For the past two decades, the grassy, open square of Wheeler Park has hosted Art in the Park—a selective, juried art vendor show that brings the premium artistic goods to an outdoor market.
This year, the 20th anniversary of the Labor Day Weekend gathering includes a diverse mix of local artists such as ceramicist Joni Pevarnik, painter Greg Hill and metalsmith Denise Edwards. They are joined by some rare-and-worth-seeing out-of-town crafters who are bringing their own styles and talents to the collective fold.
Below are a few favorite traveling artists who are arriving here this weekend. The free and open-to-the-public event takes place in downtown’s Wheeler Park. It happens on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Labor Day weekend.
Learn more about the event and its vendors at www.flagstaffartinthepark.com.
I … am … a … robot … bank. Tucson artist Aaron Voigt has gained some notoriety in the southern part of the state for his humorous and creative robot banks. One part artistic whimsy and one part function, the robot banks often catch the eye of art market wanderers.
Voigt learned how to weld from his dad at an early age, and took this practical vocation into creative areas as he grew older. “By 22 I had opened my first shop and started taking on art projects and doing general fabrication to keep the lights on,” Voigt shares in a biography. “After years of fabricating other peoples’ projects my inner creativity needed my full attention.”
As basic materials for his work, Voigt has used everything from old manufacturing machines, aircraft, cars and household fixtures. “My robots come alive with the history of the donor machine parts,” he says. “People always ask me, ‘Where do you find your parts?’ I like to tell them ‘pick one up and I can tell you its history.’”
Learn more about Voigt and his art at www.voigtmetal.com.
A man of many media. Artist Charles Sherman of Van Nuys, Calif., has made a name for himself with a series of sculptures that explore the concepts of infinity, balance and the divine. But Sherman also has hit upon an ingenious idea of turning his sculptures into jewelry.
At the Art in the Park this weekend, Sherman will have examples of his smaller sculptures (his public ones being nearly monolithic in scale) and jewelry that is representational of the larger art.
But with Sherman, his jewelry is more than jewelry. He tries to make it more metaphorical and thoughtful. He’s an artist with deep thoughts on the process. “The essence of art is that it is a verb,” he postulates. “Art is not a noun. It’s a creative act of my holy trinity: the materials, the artist and Divine energy all have their own direction and personality that are infused in the artwork.”
The concept of infinity is captured in the Mobius strip style, with three and four-sided forms creating a continuum through the piece. It makes for compelling, wearable art.
“After learning how to make a twisting tower I realized that I could make a two-sided, three-sided, and four-sided ‘Infinity Ring’ using no math, ruler or extruder,” he says. Check out this M.C. Escher-esque craft at www.charlesshermanart.artspan.com.
For anyone who loves landscapes and people. A longtime celebrated artist in New Mexico, Amado Peña carries a smart knack for capturing the essence of both landscape and the people who live in it.
Peña, who is recognized as an Artisan of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, bases his home and studio not far from Santa Fe. However, the focus of his subject matter falls on both sides of the Arizona-New Mexico border. His paintings have been inspired by places such as Canyon de Chelly, Spider Rock, Monument Valley, Enchanted Mesa, Acoma and Black Mesa.
The paintings are shockingly brilliant and his work has been a mainstay in the Santa Fe Indian Art Market. According to his website, “his art celebrates the strength of a people who meet the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land and his work is a tribute to the Native Americans who survive by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment.”
Check out his work at www.penagallery.com. Or visit him and these other artists at Wheeler Park this weekend.
Additional photos for this story:
One of artist Aaron Voigt’s many robot banks.