Artsplash Debuts at Menlo Summerfest
Nirvana For Shoppers, Fun in the Sun
America’s finest artists and craftmakers transform Menlo Park’s tree-lined downtown into a spectacular visual feast for Artsplash, the fine arts component of the Menlo Summerfest, coming up July 15-16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Santa Cruz Avenue.
Alain Fastre watercolor "Canal Grande Venezia"
Rebecca Nie painting "Poppy"
Eric Lusignan photography "Lupine and Hills"
Paula Riley oil painting "Joy in the Garden"
Deborah Bridges garden sculpture angel
Shop and browse among more than 200 well-stocked booths filled with on-trend fashions, dazzling jewelry, exceptional paintings, functional ceramics, shimmering glass vessels, leather goods, beautiful photography, wood carvings, mixed media creations and much more.
There will be many new, emerging artists featured and they are excited to add a fresh, modern edge to the festival. “Festivalgoers will find handcrafted treasures in all price-points by many of their favorite artists and discover one-of-a-kind items by lots of newcomers – 20 percent of the artists are new participants,” said Director of Pacific Fine Arts Festivals Dana Hale-Mounier. “
Alain Fastre has been able to combine his passion for painting with a successful international business career. He has worked in 29 different countries and enjoys painting the iconic places that have left indelible memories in his mind. The artist recently started painting with oils and acrylics, but he prefers watercolors. “I like the spontaneity of the technique, less being often more, the interaction between the water, the paper and the pigments,” he said. Contemporary painter Rebecca Nie creates a Zen dialogue between the artist and viewer through visual beauty. She strives to express the Eastern ideal of harmony with nature and humanity through layers of symbolism. Her abstract realism paintings illustrate poppies, magnolias and other natural wonders. Photographer Eric Lusignan used to work for the family of Ansel Adams. Today, he scours national parks in the United States and Canada to shoot interesting subjects. His favorite park is Yosemite, where he and his wife, Nancy, got married. Paula Riley paints from the heart. Inspired by the Impressionist painters, she uses a palette knife to depict interesting objects and landscapes. “I enjoy telling the story of each painting,” she explained. “I’m interested in light and shadow, in warm and cool, and texture. I strive to take my paintings beyond what is seen by the eye and to create a mood or feeling through color and composition.”
Sculpture and Mixed Media
Nobe Babayan’s bronze sculptures are deeply sensitive and imaginative. His work is spiritual and thought-provoking, and it has been displayed in exhibitions throughout Europe. Recent themes have included “The Poet,” “Lord of the Dance” and “Safe Haven.” Contemporary artist Stuart Ratcliff’s pencil, charcoal and pen drawings capture life’s magical moments. He has a remarkable ability to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary works of art. From eerie moonlit evenings to spindly tree branches swaying in a summer breeze, his work is unusual and mysterious. Deborah and Casey Bridges are a mother and son team. They carve ceramic sculptures and stone garden art, inspired by deities of the East and ancient sculptures from temple carvings. According to Deborah, “The garden sculpture is a fragmentation of sacred imagery of various cultures. I express these archetypal symbols in a state of transition and disintegration because they represent impermanence, the passing of time and myth-making–all pointing to the great mystery. Erik Nelson uses recycled paint, shellac, studio debris, found objects and other raw materials to create incredible works of art. He scrapes, burns and sands his surfaces to create textures and contemporary designs. He uses a soft palette of ocean and earth tones to create his soothing artistic creations.
Robert Kahl blown glass
John Conroy mixed media "Elephants Tryptich"
Connie Gunderson handbag "Monique"
Nancy Wilder hand dyed silk scarf
Ritter Lorna clothing "Jaclet"
What’s your favorite city? Jack Charney designs dinnerware depicting his contemporary vision of New York, Chicago, Santa Fe, Seattle and (our favorite!) San Francisco. His ceramic designs will add an exciting pop of color to any kitchen. According to glassblower Robert Kahl, “Manipulating glass is like playing a game of chess. Each move must be thought out well in advance in order to achieve masterful execution.” It’s no wonder that his sparkling glass vases, paperweights, garden art and jewelry are so popular. Each piece is acid etched after it is cooled to give it a soft matte texture. Calling all cat lovers: John Conroy says he doodles, creates art and moves 24/7. His customers are delighted by his amusing greeting cards and stationery, pillows, tote bags and giclée canvas wraps. Michael Dickinson’s shimmering glass champagne flutes, wine stoppers and desk sculptures are inspired by classic and timeless art found in Northern California plants and an ever-changing society. He hopes to “reconnect every soul with a piece of art that stays solid while the world keeps spinning.”
Connie Gunderson designs high-quality handbags and creates her own patterns. The handbags are constructed from upholstery-grade fabrics. The inside of each bag is meticulously finished with a safety zipper and useful pockets. Connie also makes gorgeous brooches from ribbon, yarn, feathers and fabric. In fact, many of her handbags are embellished with complimentary brooches. Inspired by the Northern California coast, Nancy Wilder is a painter and felter who enjoys exploring various textures and luminous colors. She layers fine strands of colored wool fiber on ethereal, sheer silk to make soft scarves, ponchos and accessories. Lorna Ritter remembers spending hours on her mother’s Singer Featherweight sewing machine. Today, 35 years later, she sews beautiful hand-painted clothing and accessories. Her whimsical line includes jackets, dresses, vests, pillows, handbags and jewelry. After traveling the world for five years, Hester Van Diggelen became an accomplished jeweler. She works primarily with sterling silver but also incorporates gems, felt, enamel and gold into her original pendants, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. Her contemporary style reflects her travels and appeals to customers of all generations.