On Saturday, April 18, 2009, with festivals beginning to pop up all over the place again, I decided to throw myself into the spirit of the season by attending two. After a morning trip to the farmers market for breakfast and cooking supplies and a later trip at 1pm to eat lunch there (and especially eat the pizza made by a guy who has a wood-fired pizza oven in his trailer), I drove to Menlo Park for its Sidewalk Fine Arts Festival. As I parked, I was surprised to observe the festival didn't take over the street. Rather, the art booths were erected compactly on the sidewalk.
The art in this festival ranged over a variety of mediums and techniques from paintings (cubist, impressionist, etc., and even paintings for kids), photography, sculptures (metal, glass, and clay), glasswork, and pottery to embroidery, clothing, purses, jewelry (including some pretty fused glass necklaces and earrings), and even hand-made women's shoes. Despite the diversity, I found myself getting bored about halfway through. Maybe it's simply because some booths looked familiar (I guess from my past visits to other art fairs).
I didn't feel comfortable taking photographs of the artwork.
Some artists were cool enough that I think I should call them out individually:
- Silvio Silvestri's impressionist paintings. He paints many subjects.
- Delia Bradford's impressionist paintings. She paints mainly landscapes.
- Surachai Promsuntisit's watercolor paintings. They're whimsical, dreamy, and, like most pieces in the fair, expensive. (I noticed one cost $2.5k.)
- Adam Stone's surreal paintings such as a monkey in tennis shoes smoking a cigarette in a hotel room, with a bottle of alcohol on the nearby table.
- Gabriele Bungardt's paintings of pets: large, detailed, and emotive.
- Denis Minamora's super-realistic paintings. A photographer turned painter, he paints from photographs using watercolor, pen, pencil, and pastels to achieve images that are almost photographs, but unnervingly not. Like the other artists I'm mentioning here, please feel free to look at the gallery images linked from his home page (or, in this case, the what's new page) to get an sense of his work.
- Terry Steinke's etching. His landscapes look like black-and-white photographs.
- Jeffrey Murray's super-saturated photographs.
- tropical Hawaiian oil paintings.
- Mediterranean photography.
- art made by mounting fabrics on paper.
- batik pieces, often with Jewish religious themes.
- silk paintings. The colors were basic, bright, and youthful.
- face jugs (a type of clay pot).
- Club Presley's carvings. They take wooden golf clubs and carve and paint them to look like ducks and dolphins.
- acid-etched copper, the acids giving it unusual colors and tints.
- funky, person-sized metal sculpture. By funky, I mean, for instance, that one is of a cowboy riding a rocket.
- copper figures of animals (turtles, fish, lizards, dragonflies, seahorses).
- bas relief animals.
- art made by layering painted metal on painted metal on canvas: e.g., a cutout of a person over a cutout of a building over the canvas. It feels like another form of a collage.
- scepters made of glass with a globe on top.
- miniature colored glass vases, a mere two inches tall.
- stunning glass bowls.
- swirled colored marbles.
- more awesome glass pieces, including glass pumpkins.
A friend of mine, B, referred me to Peter Callesen's paper constructions, knowing his constructions feel like the kind of novel, unique artwork that I often report spotting at festivals. (That's why I feel it's appropriate to mention him here even though I didn't see his work at a festival.) Peter Callesen's constructions, often three-dimensional, are made simply by cutting out parts of paper and folding it. I think the skeletons such as this one are particularly amazing. It's only when I saw the full-sized stairs and ladders (in the large scale papercut installations section of his website) that I realized the artist could make anything out of paper.
Incidentally, while walking through Menlo Park, I discovered Penzeys Spices. They have a wide selection, selling for instance a variety of different types of cinnamon, saffron, and curry powder, along with numerous other spices and house-made spice mixes. Fancy.