Pavlina Nichole – Extraordinary Day at Sagebrush Cafe

There are a number of themes at work in the collage art of Pavlina Nichole on display now under the name, Extraordinary Day in the gallery space at Sagebrush Café. Playfulness and fun are the most striking features of many of the pieces in the show.

Bright colors and witty juxtapositions create a sense of almost revelatory innocence – or at least, Pavlina Nichole seems to revel in an ironic innocence with these collage works. The irony comes in the fact that the work on display in this show often uses a consistent and recognizable set of visual codes and cues relating to ideas of gender, body image, sex and sexuality, and, yes, innocence itself.

#picoftheday #pavlinanichole #papercollage #lovely #collageart #vintage #love #paper #art #delicious #lines #design #blue #favorite #shine #glitter #dance #fashion #beautiful #woman #body #diamonds #treasure #vogue #sexy #blackandwhite #cutandpaste #cute #artist Powered by @instatagapp for iPhoneThe art in Extraordinary Day is sometimes about how the world sees us and sometimes about how we see ourselves. It is also about how the imagination stands at the center of each of these directionalities/points of view and how, if a person wants to instill a change in perspectives, the imagination is a necessary part of any self-creation, self-shaping or new world view.

Using images cut from vintage advertisements and fashion magazines from the 1950s (and some from as far back as the 1930s), Nichole’s collages draw a subtle comment on the various sources of our contemporary views of beauty and sexuality – without breaking from the metaphorical and playful codes that characterize the style of each piece.

In her own words, Pavlina Nichole thinks of her art as exploring “the drama of everyday life” in ways that utilize vintage images from a shared history as “a groundwork where I can create a NEW story or moment.”

To risk stretching just an iota, it is tempting to say that Extraordinary Day treats the landscape of 1950s commercial imagery as a pseudo-Garden-of-Eden, offering, maybe, a glimpse of where our ideas have come from and how far (or how little) they have traveled since being ejected from that well-known paradise where everyone had a new car in the driveway, a slim-waisted home-cooking wife and a work-ethic matched only by a great, blustery sense of humor.

That may be taking the metaphor at the heart of these collages past its intended reach, but the iconography here is undeniably blissful, frankly ironic and consistent with a quiet, artistic re-imagining of the ideas of sexual identity and self-image.

Show Reviewed:

Extraordinary Day

Collage Art

by Pavlina Nichole

Showing at Sagebrush Cafe

42104 50th Street West, Quartz Hill CA 93536


MacQuarrie & Manannan mac Lir – Still Lording Over the Underworld After All These Years

Book news:

The Waves of Manannan mac Lir

Title: The Waves of Manannan mac Lir

Author – Charles MacQuarrie | Illustrator – R. Tato

Find it:  Sagebrush Cafe has a limited number of promotional copies and is offering them to customers starting Monday, January 12.

Mythology is populated by figures of sky and sea, fire and water, might and wisdom and all that stuff. We like to think that mythology belongs to the past. Greek culture, in terms of mythology, is not identical in our minds with the reported lethargy and decadence of today’s Greece. (I’ve never been there, but that is what people say…) No. Our image of Greek mythology is set firmly in the past.

But those stories somehow translate to the present. One reason this is true – people keep making new translations of ancient stories.

Who is doing that translation and breathing life into those stories? Well, one person doing it hails from the Antelope Valley. Professor Charles W. MacQuarrie has made a book on a figure of Irish and Scotish mythology – Manannan mac Lir, god of the underworld.

“Manannan mac Lir was the king of the Celtic underworld in the sea and under the earth of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. There are many stories told of him from the Voyage of Bran which was written down around 750 a.D. to his appearance in James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, which was published in 1939. This is a long life, over 1200 years, but Manannan is an immortal after-all. In this book we have translated and adapted the very earliest, and some of the best, stories about Manannan. We very much hope you will enjoy them.”

The illustrated collection of stories produced by MacQuarrie includes the work of R. Tato, an Antelope Valley artist who also has ties to the Antelope Valley College/Cal State Bakersfield satellite campus in Lancaster.

Sagebrush Cafe is located at 42104 50th Street West, Quartz Hill , CA 93536. 

Supplies are limited.

AS YOU LIKE IT closes its run on Friday, November 21

There is only one more chance to catch the show the Antelope Valley has been raving about!
AS YOU LIKE IT closes its run on Friday, November 21 at 7:30 pm at the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theatre.
Make sure you don’t miss this very last performance by the critically acclaimed professional theatre company Theatricum Botanicum.

Read what people who saw the show at the Palmdale Playhouse had to say:

“Amazing! Hilarious! And Awesome!”

“It had me laughing throughout!”


“The actors made Shakespeare come alive! I was very entertained!”

“It was super, fantastic, incredibly AWESOME!”

“Fabulous! Loved it!”

How did AS YOU LIKE IT make you feel?

“That there is hope for love and togetherness.”


“Like I need to meet Shakespeare.”

“It made me feel like an actor!”

What was your favorite part?

“The whole play was so much fun!”

“When (Rosalind and Orlando) fell deeply in love.”

“The music, dancing and singing!”

“The wrestling match!”

“Everything! Especially the end!”

The critically acclaimed theatre company Theatricum Botanicum is coming to the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theatre for one night only, with the hilarious comedy As You Like It! Tickets to Theatricum shows are typically about $40, but for this special one-night performance, respond to this email at to get your tickets FREE! Or call Frank Weidner at (920) 918-1706.

As You Like It tells the story of best friends Rosalind and Celia, who travel to the Forest of Arden in disguise to escape banishment, find love, and discover family. Accompanied by the clown Touchstone, As You Like It is one of Shakespeare most beloved comedies and is appropriate for all ages! Theatricum’s production sets the tale in post Civil War America, and enhances the story with classic American folk music and dance. Do not miss the final performance of this magnificent, unique production!

PopRocks – Art by Nuri Amanatullah Showing at Sagebrush Cafe

AV Arts Blog recently sent some interview Q’s to Nuri Amanatullah in anticipation of his show at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill. He wrote back.

He’s calling his show PopRocks and the show is comprised of bold and colorful digital drawings. We started out asking about Amanatullah’s inspiration for the work featured in the show.

The show goes up on Saturday April 12 with an opening reception at 2 pm at Sagebrush Cafe.

PopRocks – Nuri Amanatullah

Saturday – April 12 – 2pm


AV Arts: What are a few sources of inspiration for your art?


Nuri Amanatullah: Comics, video games and movies is usually where I start. Whether it’s my own creation or a fan favorite, I usually use my childhood nostalgia as a springboard and go from there. I am a fan at heart. I grew up playing NES and reading comic books, drawing whenever I could, so for me it’s more fun than anything else. 



AV Arts: Do you feel any specific affinities with art or artists working in outside the visual arts – writers, film makers, musicians?


Nuri Amanatullah: I love film and am an avid movie-goer. Also, architecture. I have always been an architecture enthusiast. The idea of creating a user-specific experience through the presentation of certain vantage-points or line of sights is not too different from film, actually. Architecture can be very cinematic whether it’s your view from the window or looking down the hall, it is a intended scene that was designed specifically for the viewer. 


AV Arts: Can you name a muse or two, a couple of people who make you want to create and who might make you want to create the particular work that you do?


Nuri Amanatullah: I am in awe of Mondo’s film poster releases. They assemble the Avenger’s of illustration to pump out licensed, alternative movie-posters. Anytime I see the work of Kevin Tong, Mark Englert, Mike Mitchell, Laurent Durieux, Tom Whalen, Ken Taylor and Olly Moss, I instantly want to create.

AV Arts: Where did you draw inspiration for the characters in your PopRocks gallery show?


Nuri Amanatullah: Pop-culture is a such a huge realm now. For me, it starts with comics and branched outwards to video games and movies. All of the above mediums have undergone such a transformative change in the way we consume them. They persist far beyond the interfaces we used just a few years back. I feel this kind of permeable membrane that exists between these mediums opens the door for a visual smorgasbord that nerds like me can really geek out on. I can make a Bioshock themed print that is like the cover of a Little Golden Book I read growing up. We love to see different spins on existing characters. Who doesn’t love Steampunk or rockabilly Batman? It breathes new life into them and adds to their mythos. 

AV Arts: What has been your personal experience with shows (gallery spaces, museum shows, etc.) in the Antelope Valley?

Nuri Amanatullah: I’ve been to a few and have met a number of extremely talented individuals. I see it as tinder-box of talent ready to ignite any moment. MOAH is helping with that. Places like Sagebrush help with that. Once people realize that there are venues, no matter how small, the potential to create rises because it can be seen, shared and talked about. 


AV Arts: Has the Antelope Valley influenced your art in any way?


Nuri Amanatullah: Absolutely. The AV has definitely put a spin on my work. At the very least in terms of subject matter. It’s hard for me not to be influenced by my environment. The AV isn’t really on anyone’s radar in terms of design so it’s been fun to do some design-based work using my setting as a template. It has showed me what not to do and opened my eyes to what hasn’t been done here before. 


AV Arts: Has your time teaching art workshops to kids shaped your art, shaped your view of what art can do, or helped to define for you the role of creative expression in social life..?


Nuri Amanatullah: It has and I think always will. I mentioned earlier I grew up drawing so getting exposed to art at a young age can be life changing. You never know what it will spark. Does everyone I teach end up becoming an artist? Far from it, but that’s also far from the point. If I can help a number of people approach their everyday lives just a little differently by thinking visually and critically about their experiences, I have perhaps at least stirredup something. If I haven’t opened a door then maybe I’ve cracked it a bit or at least unlocked it. And if one student does go on to continue creating art, that makes it all worthwhile.


AV Arts: How does the work showing in your PopRocks gallery show at Sagebrush Café compare to your other artwork? Is PopRocks representative of your work in general?

Pretty much. I’ve struggled a lot as an artist because my mind wanders. I am interested in so many mediums and artists it has been difficult for me to gain focus. I’ve done drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, writing, film—you name it, I’ve probably done it… all in the hopes of finding something I can sink my teeth into. The problem is that I love it all. Drawing has always been my bread and butter, but I am comfortable and feel proficient in most art forms to where if I get bored with one thing I can move to another. Sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none situation. I’m starting to get better at honing in on what I want to focus on, but in the meantime I’m going to continue doing work that I love. 



Art by Nuri Amanatullah

at Sagebrush Cafe

from April to July, 2014

Opening Reception

Saturday – April 12 – 2pm

Antelope Valley Artists: What have you been working on?

Dear Artists of the Antelope Valley,

What are you doing? I mean, what have you been working on?

Want to share?

If you would like to have your work – images, writing, thinking, videos, etc. – shared here on the AV Arts Blog, we’d love to have you. This blog is a sounding board. Shout and it will echo. Or…something like that.

The AV is home to a vibrant community of artists. This blog knows it and tries to show it. If you are down with that, please share a link with interested friends, via email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. But, more to the point, if you are making art and want to reach a few more people please take up this offer and use the AV Arts Blog to publicize your work.

Write in with a comment linking to your work, send in an email with information or content to


stencil design in play 3

– eric martin

Lancaster’s Museum of Art and History

The new Lancaster modern art & history museum is open; the MOAH…it’s open, it’s real, and it’s full of potential. Have you been inside and seen it? What did you think? What do you think of the Antelope Valley’s largest, most expensive and most official arts space?

AV Arts Blog would like to hear about your reaction to the new museum: thoughts, perceptions, likes, dislikes, hopes, inside scoops… What we’d like to do is invite everyone to write in with comments that will then be put into a new post, collecting the various views expressed in those comments.

Probably, we will just see a few comments come in. Not everyone has been to the new museum on the BLVD and not everyone has the time to write in, but in the hopes of encouraging conversation about this new space and conversation on the arts in general here in the Antelope Valley, I’d like to try this out, invite some comments (or even controversy) and see if we can help either spark debate or spark interest in this new arts space.


Limitless – Paintings by Jeremy Johnson – Showing at Sagebrush Cafe

The art of Jeremy Johnson has been described as “riveting”, “captivating”, and “intense”. I am the one who said all those things, but it’s true anyway.

Johnson manages to say a lot while using little, though his canvases are rather sizable.

You can see his work through the spring season at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill, the AV’s up-and-coming, not-a-secret-anymore coffee & art house. (I’m one of the owners, did you know? And I personally invite you to come in and take a look at this gallery show, which will impress you. I practically guarantee it.

We’re also offering a limited time chance to actually win a piece from Johnson’s LIMITLESS SHOW…)

This is what Johnson has to say about his art and himself (from his website):

My name is Jeremy Johnson and I am from Ottawa, IL.

Ever since I was a child, I loved working with my hands and being very artistic.

My career began with welding but soon took a turn when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in the cerebellum at the age of 30. During my rehabilitating I decided to brush up on what I used to love, creating art. I started painting and found my passion again.

Life’s not what we want it to be, it’s what we make it. So do what makes you happy! Love what you do, do what you love!  Positive attitude is key in life. Enjoy the scenery and cherish the moment.

I’d love to be able to donate to hospitals for research and development. The most important thing in life is our health. Without the help of the Mayo Clinic I wouldn’t be where I’am today. People that help are people that care!

Never stop living!

Morbid Maybe, But Not Gothic: Flannery O’Connor

by eric martin

Flannery O’Connor is known as a “southern gothic” writer in the line of William Faulkner. One almost gets the sense that as time goes by she will become so enmeshed in the “gothic” side of her reputation that the “southern” element will be forgotten. Soon she will be compared to Edgar Allen Poe instead of William Faulkner.

In reality, O’Connor shares much more with Faulkner that she does with anyone of true “gothic” bent. She is a writer of region who keeps mortality and the fragility of the human body at the forefront of her writing. Death, in O’Connor’s work, is common.

Click for Entire Article.

Lake Hughes Gallery

This weekend marks the end of the current show at the Lake Hughes Art Gallery…Ken Kaylor and Tom Kaylor are the featured artists, doing work in stained glass, stucco paint and acrylic. The show has a unique vibrance, expecially the stucco works by the younger Mr. Kaylor, which literally pop out of the canvas.

Open Saturday & Sunday
10 am to 4 pm
Lake Hughes Road

Review: 25th Annual Juried Show at LM/AG

The Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery is currently running its 25th Annual Juried Arts Show, featuring roughly 80 artists in media ranging from photography and digital media to oil painting and colored pencil.

The works demonstrate a wide range of talents and artistic visions and, for the most part, the current LM/AG show is one of impressive quality. Subject matter varies widely but the show’s content is anchored by works relating to the landscape of the Antelope Valley.

A number of paintings and photographs featured the Antelope Valley’s symbolic moniker, the Joshua tree. The most notable of these works were the two large paintings of Kris Holladay. 

Holladay took one of the top three prizes at this years show for a piece depicting a night scene with a Joshua tree expressively rendered in staccato curves against a moon-lit sky. Holladay’s works are nicely complimented in the show by the other large paintings submitted by Edwin Vasquez and Nick Shake.

Nick Shake was awarded the first prize in the 25th Annual Juried Arts show for an oil painting titled “Prepared”. That painting shows a young man nearly waist-deep in dark water, surrounded by shadows hued with deep, dark burgundies and umbers. He is weighed down and bent under the burden of a large pack of goods with a meager lantern hanging at his side.

Behind the vividly colored young man is a very dark, again shadowy figure holding a slim rod. One might interpret this second figure, walking into the background, to be the unburdened soul of the young man, ready to do something as simple, as pure, as unburdened as going fishing. The young man, in stark contrast to this simplicity, wears chagrin instead of a smile and feels overloaded, bloated, and overwhelmed but the tasks of the world for which he is “prepared”.

The implied narrative of “Prepared” remains understated and allows for the viewer to complete the story and to fill in the blanks, a method of implication that makes for an engaging viewing experience.

Shake also has a large water color work in the Juried Show called “Size 13”. It is a departure for Shake from some of the work he has recently shown at the LM/AG (see 4<40) in that this work appears as collage of color and subject with a mainly pastel palette. “Size 13” uses painted squares to create a disrupted set of borders within the larger frame of the painting cunningly resembling collage assembly.

The image used in the painting is of a man sitting in front of a closet full of shoe boxes. Shake’s sub-frames work with the shoe boxes to create a sense that these boxed in spaces may stand for at failed attempt at isolation. The consumer that believes himself to be THE AGENT able to make “isolated decisions” is seen here in a state of over-lap.

One painted square invades the next and we see the figure in the painting as anything but a man of agency, making decisions which ultimately cannot remain isolated from one another nor from the man himself sitting in the foreground, a unified clash of the square-painted ideas of himself as a consumer and as a person.

Continuing on the subject of large works: A large work by Edwin Vasquez presented in the LM/AG show is an iconic mixed media piece: the simplified face of a man made out of old lottery tickets and candy bar wrappers in collage pasted over a bright, cool teal.

The work is loud and, purposefully, very American. It shows an outsized and irrational view of the self made up of dashed hopes and commercial goods. It is the picture of a malnourished soul. But it is not unhappy.

The photography in this year’s Juried Show is also striking and impressive. In the photography, more than in the paintings and drawings, we see a density of interest in the high desert. However, where the desert paintings tend toward landscape and contemporary issues of today’s culture and its issues, the photographs tend to focus on an era that is quickly becoming history.

Old cars, broken down houses and barns, the dead stillness of winter – these are the subjects of a culture and a mindset looking at what once was, what no longer grows, like looking at an old lottery ticket that actually once was a winner, but now, well, the money is all spent.

With 80 artists and over one hundred works on display it is impossible to comment and assess the show in detail. Some of the most interesting works were the mixed media works that utilized a combination of hand-drawing and hand-painting along side digital media.

My personal favorite works in the show were two landscape paintings of Beech trees near water. The artist, Richard Gallego, put his personal stamp on the show and on the landscapes with an incredible use of light. Both paintings delicately construct an expressive, almost impressionistic vision of autumn scenes that subtly yet vibrantly set the deep blue of the mountain stream against the orange of the Beech leaves and the bright tawny trunks of the trees.

Once again, the Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery has shown its dedication to bring quality art to the local public. Where in the past, the shows have been largely of local interest for several reasons, this year’s show takes a step beyond local interest.

The artists are local. That is true.

A healthy dose of local subject matter relating to the Antelope Valley is also a part of this show.

What makes this show different then? What takes it that extra step into general interest?

Firstly it must be noted that the LM/AG’s layout has become that of an art museum under director Nicholas West. West has re-envisioned the space so that what we have now is a legitimate museum. The results of the changed layout are tangible.

Secondly and finally, the quality of the art presented in the 25th Annual Juried Arts Show makes for a solid marriage of quality, professionalism, artistic merit, though-provoking statement. Too many facets for one marriage? You’d be surprised by how successfully these come together in the current Juried Show at the LM/AG.