Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Gallery Stroll: Alpine Art Showcase

Posted By on April 18, 2010, 10:58 PM

Back out onto Gallery Stroll we go. Spring finally hit the air, and including the temporary addition of the Subterranean Lounge at Slowtrain, Broadway was hopping! An overall good night to be out and about, and for this month's event we make our way up a few blocks up to South Temple.

--- Last time we were at Alpine Art was in June and they were doing bi-monthly shows. Now becoming a regular along the route we return to cover a four-artist show. Today we chat with graphite designer Regina Stenberg, bold painter Tyler Bloomquist, abstract works from Carlisle and landscapes from Steven Sheffield. All with photos of their works and the events from the evening, which included seeing the house DJ work his magic with a laptop and an iPad synced up. Hard to describe in full, but take a look at the photo, it'll all make sense.

Regina Stenberg

Gavin: Hey Regina! First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

Regina: I am a mother of two, a wife, and an artist. I have always been inspired to create art, it is how I express myself best, and it’s an important outlet for me.

Gavin: What first got you interested in artwork and landscape architecture, and what were some of your early inspirations?

Regina: Although I started as a Fine Art major in college, my degree is in Landscape Design because I thought it would allow me more commercial opportunities. I was very lucky to work for some great architectural firms, and I was inspired by the idea of working on projects that could perhaps provide enjoyable outdoor experiences.

Gavin: You went to the University of Connecticut for your Bachelors. What made you decide on the UConn, and what was their program like for you?

Regina: I grew up in Connecticut, and the University of Connecticut was a natural choice, it is a great state school. I enjoyed studying there, they had both great fine arts and landscape design programs.

Gavin: What made you decide to heard to Italy to study at Scuola Lorenzo de’Medici, and how was that experience?

Regina: I went to art school in Italy because Florence is such a hub for art history, and I believe to understand contemporary art, it helps to understand the history of it all. I was fortunate to study under some very talented individuals, and to travel a little with friends. It was a wonderful experience!

Gavin: Given the work you do and the places you've been, how did you end up coming to Utah?

Regina: I came to Utah in 2005, and the stunning scenery absolutely blew me away! I was completely overwhelmed and inspired by the natural beauty around us here. It was at this point that I decided to pursue my longtime dream to be an artist, and began painting and drawing landscapes.

Gavin: How did the opportunity come about to work with the Salt Lake School District, and what exactly is your job?

Regina: I have two children in the Salt Lake School District, and I am a volunteer art teacher at their school. It’s a great program, all of the volunteers are so committed, but I always wish we had more supplies and more room. As we all know, art is so important for children, the more opportunities for expression children have, the healthier they are.

Gavin: How did you start making artwork pieces out of graphite?

Regina: I started using loose graphite for drawings a few years ago, I have loved working with it! I am typically a painter, and I think I apply the graphite in a painterly process. I really like the looseness and immediacy of it.

Gavin: Whats the process like for you in creating a piece, and is it more trial-and-error or very planned out?

Regina: Well, I typically do some planning, but then the drawing starts directing me. I develop the composition by making a few small sketches about an idea, and I refer to photos of clouds for shapes and patterns. To begin the drawing, I cover my fingers with a cloth, and then apply graphite to the cloth, then I begin working on watercolor paper. Because I can feel the paper through the cloth over my fingers, I feel very connected to the process. The surface of the paper, as well as the space within the drawing, becomes densely worked.

Gavin: What persuaded you to start showing the works off at exhibitions?

Regina: My great friends and family have always given me positive feedback about my drawings, and they encouraged me to show my work in galleries.

Gavin: What's the reaction been from people when they see these works?

Regina: My drawings are pretty uncomplicated. I think they evoke a sensitive, calming feeling.

Gavin: Tell us about the works you have on display for this Stroll.

Regina: All of the pieces I’m showing at Alpine Art Gallery are graphite drawings of clouds. From a distance they might look like a black and white photograph, but the process is actually a very timely , contemplative one, as opposed to the speed of a snapped photograph. I think we all have a nostalgic reaction to both clouds and to subjects in black and white. The overall effect is a rich, soft drawing about the subtle changes in cloud patterns.

Gavin: What's your take on being displayed at Alpine Art along with Tyler, Carlisle and Stephen?

Regina: I am honored to be showing at Alpine Art Gallery! It is such a beautiful space, and I find myself continually captivated by the artwork exhibited there. I first visited for a Gallery Stroll, and the place was going off! There was a wonderful crowd, a great dj, and incredible refreshments…my first thought was “wow, they do things right here!” I was fortunate enough to meet Lyndsie, the director, and I immediately liked her wit and enthusiasm. I knew she was someone I would like to work with. I am thrilled to be showing with Tyler, Carlisle, and Stephen. I have had the opportunity to see their work, and I am truly impressed with them all.

Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Regina: I think the art scene here in Salt Lake is great, the community seems so interested and supportive. I love Gallery Stroll! It’s a perfect way to get people who might not normally visit a gallery to go.

Gavin: What can we expect from you throughout the rest of year?

Regina: I will have additional unique work on display at the Finch Lane Gallery in September.

Tyler Bloomquist

Gavin: Hey Tyler! First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

Tyler: My name is Tyler Bloomquist and I am 29 years old.

Gavin: What first got you interested in painting, and what were some of your early inspirations?

Tyler: "Sesame Street" pinball countdown, architecture, Francis Bacon, hand painted signage, city decay, Joseph Muller-Brockmann, Godard cinema, music, complementary colors, tension, sunshine, my list of influences could very well be endless and change on a daily basis.

Gavin: You're currently studying art at the U. What made you choose their program, and what's it been like for you earning your degree so far?

Tyler: I had floated around in and out of school at the U for a while, and decided to make art more ingrained in my head. I have enjoyed the program so far, my homework is drawing, how could you not enjoy that?

Gavin: I understand you also work for the U's Museum Of Fine Arts. How did the opportunity come about to work there?

Tyler: Thank the U.S. government and their work-study program. I was in the right place at the right time.

Gavin: What drew you to start doing paintings as your main artform?

Tyler: I am not sure if I would designate myself as a painter. I enjoy many mediums and surfaces and enjoy the process of creation.

Gavin: A lot of the material is made up of simple shapes in different colors. What made you decide on that type of style?

Tyler: While I am getting my figurative work up to par, I figured I would try to understand the problems of color, space and composition and that somehow this will inform my other work.

Gavin: Whats the process like for you in creating a piece? And do you detail where things will end up, or is it more experimental?

Tyler: I usually just sit with a pen and paper and let the hand go. I feel that my work and aesthetic is not that original, so I am trying to take different approaches to what a painting is. I am experimenting with taking a collage approach to painting by laying painted, cut out stripes of canvas onto the raw canvas, adhered with gesso. I am trying to use the language of painting to speak the language of collage, but in daily discourse, we often have communication breakdowns, so we shall see.

Gavin: What persuaded you to start doing exhibitions, and what's the reaction been from people when they see these works?

Tyler: I am grateful for every opportunity to show work and thank you to all who have allowed to show in their space. I have had positive responses to my work, but I really enjoy constructive criticism and dialogue about my work and art in general, which I feel keeps me on my toes and the ball rolling.

Gavin: Tell us about the works you have on display for this Stroll.

Tyler: Some old work, which feel like sketches or maquettes, and some new which have varying mediums and approaches.

Gavin: What's your take on being displayed at Alpine Art along with Regina, Steven and Carlisle?

Tyler: I am not to familiar with their work and am excited to view their work and share wall space with them.

Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Tyler: Pros and cons are subjective just like one's taste in music or art. I am just glad there is an art scene to have an opinion about.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Tyler: Maybe more open mindedness and awareness of the contemporary scene around the world. I know that word "contemporary" has a stigma that comes along with it and that people seem to be a bit intimidated about things they might have never seen before or don't understand, but that's just human nature, but so is curiosity too.

Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how its doing today?

Tyler: It's sixes. I enjoy seeing new work, people watching and free strawberries. Sometimes I do think it gets to be a bit repetitive. I have some ideas but no money, so what do you do?

Gavin: What can we expect from you throughout the rest of year?

Tyler: Wow, pressure and expectations in my first interview. I am just going to keep plugging along at school and trying to make something everyday. I will be showing some work, probably figurative, at the Sweet Library branch in November/December. If anything else comes along, thank you for the opportunity ahead of time.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Tyler: A big thank you, Gavin, for plugging me. A humble thanks to those who have shown support to me and/or my work throughout the years. Thank you to life for being you.


Gavin: Hey Carlisle. First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

Carlisle: There actually seems to be a resemblance between me and my work in many ways. Possibly a bit obscure at times, but peppered with colorful, defining moments.

Gavin: What first got you interested in painting, and what were some of your early inspirations?

Carlisle: High School was the beginning of my painting. I needed to somehow express myself individually and creatively. I have always leaned towards abstract, it being free of any restrictions. Hard edge as well as pen and ink were my original preference. My inspiration is somewhat nebulous. I begin with line, to form, to color, as do all painters, but continue by feel rather than sight.

Gavin: Did you seek out any college for art studies, and if so, what was that program like for you?

Carlisle: College seemed to be a perfect fit, so I continued studying art and there began to gain a sense of direction. After studying in New York, that direction became very clear.

Gavin: Considering the genre of art and how freeform most of it is, was there any hesitation on your part that people might not appreciate it for what it was?

Carlisle: Abstract can be difficult for many. It requires looking through imaginative eyes instead of those of the familiar, but allows us to add body to our cognitive, visual and emotional collection. I think slowly people are beginning to appreciate and understand abstract art. This world is a little abstract in and of itself, possibly helping that along.

Gavin: What's the process like for you in creating a piece from idea to final product?

Carlisle: I feel it is thought that abstract is easy to create. It is quite the opposite. What one stroke creates directs what is to come next, and so on it goes, relying on mindful creativity and feel alone; and admittedly, sometimes a very daunting task. Balance, weight, distribution and depth of color, symmetry or lack of, thickness of line, sense of form, interest and friction all play a part in this creative process.

Gavin: For you personally, is there any set plan as to what it will look like, or is it more experimental as you go?

Carlisle: I never know the outcome until it arrives. But when it does, it's amazing.

Gavin: Tell us about the works you have on display for this Stroll.

Carlisle: This show is about having license to express whatever I want, and however I want to do that.

Gavin: What's your take on being displayed at Alpine Art along with Steven, Regina and Tyler?

Carlisle: The other day at the studios Regina and I happen to pass each other in the hall which led to an introduction and informal conversation about each of our work. I was very impressed by her personally as well as her work. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. I have not yet met Tyler.

Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Carlisle: The Salt Lake Art Scene? Maturing at a rapid pace. And it's so great to be a part of it. Salt Lake is an amazing place to live and be, especially from an artistic perspective.

Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how its doing today?

Carlisle: Salt Lake Gallery Stroll has certainly become the "hip" thing to do and be a part of. We are lucky to have an organization like "The Stroll" to support our Arts. Having intellectual and emotional experiences like these available, certainly benefit us all.

Gavin: What can we expect from you throughout the rest of year?

Carlisle: This year started out remarkably, and it seems to be continuing. I'm thrilled and working hard to keep that energy flowing.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Carlisle: Check out the Ogden Gallery Stroll in August. Hopefully I'll see you there.

Steven Sheffield

Gavin: Hey Steven, first off, tell us a bit about yourself, and what first got you interested in painting?

Steven: I've been painting/drawing since I was very young. I had a grandmother and aunt that encouraged me with gifts of paper, pencils and paint. I think I received my first set of watercolors in High School, and I was hooked. I tried oils in high school but they took too long to dry and were messy; I only came back to them in the last ten years. I love the transparent qualities of watercolor. They do have their drawbacks, I don't plan my paintings out, I let them dictate the journey; not easy to do in a medium where you have to save the whites from the beginning.

Gavin: For college you've been up and down the Wasatch Front. What's that been like in seeking out your art degrees?

Steven: I started as an art major at Utah State University, spent one year in their program, went to the University of Utah of a year and then to BYU finishing in American Studies, Art, and Accounting. I loved to paint but wasn't sure I could make a living on my art and decide to go to graduate business school... my Master's degree is in Business, not painting. I didn't paint for the years while I was in graduate school. Soon after I graduated my mother encouraged me to take a watercolor class through the community education program. The teacher was Lucille Cannon, a wonderful painter and a great friend, she encouraged me to join the Utah Watercolor Society (UWS).

Gavin: Of the different forms of painting, what made you choose watercolor as your primary source?

Steven: UWS encouraged all forms of watermedia and it was through that organization that I spread my wings and began exploring more abstract work. I was president of UWS in 1996-1997 and then co-chairman of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies (WFWS) in 2000-2001, which is a group of ten watercolor Societies from Texas to California. UWS brought in nationally recognized painters several times a year to teach workshops and I took as many as I could. By the time I finished by nine years on the board I had moved to more abstract and a simplified form of painting. It was while on a trip to San Diego for the WFWS I discovered YUPO, a synthetic paper, and haven't used traditional watercolor paper since. It allowed me to be free with my watercolors because nothing soaked into the paper, no planning was required.

Gavin: As you've told me prior, you like to change up your works and styles frequently. Why do you choose to change so often, and what impact does that have on you going from say, abstract works to landscapes?

Steven: I love changing it up; I have several styles and mediums I work in. I still do traditional watercolors on location; I taught a watercolor class in Italy last year. I do larger acrylic abstracts and more stylized landscapes in oil. I never get bored, I like to try new things, new approaches, new palettes of color.

Gavin: Tell us about the works you have on display for this Stroll.

Steven: The series that were featured last night began as a way to paint my way out winter. I used bright colors, lime green... I rarely use lime green; but it seemed to brighten my spirits and I did 10 paintings in a month... "The Rites of Spring" series. I paint a lot; I'll paint a hundred pieces in a year.

Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Steven: I currently have a studio at Artspace City Center, where I paint and teach; I've been teaching since I took over a classes for Lucille Cannon 17 years ago. I'll be moving my studio soon. The rent there keeps going up and up. I'm not sure Artspace had much to do with Art any more, approximately 80 % of their space is apartment rentals. I think they have lost their way. I wonder if the director, who reportedly makes a hundred thousand a year even knows what their mission is about.

What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how its doing today?

Steven: I love Gallery Stroll, unfortunately I open my studio for Gallery Stroll so I don't get to go on Gallery Stroll. I miss it, I love to see what's new, what others a doing. I think Utah, Salt Lake has a thriving art scene for the city of it's size. I do think a lot of good art is exported form Utah.

Gavin: What can we expect from you throughout the rest of year?

Steven: I'm currently working on a couple of large commission pieces and am planning another group show at Alpine this fall.

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