Backstage at The Utah Arts Festival 2016: Stan O’Neil, Lori Mehan capture interest at Artists Marketplace

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Two exhibitors at The Utah Arts Festival’s Artists Marketplace have piqued the interest of many visitors.

Stan O’Neil (Glass, Sedro Woolley, Washington, Booth 91)

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O’Neil, who is a first time applicant to the festival, had spent many years working with metal, including decorative handrails, stands and eventually migrated to the art of blowing glass, which he has been doing since 2000. Eventually, he merged the two art forms, now producing metal art stands to hold glass platters. As he developed his technique as a glass blower, he has moved onto focusing on more refined, subtle artistic elements, as exemplified in his glass acorns and leaves. “At a young age, I started working with my hands and I have done so ever since, including doing custom auto painting,” he says. As he has developed his artist, especially in sculpting with hot glass, he has attended many workshops and studied with master glass artists from throughout the country. These include the Pratt Art Institute in Seattle and the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington.

Lori Mehan (Ceramics, Murray, Utah, Booth 99)

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Mehan, who is returning to the festival after several years, also remembers participating in the Artists Marketplace during the years when the festival was located at The Triad Center in downtown Salt Lake City and at the Fairpark. Mehan says she focuses on producing pieces different from one another as opposed to a production run replicating a particular ceramic form, which often features birds and animals in brightly colored representations.

She also says that she always works on perfecting her technique, and she has found detailed YouTube videos by other artists as being exceptionally well done and informed. Mehan, who works 36 hours a week as a warehouse order processor, often uses the remaining three days of the week to concentrate on her art.

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Les Roka
I am a native of Toledo, Ohio, having received my Ph.D. in journalism and mass communication from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism in 2002. In addition to teaching at Utah State University and the University of Utah, I have worked extensively in public relations for a variety of organizations including a major metropolitan university, college of osteopathic medicine, and community college. When it comes to intellectual curiosity, I venture into as many areas as possible, whether it’s about music criticism, the history of journalism, the practice of public relations in a Web 2.0 world and the soon-to-arrive Web 3.0 landscape, or how public debates are formed about many issues especially in the political arena. As a Salt Lake City resident, I currently write and edit a blog called The Selective Echo that provides an entertaining, informative, and provocative look at Salt Lake City and its cosmopolitan best. I also have been the U.S. editorial advisor for an online publication Art Design Publicity based in The Netherlands. And, I use social media tools such as Twitter for blogging, networking with journalists and experts, and staying current on the latest trends in culture and news. I also have been a regular monthly contributor to a Utah business magazine, and I have recently conducted a variety of editing projects involving authors and researchers throughout the country and the world, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Lebanon, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan. I’m also a classically trained musician who spent more than 15 years in a string quartet, being involved in more than 400 performances.

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