Backstage at The Utah Arts Festival 2018: Aasia Hamid’s self-taught bead artistry, Nathan Brimhall’s volumetric sculptures among Artist Marketplace highlights

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Eye-popping art is the standard in this year’s Artist Marketplace at the Utah Arts Festival. Two examples are Aasia Hamid’s intricate jewelry pieces incorporating bead work with tiny seed beads woven together with needle and fishing line thread. Hamid (Booth 46) is making her second appearance at the festival, is from Gilbert Arizona. Nathan Brimhall of South Jordan, Utah (Booth 112) is making his first appearance at the festival. His sculptures are made by cutting and welding mild steel and the size is impressive.

Both artists agreed to answer questions by email about their work for The Utah Review.

Aasia Hamid

TUR: How have you used art media forms in helping to create an holistic body of artistic work that searches for a more complete expression of your own innermost and most powerful states of emotion, inspiration, contemplation, and self-identity?

AH: I have always been an art lover; played with different mediums of art all my life — from pottery to painting to stained glass and to fused glass. Making jewelry has been my passion since 2003. I found beads as my new painting palette. I personally hand fabricate each piece with great attention to detail. Each detail must be beautiful, unusual and of excellent quality. It takes days to weave tiny components as well as making artistic decisions.

TUR: What is your training as an artist? Who do you consider your most significant influences and inspirations? Do these influences shift as you progress both in your work and life?

AH: I am a self taught bead artist and have mastered the art of bead weaving through hours of practice and experimentation. I am always exploring new designs and techniques to keep my beadwork fresh.

TUR: Do you work full-time exclusively as an artist? Or, how do you augment your work as an artist?

AH: I work from my home studio and juggle between home duties and artistic creations. My studio is like a candy store with drawers of beads organized by bead types, colors and stones.

TUR:Do you find it easy or difficult to start new work? And, typically, how do you prepare yourself to handle both the creative and physical demands of creating your art?

AH: By spreading beads and stones on a tray, stitching them together by using various stitches, my work becomes alive. I love to add texture and colors in my creations. Variations of bead weaving are endless and the results are beautiful. I have more ideas in my head than the number of hours in a day to make them.

TUR: With regard to participating in the Utah Arts Festival, please share your feelings about being a part of this enterprise? Have you been in other festivals and do you plan to explore other festivals?

AH: I feel very blessed to participate in the Utah Arts Festival for the second time. I met many nice customers last year and have been in touch with them. The art show is a way of bringing people together and having a dialogue with each other. I have been in many other art festivals, including Tempe Festival of the Arts, Kimball Arts Festival, Scottsdale Arts Festival and many more.

Nathan Brimhall

TUR: How have you used art media forms in helping to create an holistic body of artistic work that searches for a more complete expression of your own innermost and most powerful states of emotion, inspiration, contemplation, and self-identity?

NB: I’ve used mostly steel in my artistic endeavors and find it very inspiring. I love the light, smell, heat, grit, grime and permanency of working with metal. One of the things I love about sculpture is the three dimensional experience. Feelings change as the perspective does. Each walk around experience may lead to new discoveries in different ways for different people. I love the universality of it. I find my “favorite” perspective often changes with time. I love that as I build a piece, it evolves. Rarely, are my finished products the same as the original concept drawing. The flow of the creative process has a magical way of stalling time, moderating the heat and cold of the day, and creating an environment of freedom, joy, and peace.

TUR: What is your training as an artist? Who do you consider your most significant influences and inspirations? Do these influences shift as you progress both in your work and life?

NB: I went to The University of Utah in fine art. My emphasis when I started was photography. I fell in love with sculpture and specifically welding in Mike Hulett’s Three Dimensional Sculpture class. James Avati also made a big impression on me and I love his work. I’ve always admired Henry Moore’s foundry work and Mondrian’s minimalist expression.

TUR: Do you work full-time exclusively as an artist? Or, how do you augment your work as an artist?

NB: I consider myself a full-time metal sculpture artist, but also do metal related work to supplement income. Damn money! Do I really need it?

TUR: Do you find it easy or difficult to start new work? And, typically, how do you prepare yourself to handle both the creative and physical demands of creating your art?

NB: I love starting a new piece! Sometimes if I’m not feeling the creative draw, I find just doing something with scrap and PLAYING for a bit helps me center and release the mental hang ups that cloud the process. I work out regularly and try to be conscious of what I put in my body. Nature, quiet time, and observing people seem to provide an abundant stream of inspiration and subject matter.

TUR: With regard to participating in the Utah Arts Festival, please share your feelings about being a part of this enterprise? Have you been in other festivals and do you plan to explore other festivals?

NB: This is my first experience with an arts festival and I’m very excited to be in both the Utah Arts Festival and Park City Arts Festival in August.

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