Tuesday, September 27, 2011

80th Annual Plaza Art Fair

Fall is a wonderful time of year in Kansas City to enjoy fairs and festivals.  After the sweltering heat we had this summer, I'm happy to get outside and appreciate the fall weather.  Saturday I attended the Plaza Art Fair with my father, mother and brother.  We had such a beautiful day and really enjoyed the weather, people watching and ambiance of the country club plaza as well as the vast array of art on display at this event. 

This was the 80th annual Plaza Art Fair.  The Art Fair was started during the Depression as a way to attract new customers to the Plaza and to lift people's spirits.  Back in 1932 you could buy a painting for a price of $1 to $10!  The first Art Fair was so successful that it has been continued as a yearly event to this day.  Now the fair attracts a crowd of over 250,000, and it is known as a top ranked national art event with 240 artists from all across the US.  Needless to say, it is a real honour to be chosen as one of the artists to display and sell your artwork at this event. 

A view of the Plaza Art Fair, Sept 24, 2011
There was some very impressive art on display including painting, ceramics, fiber arts, sculpture, photography, glass, metalwork, photography, printmaking and of course, jewelry.  One of my personal favorites included a printmaking booth by Marina Terauds of North Branch, MI.  Marina Terauds utilizes the printmaking techniques of etching, mezzotint, aquatint and drypoint to create intricate and beautiful works.  I loved the way she uses chine colle to make her work shine and the details in some of the nature inspired pieces.  She has a wonderful style of mixing fantasy with nature to create scenes that could have come straight from a dream world.  If you'd like to see what I mean, check out her websites,  www.marinaterauds.com and www.studioterauds.com
I also really enjoyed the linocuts and woodcuts of artist Kreg Yingst.  His music inspired creations included great artists from the blues, jazz and rock and roll legends.  He also displayed a whole series of prints based on songs and song lyrics.  My favorite piece was a portrait of John Lennon with a peace sign superimposed and the word "imagine" spelled out in scrabble tiles on the frame.  You can check out his online galleries here,  www.kregyingst.com.
I think one of the more unusual and creative booths had to be David Burton's booth.  He combines toys we all can remember from childhood to create intricate and whimsical pieces of mixed media art.  I recognized many Star Wars action figures I had as a child as well as popular figures such as Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.  He paints the whole scene black to bind the figures and background together and tell a whole new story with them.

Fairgoers enjoying the detailed work of David Burton
You really could get lost in his work for quite some time as you remember the different characters and think about them combined in this slightly twisted way!  Here is David Burton's online gallery,  www.davidburtonartwork.com.

I enjoy all the art at the Art Fair but what really inspires me most is seeing the work of all the different jewelry designers on display.  I loved Kristin and Eric Wornson's beautiful little pendants that contained real pressed flowers, www.skippinglilies.com.  I also liked the jewelry of Jaana Mattson.  She uses soldered glass tiles to showcase natural and vintage materials.  She had a series that encases bird feathers in glass, many of which I recognized from my own birds.  You can check out her Applied Arts Studio here, www.AppliedArtsStudio.com.  My favorite find of the day was from Mary DeMarco, La Contessa.  Her nature inspired work is fun and whimsical, with a bit of glamour and glitz thrown in.  I just couldn't resist this beautiful sea creature bracelet!  My dad surprised me with it as a gift- thank you Dad!

My new sea creatures bracelet by Mary DeMarco, La Contessa
She had another series of designs featuring squirrels and acorns...too adorable!  Check out Mary's work online here, www.lacontessa.com.

I hope you enjoyed my overview of the Plaza Art Fair.  If you are ever in Kansas City in September you really should come check out the fair.  The Plaza is a great place to visit even without the fair but this event really makes it worth a trip! 

One of the Plaza's resident statues, with a view of the fair behind it.

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