I don’t get nearly enough culture in my life. Funny thing to admit, especially since I like to consider myself a man of the world. But it’s rare these days that I get to an artsy-type event…but I was going to be damned if I would miss the 2012 Utah Arts Fest. Good thing I made it-it was top notch!

2012 Utah Arts Fest in downtown Salt Lake City

Sunday, June 24th was a dreadfully hot day in SLC, so I slathered on the sunscreen, chugged some water and donned my shades before heading in. Despite the temps the area between the City/County Building and the library was swarming with people. No one would be denied their cultural experience! I ambled about from booth to booth, sometimes spending only a few moments, other times fixated for long periods on a particular work or display. The Arts Fest had it all: gorgeous HDR photography, leather workings, paintings, collages, sculptures…it was a mental overload in the best sort of way.

2012 Utah Arts Fest Malen Pierson sculptures
Malen Pierson’s excellent metal sculptures at the 2012 Arts Fest

It would be impossible to highlight all the talented artists, but I definitely had a few favorites. Malen Pierson (Lewiston, UT) brought an array of sculptures crafted from reclaimed metal and old tools. Pretty cool stuff.

2012 Utah Arts Fest Malen Pierson Goat
My favorite metal sculpture…a goat with a tin can head eating a tin can

Gabe Leanord’s booth was adorned with his gritty painting depicting wild west gunslingers, mobsters and pirates. All of his work was beautiful, twisted, and head extreme undertones of violence. Paul Sloan’s work was also beautiful, but instead of guns and violence, his focused on wine and heavy social commentary. Sloan’s multi-canvas work was my favorite; very well conceived and just fun to look at. Cat Palmer’s multimedia works were also very entertaining. Models wearing Star Wars masks were photographed in barren landscapes, mounted on either wood or metal, and quotes and phrases were added to complete the pieces. My personal favorite was a lone model rocking a Vader mask with the classic “I find your lack of faith disturbing” line.

2012 Utah Arts Fest Taeoalii paintings
Joshua and Adrienne Taeoalii drew a lot of attention with their surreal portrait work.

I couldn’t decide what particular booth/artist would earn my prestigious best in show honor, until I came upon the work of Joshua and Adrienne Taeoalii. There surreal portraits of historical and fictional characters was simply awesome! Alice in Wonderland characters, Star Wars personas and figures like Edgar Allen Poe, Hunter S. Thompson and Allen Ginsberg were given new, far out twists by these talented artists from Murray, UT. Portrait artists on an acid trip? Perhaps…however they do it, it works for me.

All in all, a great show and certainly an excellent way to spend Sunday afternoon. It had been a long time since I had a culture injection, but the Utah Arts Fest was a hefty dose that should tide me over until the next fix.

2012 Utah Arts Fest Ryan Malavolta
The 2012 Utah Arts Fest…an ass kicking way to spend Sunday afternoon!