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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Working to bring healing through art expression

Many artists believe that making art and being creative is therapeutic, that it calms the mind and relieves stress. Expressing oneself in such a universal manner allows artists to connect to others on a deeper level; colors, textures and form become language, a “soap box,” if you will, sharing beliefs, visions of beauty, worldly concerns and memories.

Found objects shape sculptor’s imagination

At an outdoor summer art show this year, a man entered Pat Boyd’s booth, looked around and said to her, “I like the way your mind works.” Others might wonder where in the world she comes up with her mixed-media assemblages that include “whatchamacallits” – odds and ends found in junk drawers, garages and shops that specialize in fixing obsolete items that have given way to more modern tools.

Artist finds letting go of control puts life into perspective

Art was not a thing that Brendan Genther ever considered. Sure, in junior high and high school he dabbled in photography, but that was it. For about 38 years, art wasn’t in his vocabulary. He joined the Coast Guard, sailed the world, earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University with a major in human resources, bartended for a while and then went into the hotel industry. Two years ago, his artistic journey began and he has not looked back.

Teen finding his voice through paint

Michael Eldred is just a kid; a teenager who has felt his share of angst. He has tattoos, wears his pants a little loose, and, depending on whom you ask, is in need of a haircut. He is at that age where he’s old enough to know better but too young to be considered a voice worth listening to. So, Eldred, 19, found a new way to communicate: through art.

Joy shapes her metalwork

If you were a fly on the wall of Nanette Bishop’s studio/garage, you would assume a man worked there – machinery, tools, and metal pieces are scattered about. When she enters, she puts on a cotton sweater (nylon will melt), a heavy apron, thick gloves, and a welder’s helmet. Looking a little like an extra in a science fiction movie, she buzzes rust off metal with a grinder, cuts metal with controlled lightning off the end of a plasma cutter, and causes fireworks with a welder until the scrap metal is transformed into a work of art.

Artist’s beliefs conveyed in work

Jessica LaPrade believes, and with each brush stroke she marks her canvas until it somehow represents her beliefs, flowing intuitively in shapes and colors to be viewed and contemplated by others. A mix of abstract, impressionist and representational, her work encompasses the general idea that artists do carry some kind of responsibility, however small. “Artists are messengers of a greater responsibility,” she said, “The artists of our age are the nomads with the guided path to the future.”

Little Spokane site for artist studio tour

Spokane and Spokane Valley have something to boast about; a stunning river that flows through like a vein, its banks ripe with history where men and women settled to benefit from the flowing abundance. Now a metropolis, the area often forgets the river; its sound lost to traffic. Still, it flows with the help of three major tributaries: Chamokane Creek, Hangman Creek and the Little Spokane River.

Step into artists’ studios in Town and Country tour

Lookie-loos and art appreciators get ready. A half-dozen artists on Spokane’s South Hill will be opening their homes and studios to share their work and others’ during the free self-guided seventh annual Town and Country Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday.

Local author pens tale of love and flu

In 1910, millions of acres “died” in a forest fire in North Idaho and western Montana. In 1918, during a two-year period, millions of people died from influenza. Suffice it to say, things can change in an instant. Author Sherrida Woodley’s new book “Quick Fall of Light,” published by Gray Dog Press, illustrates the latter as a modern-day pandemic spreads, as do fires, left mostly unattended.

Artist exposes human rights violations through art

Through September there will be an art show at Second Space Gallery, 610 W. Second Ave., unique to our area. Commodity is at the bottom of the list of reasons for the event. “Creating art as a commodity is not my primary goal as an artist. Making art that doesn’t need to complement a living room gives me so many more possibilities of objects and images that I can use,” said artist Dani Pavlic. “I create art that has a clean, shiny aesthetic to draw in the viewer. The concept of art is the focus of the work.”

Artist, teacher helps others tell stories through art

Born in Barbados, Priscilla Barnett immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, N.Y., where she attended high school and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, focusing on sculpting and painting, from Parsons School of Design. In New York, she taught elementary school and worked with disabled students. She later moved to Alaska after visiting there with a friend. In Ketchikan Alaska, she worked with the disabled at Big Brothers Big Sisters and at the Boys and Girls Club. A pattern of helping others emerged. The pattern came to include helping others use their voices through art.

Playing through the turmoil

Mike Nielsen picked up his first guitar at age 9. He had one lesson when he was 11 and spent the next 35 years perfecting his personal style. He played in five bands and now his sixth band, Nuke Venus, is rocking the stage. Nuke is a slang term meaning to intentionally delete something, and Venus is in reference to a girl in Nielsen’s past who suffered from a mental illness and had a major effect on his life. “Through writing about this particular subject, it’s helped me in the healing process,” he said. “I encourage anyone who has an inner turmoil, from past abuse, or bad experience in general, to write, journal, paint or whatever helps you to heal.”

Songs from her heart

Suhanna Cree was born in Spokane and grew up in Kettle Falls. When she was very young, she remembers her mother softly strumming the guitar and singing her to sleep. “I remember humming the tune in my head as I began to dream,” she said, “and thinking that someday ‘I want to sing just like my mamma.’ ” They lived on a mountain and every winter, they lost power. “That’s when my mother would teach me to play the guitar.”

Medical Lake man drawn to a life of art

Dennis Smith seems to have no trouble finding inspiration for his paintings and ceramic creations. He has a lake and all of its beauty practically in his backyard and over 30 years of experience dealing with the human spirit. “The human spirit is phenomenal under adverse conditions,” he said. “I have witnessed compassion, tenacity, and men and women taking care of each other.”

The Verve: Spokane entertainer draws from Persian culture

Yasmine Cortier is proud of her Persian culture though it hasn’t always been that way. She sings about it in her song “Persian Conversion.” “Since childhood, my life has been like an illusion; being born one way not another, I felt like an intrusion,” she said. “I wanted so bad to fit in, be the same. Went out of my way, even changed my name…”

Artist rides lowbrow wave

Looking at James Whitley’s work, a viewer cannot help but wonder “whoa, where did that come from?” It is obvious that the 35 year old’s mind is a deep abyss filled with strange and imaginative things. “I paint images of aliens, polluted landscapes, cosmic factories and the living dead, but ultimately I believe my art is relevant to our times,” he explained. “Let us not forget that art began with graffiti on cave walls. It was a way to communicate on what is going on in the collective conscious.”

James Whitley is riding the lowbrow movement

Looking at James Whitley’s work, a viewer cannot help but wonder “whoa, where did that come from?” It is obvious that the 35 year old’s mind is a deep abyss filled with strange and imaginative things. “I paint images of aliens, polluted landscapes, cosmic factories and the living dead, but ultimately I believe my art is relevant to our times,” he explained. “Let us not forget that art began with graffiti on cave walls. It was a way to communicate on what is going on in the collective conscious.”

VISUAL STORYTELLER

Deanna Camp believes that being an artist, in whatever form, is just another aspect of humanity. “Humans have an innate need to express themselves to other humans in some way. Some have the gift of telling stories of what’s around them,” she said, “Others are visual and express their surroundings through color or fiber or clay or recycling objects. Whatever the means, it’s all about communication and sharing views in unexpected ways.”

VISUAL STORYTELLER

Deanna Camp believes that being an artist, in whatever form, is just another aspect of humanity. “Humans have an innate need to express themselves to other humans in some way. Some have the gift of telling stories of what’s around them,” she said, “Others are visual and express their surroundings through color or fiber or clay or recycling objects. Whatever the means, it’s all about communication and sharing views in unexpected ways.”

Michael Larsen sculpts his own style

In the garage of his home on Spokane’s South Side, Michael Larsen chips away at a large chunk of bird’s eye maple. The shape that is emerging is twisting and curving organic tubes, an intricate, almost living, entity.