Redstone Art Fair starts Saturday
July 26, 2011
Moab-based jewelry artist Wendy Newman and Midway photographer Willie Holdman love their jobs.
They both create art and they both like seeing the joy their works bring to people’s lives.
Newman and Holdman will be among the many artists who will be exhibiting and selling their pieces at the second annual Redstone Art Fair on July 30 and 31 at Redstone Center at Kimball Junction.
The Park Record caught up with these two artists to talk about their respective livelihoods.
Newman wanted to be a graphic designer when she entered Virginia Commonwealth University, but emerged with a major in jewelry design.
Recommended Stories For You
"I was taken with the small scale and the whole idea of portable art," Newman said during a phone call while on her way home from an art show in Salem, Ore. "I liked the idea that people could wear the art and take it with them wherever they went."
Newman started her career with sterling silver.
"Back then, silver was really the only metal we could work with because gold was considered an elitist metal, and not readily available," she said. "When I got out of college, I apprenticed under a master goldsmith, and that made me fall in love with gold as a metal. Now, I work with sterling, add gold accents and some cuts of a lot of colored stones."
Working with stones was a natural choice for Newman who was a self-proclaimed "rock hound" while a child.
"I would collect all these stones and was fascinated with fossils, but I didn’t start working with colored stones as a medium until I was older and learned to cut them," she said.
Working on such small pieces proves to be challenging for Newman.
"I also work with very small drill bits and the jeweler saw blades I use have teeth you can’t see with the naked eye," she said. "There is a lot of detail and at my age, the secret is magnification.
"I think I demand more of my eyesight than a normal person would, so I work with progressive lenses and surgical scopes, like what a dentist would use," she said. "Sometimes I use an optivisor (a magnification device that is worn around the head) and work with surgical goggles, because the scale is a lot like surgery when you are working with that type of precision."
The whole process isn’t just limited to miniature work, Newman said.
"I went to Barcelona and took my sketchbook and did pages and pages of drawings and then I returned to my studio and asked myself how are some of these sketches going to translate into something that is wearable and still get the aesthetic across," she said. "One I figured that out, I scaled the sketches down and made them into working drawings and worked from there."
Holdman was introduced to photography by his father.
"He took images for National Geographic and different clients," Holdman said. "He had a love for the outdoors as well, and while he did a little more commercial work than I have done, his true love was the outdoors. So that got into my blood early on."
Holdman graduated with a photography degree from Brigham Young University, but developed his style in the field, he said.
"I love to discover and explore and see things it a different way," he explained. "I always wanted to work for myself and never thought about working behind a desk, because I always wanted to be outside."
Holdman didn’t want to put any restrictions on himself so that he could be totally creative.
"I wanted to spend more time on nature-landscape photography," he said. "So that’s what I do, unless I’m photographing for a client’s specific needs, such as annual reports and brochures and things like that.
"I hope that vision carries on in my work and people can see things the way I do," he said.
The job comes with a misconception, Holdman said.
"People tell me I have the best job in the world because I just go to these great places and take pictures," he said. "I’m not going to deny that, because it is a great job, but at the same time there is a lot of physical stress. I get up at 3 a.m. to hike hard for a sunrise shot and then wind up coming back home at 11 p.m. or midnight after skipping dinner or breakfast.
"I don’t usually think about those things, because I’m focused on capturing the images," he said. "Then afterwards, when I’m in the car driving back to my studio, I realize how tired and hungry I am, but the truth is, I’d rather be crouched under a rock waiting for a storm to pass than sitting on the sofa watching ’24.’"
Holdman’s work is about visualizing the tones.
"I keep a log of where I want to be at a specific time, and I may return to a location up to five times to get the shot I want, just because the atmospheric conditions and lighting can change," he said. "There are a lot of times that I come back and look what I have and the images aren’t even close to what I thought I got.
"Sometimes things turn out better than expected. I will be looking for a grand vista shot and then see a grove of aspens where the light is just right and do a smaller, detailed show that is more powerful than my original plan."
Holdman’s focus has always been Utah, although he’s traveled to Tuscany, Nepal and Alaska.
"Utah is still my place," he said. "When I go south and visit a slot canyon that I’ve never been to before or go to the San Rafael Swell, I realize I need to do a lot more hiking and photographing before I die, because there is a lot out there just in Utah."
In 2007, Holdman published "Timpanogos," a book featuring his photographs of Mt. Timpanogos.
"Places like that are all over Utah, and, to me, are a lot more pretty than other places," he said.
The Second Annual Redstone Art Fair, featuring more than 150 local and national artists, will take place July 30 and 31 at the Redstone Center at Kimball Junction. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.