innovations from the 19th century into light fixtures. Each piece utilizes genuine objects with lighting technologies introduced in the late 1800s. Each piece has been re-discovered, re-worked, and re-imagined to preserve relevance for a past generation of machines. Upcoming shows include the Kimball Art Festival, Plaza Art Festival, Saint Louis Art Festival and Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Festival.

Ellie Rusinova and Brandan Styles.

Christopher Rasmussen (Booth 20j, of Three Forks, Montana (Board), owns his creative enterprise Cedar Rose Woodworking and works with storm-damaged trees that he has harvested and are turned on a lathe and hand carved and sanded as they are transformed into beautiful, practical sculptural pieces. He made his first appearance at UAF in 2021. In an interview last year with The Utah Review, he explained his process. Rasmussen said he is patient and willing to let the muse take as much time as needed to capture the piece for what he envisions as a work of art. “It depends upon the pieces of wood I find,” he explained. “There are thousands of trees that have been hit by thunderstorms and all types of wind and weather. And, I’m out there constantly so I know exactly what is happening to them over the years.”

But, he also emphasized that he never rushes to gather a piece of wood even if he already has in mind how it will be transformed into an art piece. If there is a tree limb that looks like it’s ready to fall, he is willing to wait as long as it’s needed before nature has finished the job. For example, he checks regularly on a massive old cottonwood tree limb that blew down two years ago but yet is still attached to the tree.

Ian Ely.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen already has formulated in his mind what he envisions the final piece will look like. “It’s still attached and clinging to life,” he said. “That section will come down. I am just waiting for nature to complete the process on its own. I always keep an eye on what the beavers are doing. I love these trees and there is something very important about the respect and reverence involved and why we should not interfere with the natural processes at work.” 

For more information about all events, see the Utah Arts Festival website. 

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