La Quinta Art Celebration
La Quinta Civic Center
La Quinta, California
November 10-13, 2022
Upon entering the grounds, visitors were immediately met with a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, styles, and tastes. Ranging from whimsical to sophisticated, displays included outdoor glass and ceramic sculptures, fine art oil paintings, artful handbags, kinetic sculptures, and much more. A Willy Wonka Factory, if you will, for eye candy fanatics.
Many of the works consisted of various mediums amalgamated in innovative ways, as was the case with Santa Cruz-based artist Geoffrey Nelson, whose multimedia figures seem to have flown in from realms that blurred boundaries between science fiction and fantasy. His angelic sculpture, Turks and Caicos, boasted a feminine body made from hydro-stone (a super fine plaster that hardens like stone,) that was then coated in caustic wax. Her intricate wings consisted of sea fan coral found on the beach, and her skirt was made of patina lead metal. A contrasting, sister companion to this was Nelson’s Ice Angel figure, made from synthetic materials such as epoxy resin and wings fashioned from cracked ice (a fancy term for deconstructed florescent diffusion panels normally found at construction outlets like Home Depot). Each of his sculptures embody entirely different combinations of materials, requiring their own mastery of skills and individual process.
Denver, CO-based Tate Hamilton, is an artist who won best of show in 2019, and it’s easy to see why. His booth this year displayed an array of masterfully rendered compositions in oil on canvas. Hamilton’s paintings pleasantly engage street scenes captured from life in New York and Paris, in which the candid movement of his subjects transports us back to the very moment of the artist’s inspired vision. Hamilton’s works may dreamily evoke the chattering of passersby near a quaint café, or the strums of a busker musician amid a bustling city square.
In keeping with Parisian influence, Polish photographer Angelika Ejtel (alias RapidHeartMovement), currently based in Dallas, Texas, offered tasteful, limited-edition prints subtly reminiscent of 1920’s boudoir photography. Ethereal portraits of females slowly emerging from slumber, or perhaps contemplating lost loves, allude to private moments of a distant past. A graduate of French and romance philology, Ejtel is passionate about conveying poetic sentiments through her imagery, which reads as both erotic and existential.
Many other works required less contemplation, arousing more of an immediate amused response, such as lounging, oversized frog sculptures and circus-themed totem poles, fitting for the festive occasion. Overall, the quality of fine art and fine craft on display was exceptional, and one can surmise that the roster of artists this year was discriminately selected.
Cover image: Cafe Napoli by Tate Hamilton; all images photographed by the author.