Featured Artist | Geoffrey Aaron Harris – Fall 2015

Geoffrey’s lifelong fascination with antique toys and games provides the inspiration for his work as a digital artist. He was born in Keflavik, Iceland to a U.S. Navy family whose service took them to many locations, from Alaska to South Carolina where they settled. From an early age he enjoyed painting and drawing but received no formal training.


He earned degrees in business, management, and management science at the University of South Carolina. After graduation, he worked for General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. After moving back south, he worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) for several years as a Software Systems Engineer, before moving on to become a Senior Consultant with Price Waterhouse in Charlotte, North Carolina. Amid all that software and data work, in 1992 he quit his corporate career, moving back to South Carolina to fulfill his dream of becoming an artist. Today, he travels and exhibits his work at juried art festivals throughout the United States.
His original digital paintings are created entirely on the computer, inspired by his collection and passion for antique toys and games. He strives to create unique and contemporary artwork with a nostalgic quality.

Geoffrey creates his digital paintings on a 27-inch Apple iMac with the use of a WACOM graphics tablet. A drawing software application called Inkscape is used to create the design, then he uses Photoshop to digitally paint the finished image. He prints a limited edition of each image with an EPSON Stylus Pro 3800 Printer using archival inks and paper. He matts and frames all my own artwork using archival materials.

Featured Artist | Andrea Merican – Spring 2015

I am inspired by life. I love to capture a personality, a moment and the true essence of whatever I am painting. I have always been an observer of others. I see someone sitting in a beautiful pose and feel called to capture that gesture or that moment. I am wildly passionate about color. Painting with watercolor allows me to achieve deep bold areas of color as well as subtle washes of light where the glow of the paper shines through the pigment of the paint. The title, “Just Breathe” came to me as I painted this beautiful woman staring at the observer with her intense eyes. The pose of her hand at her chest made me think that she was gathering all of her strength to face something daunting or important in her life. Her silent instruction to herself to calm her anxious thoughts was ”Just Breathe”.

Featured Artist | Shawn Harris – Fall 2014

Shawn HarrisPhotographer Shawn Ray Harris’ choice for a collegiate art program was shaped by the quality of his school’s swim team, where he swam for the University of Utah and studied art between workouts. A knee injury facilitated his shift to art as his primary focus. During seven years of undergraduate work, Harris studied painting, printmaking, film, and finished with a BFA (with a photography emphasis) in 1995.

The next several years were spent learning custom metal fabrication for a high-end lighting manufacturer.  The combination of materials and mediums influenced his photography, where his shift in thinking took on a three-dimensional understanding and his work became something other than flat, traditionally printed objects. Over the next twenty years, his work in photography took on three dimensional objects, sculpting and manipulating photos in novel and unforeseen ways.

Harris’ work was of two paths: the first path, exploring the medium itself by making three-dimensional photography; and, the second path, using photography traditionally, exploring his personal interests, often with a sense of humor. He recalls an art teacher saying, “Have a job and make art on the side. Eventually, depending on your commitment, one will win out and you will find yourself doing what you were meant to do.”  This holds true. Six years ago, Harris began making art full time. His art also had two separate paths that became one: he focuses on making work that is deeply personal and that also pushes the boundaries of photography.

Shawn Ray Harris thinks of the camera/photography as a tool, as an in-depth sketch book that captures ideas. He uses a camera, sometimes in a traditional sense, most of the time in tandem with a computer and editing software. Cameras, film, software and technologies will change. He enjoys working through how to best use available tools to capture, record, and translate his imagination. That’s what’s important to him. “Along the way, if I enable myself and a few others to laugh…then I feel I am doing what I was meant to do,” says 2014 Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts Featured Artist Shawn Ray Harris.

Harris’ photograph, “Nemaeus the Vicious,” has been chosen as the featured art image for the 2014 Fall Festival’s promotion and publications.

Featured Artist | Richard Curtner – Spring 2014

Richard’s artwork writes epic poetry within the visual. For the past 15 years, California artist Curtner has created unique artwork for thousands of clients across the country, blending his artistic talents with his passion for the written word. His word collages are created by combining hundreds of cutouts of written text all pertaining to a particular theme. He scours through hundreds of highest quality magazines searching for colors, words, and phrases. Every detail in the collage is an individual cut out. Nothing is painted on or manipulated with a computer. Everything is cut out by hand with an X-Acto knife, glued together carefully, and then varnished. The end result is a distinctive form of artwork in which you can see something different every time you look at it.

Richard CurtnerHis works are a “green” art. All the materials come from donated magazines. “People would rather donate the magazines to me than have them go to a land fill. It gives the magazines a second life,” Curtner explains. He is motivated by a variety of themes. Lately he has been concentrating on cityscapes and figurative pieces. All of his figures in the artwork are faceless. This allows for a broader interpretation. People can put themselves in the pieces, or people they know. It allows for a greater connection between the viewer and the artwork.

Richard Curtner a resident of the Palm Springs, California area. He exhibits full time throughout the United States. His unique word collages are displayed in museums, galleries (both online and off). They are in publication in international and domestic art magazines, books, and other media. The artist’s award-winning creations are prized worldwide by both private and public collectors.

During the 2014 Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts, Richard Curtner will be located in the Featured Artist booth at the intersection of Mill Avenue and 5th Street.

The original of “The Catcher and the Fly” has been added to the Tempe Festival of the Arts Featured Artist Gallery, and will be on display during the Festival at the Mill Avenue District offices at 310 South Mill Avenue, Suite A‐201, in Downtown Tempe, Arizona.

Visit Richard Curtner’s online gallery at www.curtnerart.com

Featured Artist | Stephen Harmston – Fall 2013

Stephen has been creating hand‐printed serigraphy for more than 25 years. His imagery is a way of sharing his experiences from travels throughout the wild and rural parts of the land. He has lived in the Southwestern states of the Colorado Plateau up to the Pacific Northwest, and the large skies, distant mountains, and seasonal textures of this expansive, beautiful land have been a constant source of inspiration.

feat_artHe has a BFA in Printmaking and has spent his career working both as a commercial screen printer and as a printmaker in the fine arts. His works have been sold to art collectors and galleries and have frequently been used as promotional subjects for fine art shows and cultural events.

Harmston’s artwork reflects a point of view that he attempts to make both visually attractive and unusual. Unusual, in that the artistic medium he chooses to create with is called serigraphy or screen printing. Serigraphy is basically a stencil making process, in which each color is hand‐cut, and hand‐printed onto the papers surface. With this medium of fine art printing expresses his personal attachment to the imagery with simple hand cut shapes, overlaying with a vibrant palette of opaque and translucent colors. He loves the physical aspects of creating his art: “the stencil cutting, color mixing and the act of pulling the ink across the screen onto the paper. The medium of screen printing, while very time consuming and labor intensive, seems well suited for my creative process. It’s still exciting to lift the screen and see the colors build up on each other.”

A serigraph is an original fine art silkscreen print. There are a variety of techniques to create stencils. Harmston chooses to hand cut his stencils using litho film with an Exacto knife and exposes the stencils to the screen using a photo emulsion process. The screen is a rectangular frame over which a mesh fabric is tightly stretched. Each color is printed by pulling ink across the screen with a squeegee onto the paper. This process is repeated over and over, sometimes requiring 20 ‐ 40 stencils until the image is complete. It takes between one to two months to complete each edition, which are short, usually 50 or less, and they are never reprinted again, the stencils are destroyed and the screen is reclaimed.

Screen printing creates a unique type of art with a smooth, satin like surface quality that’s almost impossible to create with any other technique. Serigraphy became a fine art medium around the late 1930’s and by the 1960s it became widely accepted by both collectors and galleries when artist’s such as Andy Warhol , Roy Liechtenstein and others began creating major works in the medium.

This artwork is not to be confused with mass produced, mechanical, or commercial reproductions or computer graphics. Each piece is a hand cut and hand printed original, and due to the nature of the hand printing process, slight variances occur with each pass so no two are exactly alike. Each print is truly an original, handmade work of art.

Moonlight Gulch (2012) is a mixed media piece that incorporates both screen‐printing and acrylic painting. Harmston will bring a limited edition of Serigraphs of Moonlight Gulch to exhibit and sell from his Featured Artist booth during the Festival. The image itself was inspired from Harmston’s many backpacking trips into the Cedar Mesa region of Southeast Utah. “In particular, during one of those trips I stayed in Grand Gulch, a major canyon in the area. While in the daytime the views are impressive it is what occurred one night during a full moon. The full moon effect transformed the gulch into an ever changing, other worldly place. The moon was so bright during this visit that it was bright enough to read by while also remaining at times spooky. It was a thrilling sight and it inspired this piece.”

During the 2013 Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts, Stephen Harmston will be located in the Featured Artist booth at the intersection of Mill Avenue and 5th Street.

The original of “Moonlight Gulch” has been added to the Tempe Festival of the Arts Featured Artist Gallery, and will be on display at the Mill Avenue District offices at 310 South Mill Avenue, Suite A‐201, in downtown Tempe, Arizona.

Featured Artist | Armando Lopez – Spring 2013

Armando Adrian‐Lopez is a Tarascan, native born in the village of Santa Maria Michoacan in southwest Mexico, now living in Abiquiu, New Mexico. He uses both native and Catholic imagery in his mixed media work and his paintings. The underlying structure of his work stems from the folk art tradition of fashioning figures out of corn husks, twigs, reeds, and grass.

Armando Lopez _SwallowsWhen Armando was a child, his mother told him the story of a doll made by her father when she was a girl. She said the doll was so infused with a magical human likeness that the eyes (made from marbles) seemed to follow all that went on around it. The story became etched in Armando’s young mind, and at age four he began making dolls with the notion of instilling in them the same magical qualities as the doll in the story.

He currently resides with his family in Abiquiu, New Mexico, on an organic farm that he tends in his spare time. Many of the basic materials used in his 3D Mixed‐Media sculptures are grown or collected on the farm. He also sculpts and fires the ceramic panels, heads, body parts and ornaments used in his work.

Theater college in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico was Adrian‐Lopez’ only official art schooling. His grandfather was a basket maker and from him, he learned how to weave and construct objects from different materials. At first, he made baskets, too, and then he began to imbue them with a personality; taken perhaps from a tale, a myth, a fable, pastoral, vesicle, an apparition, a mystical encounter, or a dream. His baskets grow wings, rays, and faces. He still essentially is a
basket maker; an artistic/theatrical basket maker; however, the Festival has chosen one of his paintings as our 2013 Spring Festival’s representative image.

Through painting, Armando depicts his artistic visions and inner life in a detailed, colorful, and multi‐leveled format. He builds upon the foundation laid down by the old European Masters.

Using layers of under painting and glazing, he builds up the paint so that the viewer is drawn into the depths of the canvas.

He applies paint as under‐painting, and then he adds many opaque layers on top of that. Many transparent glazes are then added onto that. Much of his subject matter ranges from the angelic through the mundane and sometimes shamanistic. Much of it stems from his interpretation of the native Mexican view of the world and of the New and Old Testament. Nowadays, he paints mostly in oils, though he sometimes uses egg tempera, mixing my own egg tempera using natural mineral pigments and egg yolk. The colors are deep, soft, and, glowing.

“No one bequeathed my dreams to me, No one taught them to me. The muse of my inspiration comes every night and like Prometheus, each day I am disarmed arming my dreams,” he says of his work.

During the 2013 Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts, Armando Adrian‐Lopez will be located in the Featured Artist booth at the intersection of Mill Avenue and 5th Street.

One of his original paintings will be added to the Tempe Festival of the Arts Featured Artist Gallery, and will be on display at the Mill Avenue District offices at 310 South Mill Avenue, Suite A‐201, in downtown Tempe, Arizona.

Featured Artist | Ryan Myers – Fall 2012

Ryan Myers of Madison, Wisconsin, tells stories about everyday lives, hopes, fears, and cherished deities through his figurative works in clay. From the very beginnings of mankind, the figure in art has held limitless possibilities and has been a subject matter to which everyone can relate.

girl-with-puppets_small-for-webSince Myers’ very first attempts to create art, he has been attracted to the human form.
Through his keen interest in the history and the intimacy of old objects, he expresses unique stories and hidden values through his art. As a youth he was influenced by his father’s Native American artifacts and American antiques which he remembers thinking of as treasures. He was attracted to the intimate qualities of the smaller objects: the textures of rusty iron, crawling paint on old furniture, and even the musty smell of various old objects from the past.
Myers comes from a background of art making in a university setting, where he focused on ceramic sculpture, primarily figurative. His current work focuses on sculpture that has an implied function. The possibility of people using the work for their daily rituals, such as morning coffee, is both fascinating and inspiring to him.
Myers is the 2012 Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts’ Featured Artist and his wall sculpture, “Girl with Hand Puppets,” has been chosen to represent the festival in promotions and advertising. During the 2012 Fall Tempe Festival of the Arts, Ryan Myers will be located in the Featured Artist booth at the intersection of Mill Avenue and 5th Street.
One of Myers’ original sculptures will be added to the Tempe Festival of the Arts Featured Artist Gallery, and will be on display at the Mill Avenue District offices at 310 South Mill Avenue, Suite A-201, in downtown Tempe, Arizona.

Featured Artist | Robert Gertz – Spring 2012

Robert Gertz of Scottsdale, Arizona, has always been interested in photography, but he did not come to his craft early. Working after school and on weekends in his brother’s frame shop as a teen, he learned framing and matting and began his interest in the art world. His experience there led to many years in the custom frame and matting business.
One of the first expressions of his artistic skill was making custom mats and he became an expert at creating unusual designs and even logos carved into multi-layer mats.
His constant exposure to many different forms of art sharpened Bob’s eye for detail, balance and color and his curiosity about photography also grew. He began experimenting with various cameras and films by first shooting 35mm film. But he wasn’t satisfied with the results when compared to the best he had seen in his frame customer’s work. His dissatisfaction led Bob to experiment with medium format cameras, and after only a few rolls of film, he realized he had discovered his passion.

Featured Artist | Tanya Doskova – Fall 2011

Tanya Doskova is a Bulgarian-born, Canadian artist living in Vancouver, BC. She holds a Master of Arts 
degree in Printmaking. In 1990, Tanya moved from Sofia, Bulgaria to London, UK, where she had her 
work presented in more than 20 group exhibitions and was featured in three solo exhibitions in Soho.
In 1995 Tanya moved to Canada and in 1996 and 1997 she won five major Canadian Awards from the 
Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators (CAPIC).
From 1998 to 2002 she did computer animation and special effects for the film industry in London, UK 
and Vancouver, BC. Tanya worked in U2 and Ridley Scott’s post- production house ‘The Mill’ and in 
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in England, creating special effects for the Hollywood motion pictures: 
’Enemy of the State’, ‘Babe 2’, and ‘Pitch Black’.
In 2010 Tanya Doskova won an Award of Excellence in The Communication Arts Illustration Annual 
Competition. This prestigious American award and the publication of her images in The Communication
Arts Magazine gave her worldwide exposure and recognition.

Check out Tanya Doskova images online at www.fineartoncanvas.com

Featured Artist | Kari von Wening – Spring 2011

Kari found her calling early on by gluing leaves to her school dress and creating an “assemblage” on her mother’s dining room table by covering it in Smokey the Bear decals.
Her life education includes sculpting cakes in a well known bakery Cake and Art and opened her own bakery, Takes the Cake in Pasadena and produced all kinds of edible sculpture. She burned out on buttercream and eventually found her passion in metal art. She was more drawn to the physicality of her intaglio zinc plates than to the prints they created.
She began pop-riveting used printing plates together forming sculptural objects and gravitated to scrap metal, which offered creative choices in surface texture, color, and form. The history of found metal is revealed in its torn disintegrating edges, pitted surfaces, natural patinas, and play of the elements. Remnant shapes and surfaces bring another layer of content to her work, a synthesis of her vision and the inherent personality of the found piece or object. She received her M.A. in intaglio and an M.F.A. in sculpture at U.C.L.A.