Artys 2010 | Artys | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Artys 2010 

Celebrating Utah's Arts: The best in local theater, dance, art & more.

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Best Food Art
Laura Besterfeldt

It’s not exactly edible, nor does it even look very delectable, but jewelry artist Laura Besterfeldt’s “genetically modified food art” is candy for the eyes. Her miniature food jewelry includes baby corn cast into sterling silver and then fabricated to be the “corn-horseman.” Even odder and more head-turning is a baby pumpkin cast and fabricated to be “pump-octoman-a-pus,” possessing eight man legs with a pumpkin body. Always pushing the envelope, her Amuse-Bouche collection includes pieces such as lavender-packed mussels finished with sterling silver and a dollop of amethyst, as well as a salmon-fin hat pin garnished with a rosemary sprig, a bowtie-pasta bolo tie and a fusilli-pasta chain clasped with octopus legs. Yum!

Best Old-School Illusionist

Once stage magicians walked the Earth like giants; nowadays, we all seem too jaded to surrender to illusion. Utah’s Michael Christenson, who performs as Michelangelo, clearly isn’t ready to surrender to a world without magic. No mere sleight-of-hand technician—though he’s more than proficient at trickery with cards, linking rings and ropes—Michelangelo delivers beautiful assistants sawed in half, individuals transported from locked boxes and other mysterious disappearances. And he does it all with a stagecraft that reminds us how much of magic is the art of theatrical dazzle, combined with figuring out how to get you to look exactly where he wants you to look.

Best Recycled Works
Joe Norman, Blue Boat Home Design

We’re not kidding when we say this furniture is pure junk. Artist Joe Norman painstakingly crafts sculptures and furnishings out of leftover materials more suited for the dump, creating eco-friendly products with both an aesthetic and practical use. Using items like wood pallets, crankshafts, bike gears, concrete bits, scrapmetal and even old bomb casings as material, Norman is able to fashion anything into a dining-room table or a matching desk-and-chair set—finding beauty and use in that which has been discarded, giving his customers enjoyment and the environment a break.

Best Fashion Locale
Lindsay Frendt, SLCitizen

When Matt Monson sold SLCitizen last year, many worried what would become of the place—especially after a three-month closure in the Salt Lake City Main Library. But Lindsay Frendt revitalized the space with a variety of products from artists and crafters, plus custom clothing lines from Jordan Halverson, Black Chandelier, White Elephant Collective and more, making the shop experts on localized trends overnight. The location has delivered added life and business to the promenade while carrying on the store’s prior creed of supporting local fashion. Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-363-3619.

Best New Gallery
Matthew Potter, Ephemera Arts

Located in a residential/business building on Broadway next door to Bingham Cyclery, Ephemera Arts has quickly become a standout addition. Filling the void that nearby Palmer’s left in 2009, owner and resident artist Matthew Potter wanted to bring life back to the area while also showcasing unique artists. He took over an empty warehouse-like area and transformed its open space into an inviting display room. LED orb lights, abstract paintings and morphed pottery, accompanied by musical performances by some of Utah’s finest bands, make for an awesome visit every gallery stroll. And the view of Pioneer Park isn’t too shabby, either. 336 W. 300 South, No. 109,

Best Surprise Destination
Central Utah Art Center

Residing in the most unlikely of locations, the CUAC has been bringing art lovers to Ephraim in droves. Housed in the roller mill near the town’s center, the gallery has become a community hotspot for culture, a resource for nearby Snow College, a tourist attraction and, in recent years, a day-trip destination for some of Utah’s most prominent artists. Its efforts were recently recognized in the form of a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, which has helped it expand and turn part of the city into an artistic getaway—very fitting for the near-center of the state. 86 N. Main, Ephraim, 801-214-8278,

Best Animated Prints
Nick & Erin Potter, Potter Press

Most screen-print artists try to put a signature on every piece so you know it’s theirs, but few create their own world within each one. The stylish posters created by Nick and Erin Potter do far more than promote the latest concert in town—they visually delight and tell a story of their own in a single viewing. A turtle with a city on its back, a monster swallowing a Viking ship, a robot dancing with a princess and dozens more bring life to the streets and stores they hang in. It’s no wonder they’ve become a favorite of bands both visiting and homegrown.

Best Geek Art
Hillary & Caleb Barney, Blonde Grizzly

It takes a rare gallery to display a children’s figure breathing fire and scorching all in its path, with the clever title “St. Elmo’s Fire” below it; a small sample of the twisted pop-culture art you’ll find on 400 South. Replacing a photographer’s office, the married duo of Hillary and Caleb Barney brought in artists from around the country mixed with locals, all intent to re-envision your childhood memories. Featuring limited editions and custom prints, not to mention clothing and accessories far better and cheaper than you’d find in a trendy mall shop, the place promises to become a fixture for years to come. 15 E. 400 South, 801-355-9075,

Best Cinematic Influence
Tower Theater’s Open-Screen Night

Overlooked by some in the film community, yet vitally essential in helping new filmmakers, these impromptu short-film festivals have featured some of the finest up-and-coming directors and writers in our community. Usually playing the latest short films from students finishing up their semester projects, these mini-fests also showcase material from people dedicated to the craft with samples of their movies, or even something an aspiring filmmaker attempted over a weekend. Now running every three months through the Salt Lake Film Society, they’ve become a staple at the Tower, boasting sellout shows this year. 876 E. 900 South,

Best Gender Benders
Once a month on a Thursday night, something magical takes over El Paisa grill, a critically well-regarded Mexican eatery in West Valley City. Star is made up of transgender male-to-female performers who offer up slinky lip-sync impersonations of female Latino pop stars, ranging from Thalia and Gloria Trevy to Shakira and Celia Cruz. While Roger (aka Jocelyn) is the master of ceremonies and provides a ribald commentary—shifting into English to translate for the Spanish-challenged gringos—Star stalwarts like Josefina and Diana go for more straight-laced yet provocative performances. It’s a couple of hours of dancing on a shoestring that, whether you speak Spanish or not, always bring the house down. 2126 S. 3200 West, 801-973-6660

Best Cool Modern Home
Pierre Langue’s H-House

If you’re going to build on the city’s upper benches, then, for God’s sake, make an artistic statement. Forget your McMansions, your gated palaces and fortresses: Build a modern monster. That’s what Pierre Langue of Axis Architects did in his strikingly modern 4,100-square-foot home on Salt Lake City’s east bench on Devonshire Drive. The $850,000 home offers expansive westerly views that include a built-in shading device so the house doesn’t overheat. By following the slope of the terrain, the house becomes more integrated into the hillside and more of glistening jewel on the hill rather than a surly manor.

Best Chronicle of a Utah-Born Cult Phenomenon
Michael Paul Stephenson,
Best Worst Movie
Little did Utah native Michael Paul Stephenson know that when he was plucked from obscurity to be the lead in a locally shot movie called Goblin that he would launch a career not as a great actor, but as a great documentary filmmaker. That movie, Goblin, eventually became Troll 2, one of the worst movies ever made—and Stephenson took on the challenge of exploring not just why an admiring cult has emerged around this stinkpile, but how others involved in its creation feel about its impact on their lives. The result was a charming, genuinely affectionate look at the way sincerely created art—even horrible sincerely created art—has the ability to change people’s lives.

Best New Podcast
Sending Messages

With a show completely written, performed, edited and produced by the students living at Decker Lake Youth Center, even the minds behind it were curious as to who would be interested in listening. The SpyHop venture counseled by A Damn Podcast co-host Adam Sherlock not only attracted fans in droves, but also earned respect for its original and unfiltered content. These are stories and narratives from the minds of teenagers who have already lived through worse times than some of us will ever know, presented to entertain some and serve as a lesson to others;—an example of what broadcasting these days should be.

Best Random Inspiration
Chris Leibow’s Poetry For The People

Already known for his works as a haiku poet—not to mention as the mind behind the Cabaret Voltage literary project—Chris Leibow could easily sit back and enjoy writing books for the masses to read. But he wanted to do more than just entertain—he wanted to influence the public at large. Throughout the downtown area, in very arbitrary locations, Leibow placed samples of his work to be seen by anyone who happened to pass by, all under the unselfish ideal of inspiring creativity. Whether or not it’s a success will only be told by time, but it makes for some lovely reading.

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