AV Arts Convo: Painting and Mixed Media Work by AJ Currado

AV Arts Convo – featuring painting and mixed media work by AJ Currado

Presenting Painting and Mixed Media Work by AJ Currado

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series. Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

Painter AJ Currado has described herself as “creating little villages of art” and she has certainly had a hand in doing that off the canvas as well. A youth art teacher substantially inspired by travel, Currado is also a founding editor at SATURATION: Antelope Valley Arts Publication. Back in 2011, Currado helped to launch an annual series of print volumes showcasing the prose, poetry, painting, drawing and wit of local artists (and at this very moment that project moving into the digital space).

Even as she looks to help others shine, Currado has herself continued to grow as an artist, winning awards, embarking on projects of increasing scope, and pushing herself into new areas of expression. Currado’s work will be on exhibit at the MOAH juried show in June and at MOAH Cedar’s LVAG show in July-August. Seek out her work. You’ll be glad you did.

Who is your favorite writer? How does he or she influence your work?

GK Chesterton is one of my favorites. He explores everyday life with an optimistic twist, leading from content seemingly fluffy and cleverly twisting it into some thousand pound gem. I love his optimism and cheerful sobriety.
I like to think that I achieve something similar in my painting. Anything on face value can be simplistic, but you have to pause and think a moment to get at humor or depth. I present simple imagery in my paintings but I see them as portals to an immense web of ideas. A stack of books is not merely a stack of books, it is the thirst for knowledge being simultaneously satisfied and unquenchable. It is achievement in educational goals. It is preparation for travel. It is centuries of humanity past. It is the unending landscape of adventure inside the mind.

What artist or writer from the past would you most like to meet and why?

Vincent van Gogh. My work is nothing like his but I’ve always loved his style and been intrigued by him as a person. I admire his tenacity to keep working and creating so many beautiful paintings with so much pain in his life and so little encouragement. He is a maverick. I was fortunate enough to go to the south of France this past year and spend some time in Arles where van Gogh lived and worked for many years. The terrain is rugged and really inspiring, even in the winter. Easy to see why he painted the area.

CelloScroll (Small)

Track AJ Currado down at her website – www.ajcurrado.com.

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AV Arts Convo: Photography by Douglas Paul Wade

AV Arts Convo – featuring photography by Douglas Paul Wade

Presenting photography by Douglas Paul Wade

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

This week we are excited to showcase the work of Douglas Paul Wade. President of the Lancaster Photography Association (LPA) and chairperson of the Antelope Valley Fair Photography Exhibit, Wade is active both in getting his own work out there and in helping other artists find an audience too. On his website, Wade describes himself as “Striving to become GREAT at photography! Wanting bigger things in life, dreams of them often. Loves when the inner kid takes control.” There is quite a bit more to say about Douglas Paul Wade, but let’s let him and his work to the talking from here.

I got a chance to photograph the very beautiful #Claudette


Who is your favorite visual artist? How does he or she influence your work?

As a photographer, I favor the work of many masters, such as Irving Penn (Entertainer Portraiture), Man Ray (Fine Artist), J. H. Lartigue (Fashion, Motion). Some more modern masters, such as Arno Rafael Minkkinen (Fine Artist), Clarence Sinclair Bull (Portrait), Jerry N. Uelsmann (Fine Artist) and Keith Carter (Fine Artist).

I prefer more often black and white over color images. I believe it is better at telling a story and invoke an emotional response.


What artist do you currently find yourself talking about most often and why?

I spend more time talking to my peers, such as James Poynor, Juan Roberts, and Kathleen Blacklock to find out what they see in their images and their post processes.

Who or what are your major artistic influences?

I love to read and view images of non-photographers, as painters in all kinds of media. To be a better a photographer, I should not study photographers but rather museum presented artists.


Catch up with Douglas Paul Wade and find out more about his work at douglaspaulwade.com.

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CEDARFEST Juried Arts Festival – June 11

There are certain events that tend to show just how many artists there are in the Antelope Valley and the surrounding area – – and it is a sizable group. But maybe because artists so often busy themselves making art, if you aren’t paying close attention it can be easy to forget or just not realize how much art is going on here.
This yearly event can be a corrective to that forgetting.

The Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH) and MOAH:CEDAR are hosting the 31st Annual All-Media Juried Arts Festival, CEDARFEST, from Saturday, June 11 to Saturday, July 16. The festival and opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 11 from 4 to 8 PM.

One of last years’ prize winners was Marthe Aponte, an artist featured here. The CEDARFEST helped to launch Aponte into showing all over the place, both in the Antelope Valley and in Los Angeles. Who knows what will happen for this year’s winners…?

Image result for lancaster moah juried show aponte

Paris: A Living Fantasy – a photography exhibit featuring the works of Hannah Wilson

Event: Paris: A Living Fantasy – a photography exhibit featuring the works of Hannah Wilson

Location: Sagebrush Cafe | Opening Reception: Saturday April 30

Hannah Wilson is showing photographic works at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill. Those of you with keen eyes and extended attention spans will remember that Wilson has been featured on the AV Arts Blog in the past under a different name – Darla Dear.

Sagebrush Paris Show Poster final

Back in 2012, we caught up with Wilson for a little interview and we thought we’d dust it off now to celebrate her new show of photos. In the intervening few years, Wilson took her camera and moved to France.

If you would like to meet-and-greet and pick the brain of this Parisian-American, Sagebrush Cafe will be hosting an opening reception for the new show on Saturday, April 30th at 5 p.m.


A Few Questions for Darla Dear

Hannah Wilson is an Antelope Valley native who has taken her camera, her sensibilities and her computer to Long Beach where she studies and produces a blog on fashion and fine art. Her blog and Etsy page go under the name Darla Dear and you can find a link to her page on our side-bar here at AV Arts Blog.

 I had a chance to interview Wilson about her new blog and her inspirations. 

Darla Dear Fine Art Photography & Design  |  Interview


iPhone case by Darla Dear on Society6

What films, if any, have inspired or informed your photography (your aesthetic)?

The french film Amelie is not only one of my favorite films, it has inspired my photography greatly.  Aside from being really entertaining and quirky, every single shot in the film is art.

What inspires me most directly is the use of color.  I’m pretty sure that every single frame in the entire film contains the same distinct shades of deep red, green, and golden yellow. Seriously, the next time you watch that movie, look for the colors!  I very rarely take photographs in black and white, I love color too much.


Are there any favorite…objects, places, people, types of people, landscapes, cities, times of day…to photograph?  

My favorite time of day to photograph is when the sun is beginning to set, when the light turns golden.  The warmth and the indirectness of the sunlight at this time of day make everything look more beautiful.  My preferred subjects are nature or inanimate objects.

I tend to shy away from portraiture, probably because photography is more of a personal creative outlet for me, and interacting with another person takes away that element.

Where does the name Darla Dear come from?

In a small way, I chose Darla Dear because I used to know an amazing woman named Darla who influenced my life in a positive way.  I also chose it because I thought it would make a very whimsical pseudonym for me, as the photographer.

Fractured Landscapes & Joshua Trees at Palmdale Playhouse

The “Fractured Landscapes & Joshua Trees” exhibit  is now showing at Palmdale Playhouse, featuring the work of Antelope Valley artists Rose Gonella and Kris Holladay-Fregoso. In addition to this gallery show, which is the first of two scheduled for the spring, the Playhouse has a full schedule of upcoming events beginning in March with The Wizard of Oz.

Recently inviting the community in to watch screenings of classic films like On the Waterfront, Psycho and Double Indemnity, Palmdale’s city art establishment has been staying active.

With its current gallery show, Palmdale Playhouse brings together two formally trained local artists for a show exploring ideas of color, composition and imagination. Both artists may inspire us to see the local landscape a bit differently.

The text below is from the Palmdale Playhouse page.

Fractured Landscapes & Joshua Trees
Artists Rose Gonella and Kris Holladay-Fregoso
Thursday, February 18 through Sunday, April 17
Reception: Thursday, February 18, 6:30-8:30 pm

Fractured Landscapes
Kris Holladay-Fregoso

Rose Gonella began making collages in her early 20s, inspired by her aunt’s collage work. She creates her pieces using pictures clipped from calendars and magazines. Some are inspired by a story or song lyrics, others are color studies or simply constructed with a particular theme in mind.

After receiving her Master’s in Art for Assemblage at CSUN, Kris Holladay-Fregoso decided it was time to start working on a series of Joshua trees that had been on her mind for quite some time. Largely influenced by Expressionist Franz Marc, Kris appreciates his fantastic use of color. Joshua trees are amazing and a challenge to paint, but having fun with color is what brings her joy.


The Intricate Art of Marthe Aponte

Antelope Valley artist and college professor, Marthe Aponte, is an award-winning and versatile creator, making unique works of art that stand out for their intricate subtlety and fascinating detail. 

Aponte has produced work using a variety of styles, pursuing all the while, it seems, an idea of the inter-woven life. Her art presents an idea of a metaphorical palimpsest of influences (aesthetic, intellectual, spiritual) that reflect a view of life as a kind of energetic tapestry.

There is an inside-out quality in her work suggestive of connections that exist within the self, under the surface of things. These connections emerge in the intricate patterns of her work across the varying styles she has undertaken.

One is tempted to describe her work as a statement on the experience of eminence, or a comment drawn from a sensibility that sees a single source of experience rendered in the world in infinite iterations. There is in her work an almost literal flowering of energy.

This notion connects with many traditional art forms, from Nepalese sand-painting to ancient Mayan stone carvings. These forms point to the symbolic inward gaze, one that situates an outer cosmos within an inner cosmos (and vice versa). An elegant and mystical sort of Russian-doll relationship results, where the source of existence is located in the Self and also in the deeper, mysterious fabric of Spirit.

While this traditional link may be part of Aponte’s aesthetic/philosophical inspiration, there is also something quite apropos of the current Western cultural moment at work in the ideas of inter-connection and of mindfulness. As we move headlong on a path toward virtual collectivity we often find peace at the center of activity, feeling calm only when we know we are fully engaged in an event, an act, or a moment.

That’s the only time we aren’t looking to our phones for stimulus or scanning the endless tiles on Netflix to find something to watch. And if Marthe Aponte’s work is not intended as a comment on our state of constant, media-driven stimulation, it is, as she says, seeking a kind of Zen.

I am fascinated by the austerity of the art form. I like punching holes with my awl, cutting paper and sewing sequences and beads to make complex compositions simply by inviting the light to create patterns through the holes. I enjoy the repetitive and Zen like nature of the technique which I associate with meditation. The absence of colors in most of them (white on white) invite shadow to play out on the surface in unique ways. This play between the light and dark gives depth to the work.

A self-taught artist, Marthe Aponte has been awarded prizes in MOAH juried shows and has been featured in a solo exhibit at the MOAH: Cedar gallery in a show called Relics of Memory. After experimenting with a number of styles and media, Aponte now works with an awl.

Aponte has been working with picote, a technique of using punched holes to create an effect very much akin to fabric but, at the same time, styled like a cross between mandala painting and pen-and-ink drawing. The technique feels like a continuation and a refinement of her former styles and almost creates a sense that the viewer is seeing a work from the inside out – – a manifestation of an inner world projected outward.

Commenting on her picote work at the MOAH: Cedar in downtown Lancaster in her Relics of Memory show, Aponte described the collection as looking toward the meditative.

A place where the artist and (hopefully) the viewer are transported into another world. One in which time slows down and invite to meditation and introspection.

Many of her newest works double-down on these notions of creating a space for reflective thought by creating pieces in all white (evidenced in the image above). Aponte’s approach to her recent work and echoes of meditation achieves a fine balance between a peaceful calm and an engaging, and yes, stimulating artistry.

“Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”


Please don’t take the perspectives offered here as a definitive view of Marthe Aponte’s art. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. She is prepping for at least one solo show next year (more to come on that later).

You can also see more of her work and read more about her background at her website.

Antelope Valley Thespians – Looking for Movie Extras

The Antelope Valley Thespians, a Quartz Hill theatre company, are in the process of making a movie. They could use a little help. 

One of the actors in our movie, has resigned from the role. It would be the role of Lysander. He is an intellectual type, and old enough to be the father of a teenager.

If you know someone who can help fill this role, please help recruit.

Also, it seems most of our extras have disappeared.

We could use new extras.

So, interested in a role in the AVT movie? Do you know someone who would be interested? Do contact us.

If you want to be in the movies and want to pitch on a local arts project, contact AVT through their Facebook page (link).

The UFO SHO is gearing up. Have you sent in your story or your art yet?

Blast off October 11th at Sagebrush Cafe! Do you have a paranormal experience in the Antelope Valley that you’d like to share? Email THEUFOSHO at gmail dot com.

The Antelope Valley is rich with unexplained phenomenon and the goal of this show is to compile these experiences and and have an open discussion about the who/what/when/where/and whys.

We’ll be attempting to achieve this goal (at 6-9pm on October 11th) with:

– Live Space Music
– UFO Stories, Art and Videos
– Alien Autopsy
– Experimentations
– Power Point Presentations
– Alternative Theories
– Ancient Sculptures
– Tribute to Science Fiction Artwork
– Much More!

If you have a local UFO (or any unexplained phenomena) story to share, please send an email to theufosho at gmail dot com and we’ll print it in our UFO SHO ZINE. Thank you!

Gabriele Baber Brings Her Painting(s) to the Antelope Valley

The Antelope Valley is lucky to count a new artist among its ranks of painters, writers, sketch artists, collagists and film makers. Gabreile Baber brings a deep art catalog, years of painting experience, and an obvious talent to the Lancaster/Palmdale area. She is looking to make connections, so if you are viewing this article and like what you see, please reach out. 

Send a comment and we can put you in touch with Baber. Better yet, visit her blog and reach out to her there. 

PrincessLaylathumb - Watercolor

The following is nabbed from Baber’s blog:

“German born artist Gabriele Baber has been an artist all her life. Years of study at the University level and study with prominent artists, such as David Leffel, Richard McDaniel, Daniel Greene, Brenda Swenson, Tom Lynch, Robert Burridge, Chris VanWinkle, JoAnna Arnett, Elizebeth Tolley, Greg LaRock and others too numberous to mention have helped to develop Gabriele’s skill level to the proficiency that it is today. With a broad range of study, Gabriele’s work shows a high level of skill in a variety of mediums.

Texture Sheep by gabriele baber Oil ~ 8 x 6“The award-winning California artist’s work expresses her passion for painting through the use of exciting, vivid color and drama. Whether working in oil, acrylic, watercolors, or pastel, Baber paints with an eye for dramatic color, and expresses herself through her art, painting realistically with an expressionistic flair.

“Those who collect her work admire her ability to capture the essence of nature in her own unique way. Gabriele’s work is found on the cover of the book, Temecula Valley, then and now. Her work has been the signature art for the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival.  Her work is in the permanent collection of the Temecula Valley Arts Council, and the Balloon and Wine festival office as well as various locations through out the globe. .Nationally, her work garnered the Reno Air Race Poster and is still the only woman to have the honor of painting the award winning poster.

“As an artist and teacher, she encourages her students to express themselves through art focusing on the process, not the product. Through gentle critique and positive reinforcement, her students are able to find their own style and voice in their art.

“Recently, due to her husband’s job, Gabriele relocated from a long time residence in Temecula, California, to Palmdale, California, in June of 2014, where she continues to work as a freelance artist.”Balloon Glow by gabriele baber Acrylic ~ 18 x 24



Take a look at Baber’s work at the IDYLLWILD LIVING ROOM GALLERY and at her blog.

Call for Artists – AVC Art Gallery – Written in the Stars

This announcement was passed on to us at the AV Arts Blog from AV artist Larissa Nickle.


What would an exhibition look like completely divorced from curatorial subjectivity? What kind of discourse can rise from a group of artworks that is brought together, not by one person’s interests and preferences, but by chance, play, and perhaps a little divine intervention? As a way of thinking outside of a traditional relationship of dependency – artist on curator, curator’s discourse upon artwork – I propose a series of exhibitions that are brought together through an application of completely arbitrary systems. From this experiment, my hope is to ignite a different way of exhibiting, viewing, writing and thinking about contemporary art.
The first in this series of exhibitions is Written in the Stars, and will be configured based on the astrological charts of each artist who responds to this call. The collection of birthdates will be given to an astrologer who will select the participants based on each birth charts alignment with the opening date of the exhibition (October 20, 2014). Taking place at Antelope Valley College Art Gallery in Lancaster, CA, the show will be in the epicenter of a desert landscape in which metaphysical energies and practices are said to flourish. If chosen, each artist can contribute any piece of art they wish to show; the work does not have to speak to the astrology theme in any way. If you wish to be considered, please send the following materials to kellie.lanham@gmail.com by Monday, August 18th:
  • Your birthdate (month, date, year) and time
  • A CV or Resume
  • A few images of your work (this does not have to be the piece you wish to contribute)
Kellie Lanham is a writer and curator working in Los Angeles. She is an editor and regular contributor toRECAPS Magazine and Haunt Journal of Art and holds an MFA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of California, Irvine.