Art on the Rockies 2012 Sneak Peak writes
Second annual art festival rolls into Edwards this weekend (2012)
By Melanie Wong
When artist Colleen Everett settled in the Vail Valley, she quickly realized the area was missing something that other mountain communities had – a large-scale art festival.Sullivan, a ceramics sculptor and teacher at Colorado Mountain College, drew on her contacts and connections from 35 years as an artist to pull together a summer festival meant to showcase art of all kinds and to bolster local artists. This year, the outdoor festival, Art on the Rockies, returns on July 14 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and July 15 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.The festival, sponsored by the Vail Valley Arts League, will feature 120 artists who hail from places as close as Eagle County to locations as far away as Israel. The event will include a champagne brunch each morning, food served throughout the day, booths for all the artists, a special exhibition tent, live music and a live auction with pieces donated by the participating artists. The proceeds will go toward the Arts League to help support local artists and promote the art community in the area.Sullivan says that while the festival is the Arts League’s biggest event of the year, you can look for “pop-up galleries” throughout the fall and winter. The league sponsors group shows featuring local artists who want to showcase their work through a moving gallery. Each event will be held at a different venue around the county.Sullivan says that festivalgoers can expect to see “artists who don’t normally do art festivals.” She points to artists such as Patrick Matthews, a painter whose works can be found at Paderewski Gallery in Beaver Creek. Matthews specializes in huge canvas paintings and will be painting live at the festival, a show of artmanship and energy that Sullivan says spectators should be sure not to miss.Besides Matthews, you can catch Israeli watercolorist Yoram Gall; Jane Smith of Plain Jane, who creates hip, urban furniture and home décor from recycled materials; and Michael Swearngin’s cowboy-themed prints and sketches. For a full lists of artists attending Art on the Rockies, see www.artontherockies.com. Here are a few not to miss.
Justin Greshko’s antler artThe art you’ll see Edwards resident Justin Greshko display at this weekend’s festival doesn’t start in a studio or workshop. It usually starts in the backcountry, in remote forest spots in mid-to-late winter.Greshko, owner of Heart of Colorado, creates furniture, framed art, decorations and sculptures with two main ingredients -- reclaimed wood and antlers. As a guide and longtime outdoorsman in the valley, Greshko has come to know where and when deer congregate and shed their antlers, and he’s constantly on the hunt to find just the right ones.“The most difficult part about my job is to find the right antler,” he says. “The uniqueness of the antler really plays into how I make the piece. The business is called ‘Heart of Colorado’ because all my materials are collected from the surrounding mountain environs, thus the heart of Colorado”The results are whimsical, nature-themed pieces, predominantly marked by the browns and whites of the mountains, but also with splashes of bright color.The story of Greshko’s art actually began years ago when he ran a fishing lodge in the South American Patagonia. As he puts it, he had to be “resourceful and creative, because things are hard to come by there.”He and his coworkers constructed and repaired everything from cars to furniture using what was on hand at the lodge. While that improvisation was out of necessity, Greshko later caught a glimpse of how that could turn into art when he lived in Italy and Spain. He saw blacksmiths and whittlers work with their hands to create beautiful pieces at the local art markets and was inspired to do something similar.Later, years after moving to Eagle County, he began using the materials he found on his guiding trips to make furniture for his family – originally to save money. However, his creations got rave reviews from friends and family, and he soon began making pieces to sell and display. That was four years ago and Greshko has since received public recognition for his work, including a television program that featured the “ultimate sportsman’s lodge.” This weekend will be Greshko’s first art show.