Archive for the ‘Portfolio’ Category

  • Rock (& mineral) solid: Art & science form strata in Prescott Gem & Mineral Show & Sale

    Jul 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio1 CommentRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Maggi Lieber, co-chairman Life member and newsletter writer of the Prescott Gem and Mineral Club, whose annual Prescott Gem & Mineral Show & Sale runs Aug. 5-7 at the Prescott Valley Event Center.] How did you get involved with the Prescott Gem and Mineral Club? We moved out here from New Jersey in 2005 and the first weekend we were here was the county fair. At the time, the club had a display at the fair. As newbies, we were all oohs and aahs. One of the founding members, Keith Horst, said that if we liked that, we should go to the gem and mineral show in two weeks. At the time, we’d never even heard the term lapidary, so you can imagine our surprise. That was during the first few years of the show. I imagine it was quite a bit smaller than it is now. It was in an animal barn out at the fairgrounds. It was two weeks after county fair, so the remnants of the livestock were still there. The flies were more than prolific. Pretty much anyone that came in was given a flyswatter. They were fumigating at night, so you could smell the insecticide in the morning. There was just one row of vendors, maybe 25 total. So

  • Artistic reflections: Elisa Drachenberg & Pum Rote discuss the art of Pum Rote & Elisa Drachenberg

    Jun 3, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, PortfolioNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon Their lives before emigrating to America could fill novels. But unless you directly ask Prescott’s Pum Rote and Elisa Drachenberg about their adventures, you’ll only catch cavalier allusions and isolated anecdotes. It’s not that they’re diffident. They’re welcoming but charmingly coy and self-deprecating. (Drachenberg’s artist statement begins with the phrase “cursed with” and concludes with her ambition to “trigger … something close to exuberance.” (Emphasis added.) A version of Rote’s begins with him offstage, instead focusing on his relatives’ courage as part of the Dutch Underground during World War II.) This story isn’t going to flesh out their backgrounds. It’s not focused on where Drachenberg and Rote have been or their many accomplishments. It’s about what they’re doing now. It’s about their current body of artwork. For the purposes of this story, Drachenberg is an abstract painter and writer and Rote is an abstract photographer and painter. Their art is interesting and rewarding for myriad reasons, but it’s less fun to tell you why than it is to show you through their interactions. Will the following snippets of conversations about each other’s art reveal insights into their creative processes? Surely. Into the depth of their characters and personalities? Hopefully. At the very least, their charged rapport illustrates as-well-a-matched couple of artists, nay human beings, as you’ll probably ever meet. They’re fun. And funny. That’s not a very

  • The hair lady: Debra Matthews shares her love of human hair art

    May 6, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, PortfolioNo CommentsRead More »

    IF YOU GO … WHAT: 43rd annual Folk Arts Fair: Village of Traditions WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, June 4 & 5 WHERE: Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 W. Gurley St., 928-445-3122 WORTH: $8 for adults, $3 for museum members, free for children 17 or younger WEB: Sharlot.Org   By James Dungeon “There are lots of misconceptions about the whole thing,” said Debra Matthews, “and that’s understandable.” Matthews, who retired to Prescott in 2001, sat by a coffee shop window contemplating a collectible loosely categorized as folk art. Matthews smiled and looked up, striking blue eyes between immaculate blonde curls. “It’s an unusual collectible and most people don’t really get into it,” she said, turning around a frame. “I do, though.” It’s a memorial scene. There’s a hill with a gravestone encircled by a lilting tree between primitive crosses. The engraving is minuscule, but it’s easy to discern souvenir and fille. The intials “L.C.” run across its base, and a trio of flowers rests at its foot. “It’s French, and it says, ‘Remember my daughter,’” Matthews said. “Everything there — the tree, the gravestones, the plot — is done in hair.” Real hair. Real human hair. You’ve probably got some questions. Debra Matthews, whose business card reads “Historic Presentations/Human Hair Art Specialist,” probably has the answers.   Waste not … Grandma’s hair was long. “I was little, but

  • Unfathomable fathoms: The Art of Adam Schrader

    Mar 4, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, PortfolioNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon You probably noticed it the first time you stepped foot in The Raven Café. There, on the wall above the bar. That big painting of a perched raven and another, in flight near Thumb Butte. But when was the last time you really looked at it? You know, gave it thoughtful attention. Both subject matters have been done to death, but there’s something different about their depictions in that mural. They’re more dynamic. More, well, alive. It might be the time of day or the light. It might be a certain mood or spirited whimsy. Whatever the catalyst, that piece of art yields endless novel experiences and singular moments. And, if you knew the artist who painted it, you might even notice a few more nuances. For your consideration, the artist behind that painting: Adam Schrader.   Foundations & Philly “You can hear six different stories about Adam and it sounds like six different people,” said Ty Fitzmorris, entrepreneur, owner of The Raven, and commissioner of the painting in question. “He can be a little reticent to talk about himself, and he’s a semi-mystical character as a consequence of that.” Schrader grew up on the Jersey Shore and got in trouble in school for doodling. Usually birds. He started surfing at age 10 or 11. (Remember that iconic roller coaster that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy? That’s

  • Quiet as a mouse: The art of Beth Neely

    Feb 5, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio46 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon Search for Prescott’s Beth Neely on Amazon and you’ll net two children’s books: “Don’t Call Me Pig! A Javelina Story” and “Lizards for Lunch: A Roadrunner’s Tale.” Originally published in 1999, they were written by Conrad J. Storad and illustrated by Neely and her then-husband, Don Rantz. (Kept scrolling? No, she wasn’t on “Survivor: Vanuatu” or the “Enchanted” soundtrack. Amazon is a fickle oracle.) The books were hits. “Don’t Call Me Pig!” won several awards and, years later, was chosen for a statewide program that put special editions in some 93,000 Arizona first-graders’ hands. That credit alone could’ve opened up doors, but Neely never leveraged it into more illustration gigs. “When you read a children’s book looking at all the pictures, reading it aloud to kids, it’s such a wonderful experience,” Neely said. “I thought it would be like that to make one, but it wasn’t. … I don’t know if I’d ever do another one.” After decades as an illustrator, Neely started Spirit of Delight, a line of handmade greetings cards, in 2011. Most feature watercolors of whimsical animals. You can find them at Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery and Jay’s Bird Barn. “I’m not going to get rich making cards for a living, but that’s not my goal,” Neely said. “I’m really happy with what I’m doing right now.” It’s a graceful explanation, but not the

  • Likenesses: The art of Mitch Unrath

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio1,753 CommentsRead More »

    By Steven Ayres The craftsman at his bench, bent over his work, honing its fine details, thickly surrounded by tools of his trade passed down to him from generations past — he’s an archetype in our culture, representing the relentless pursuit of artistic vision embedded in deep tradition. He might be a Swiss clockmaker of the 1850s, intently focused on the bits of metal in his hands, working through the night in dim tallow light, heedless of time and somehow outside it. But this woodland crofter’s cottage, thatched in pine needles, is just a few blocks from the courthouse square in Prescott. And it’s full of teeth. “It all started with my great-grandfather.” Mitch Unrath crouches in a rolling desk chair, masked in a magnifying loupe, bent closely over the little chip of whiteness in his left hand as he sculpts it with a tiny bur spinning silently at 18,000 rpm, teasing out the perfect shape within. His bench is cluttered with dental casts, the walls and surfaces of the room crowded with antique tooth samples, ancient electrical machines, 19th-century furniture and a glass case with a collection of museum-quality animal and human skulls. Always at his feet is Cody, the sort of whip-smart, high-energy dog who really needs a job. A TV blares random noise off to one side, but he only glances up to scan the pictures of

  • Every thing & everything else: The Art of Dana Cohn

    Dec 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, PortfolioNo CommentsRead More »

    By Markoff Chaney A story goes here, but I didn’t write it. It’s not that I didn’t try. I swear I did. I met with Dana Cohn once a month for half a year in pursuit of this. There’s so much to tell but as far as writing goes — and I’m butchering an Ira Glass quote here, so bear with me — my taste exceeds my ability. (See? Less than a hundred words in, and I’ve already invoked a tangential reference (and am using parenthesis gymnastics to explain said reference) despite self-reference and having forgotten that if I can count the words then I should use “fewer” not “less” in this aside, even though the latter is more conversational (as well as the larger issue of my flagrant abuse of the first person (Plus I’m not sure how the use of em dashes affects otherwise necessary commas)).) And, of course, there’s that giant run-on sentence I just wrote. Maybe you should just read my notes. … 2015-05 8 a.m. @ dana’s studio smoking cigarettes and gardening outside. Lots of plants. Big smile. “Hey man, come on in.” talkedabout plant.s STUDIO front room of apartment is his studio tracing paper, sketches, photos, on wall pieces of wood, shells feathers, nature. Plus saints, Greek statues, “It’s a prototype. Kind of a guide for it.” “it” — the big painting on the

  • A vivisection of soul: The Art of Paul Abbott

    Nov 6, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio5,850 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon Towering metal stills line the Thumb Butte Distillery. The warehouse would be ideal for displaying art if its indomitable structures didn’t eclipse even the most ostentatious pieces. But the paintings here today are different. A dozen and a half large-as-life pieces hang high on the walls. Their dour colors bleed into the room’s industrial palette, so it’s not immediately obvious why they’re so arresting. It’s the bodies. And the faces. Subjects are partially to completely nude, but they’re baring more emotion than flesh. Try framing them with a litany of adjectives (visceral, melancholic, provocative, transcendent, and sublime, to name a hackneyed handful) and you’ll come up short. These paintings are a singularity — images and emotions that imply the past, crystalize the present, and divine the future. It’s as if the artist has captured a vivisection of soul. At a table on the far side of the room, a man stirs. He’s of medium height with tousled grey hair, an understated beard, and classic features crossed with contrasting lines from smiling and furrowing his brow. This is Paul Abbott and these are his paintings. London, Paris, & Prescott Abbott’s first visit to the Courthouse Square and Whiskey Row in 2001 wasn’t the stuff of tourist brochures. “I felt this dark undercurrent that reminded me of living in a big city,” Abbott said. “I thought, ‘I could live

  • Chasing the sublime: Russell Johnson learns, relearns, and re-relearns to paint, see

    Oct 2, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio7,641 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon The route looked safe enough, but it almost killed him. Russell Johnson was hiking the Grand Canyon with a friend in 2001 when he detoured under an overhang. “I took a step and there was this sheer drop off. Rocks went tumbling into the water,” Johnson said. “It was scary. There was nothing beautiful about it in that moment.” But there was a singularity that arrested his attention. He didn’t know it then, but that was something he needed to evoke in his landscape paintings. That moment has since become a touchstone. “It’s close to what’s called ‘the sublime,’” Johnson said. “I’m trying to transport you to an experience or a place in my paintings. Often, those places are beautiful, too, but I’m trying to balance that place and that moment.” Johnson’s paintings are a dynamic, refreshing beacon in an otherwise crowded field of Western landscapes. Refining that style, however, has a been a journey that’s been neither singular nor entirely linear. “For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I was trying to articulate with my artwork,” Johnson said. “I needed some purpose and contextual background for what I was doing. … I needed some help.”   Outside pursuits Growing up in Prescott, a middle child among 10, Johnson had two favorite places — his room and the great outdoors. “I was able to get lost

  • Creature comforts: Open doors, arms await patrons of the eighth annual Prescott Area Artists’ Studio Tour

    Sep 4, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio7,185 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood “The only thing I know is that if I get to my studio, that means I’m alive today.” — photographer Robert Farber As hackneyed as it is to begin with a quotation, Farber’s is irresistible. It illustrates the singular passion artists have for their space. An artist’s studio is no mere tool repository. It’s an extension of self and of character. It’s a place in which life is lived and, in a sense, created. That’s why, given the opportunity, you should jump at the chance to meet an artist in their studio space. And you’ve got a doozy of an opportunity next month. … The eighth annual Prescott Area Artists’ Studio Tour runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Oct. 2-4. The free, self-directed tour includes work by 56 juried artists at 38 artist studios, plus several dozen more artists at four art centers. Mediums include ceramics, pottery, glass, jewelry, paintings, and more. The Mountain Artist Guild has sponsored the independent, volunteer-run tour since its inception. In recent years, the cost putting on the tour has been in the $10,000-$12,000 range. It’s brought in roughly $1,000-$2,000 from artist fees plus raffle tickets. This year’s studio tour benefits two children’s art programs: one through Mountain Artists Guild and one through ‘Tis Art Center and Gallery. Now that the housekeeping’s out of the way, it’s time to hear from

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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