Artscape Fall & Winter 2015 - 2016 Exhibition Artist Biographies
Nicole Agee is an artist and painter who currently lives in Murrieta, CA. She was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia and grew up in Europe and the US. She received her BA in Liberal Arts from Columbia College in Chicago. Nicole and her husband, their two daughters and dog Sparkles moved to Riverside County in 2003. As a child, Nicole began creating art from the backseat of her family’s car while traveling and camping through the European countryside. Coming from a military family, she moved frequently and often used art and drawing as a way to stay grounded and document her experiences. Her paintings focus on themes of the environment, our modern identity and the intangible elements around us. Deconstructing forms and rebuilding again is an important part of her creative process where she can mine for hidden shapes and narratives. Painting is visual construction and Nicole builds her works using a framework of impressions and intuitive relationships.
Gladis Alejandra is a painter who was born and raised in Southern California. She has been creating art since she was in elementary school. Now Galdis has a BA in Art and is currently showcasing her work throughout Southern California. She has exhibited at the Latino Art Museum in Long Beach and Pomona, Santa Paula Museum in Santa Paula and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Gladis’ main objective as a Chicano artist is to promote and cultivate the importance of higher education, art and the importance of keeping traditions alive.
Jean Armodt is a classical oil portrait artist who has lived in Riverside County since 2003. She started drawing when she was a small child, starting out drawing horses and progressing to people. Jean explains that painting people is her passion and that she has studied all of the masters, especially William-Adolphe Bouguereau (her favorite classical artist), Ingress, Sargent and Van Dyke. “I admit my painting at first left something to be desired,” she says. “But after much practice, I've been painting for the last 20 years. It's always thrilling to experience the moment a painting takes on a life of its own. Each element in my painting must be in perfect harmony with the overall composition for me to consider it successful.” Her paintings have been exhibited in the Idyllwild Art Alliance Art Show, San Diego Portrait Society and Hemet Valley Art Association. For more information, visit artbyamodt.com.
Latonja Davis-Benson is a mixed media painter and assemblage artist who was born in Beaumont, Texas. She moved to California with her family at the age of 12. Although Latonja’s talent began to bloom while in her pre-teen years, moving to California and attending school opened new avenues to interesting ideas and processes that would later shape her artistic ingenuity. She has shown her work in numerous private and public venues throughout Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles, and much of her artwork lives in the homes or companies of her collectors. Latonja has earned both Bachelors and Masters of Art degrees. She is accomplishing what she loves...showing her artwork and teaching art. Latonja has also recently starting a sip and paint business called PaintHiveStudio.com (based in the Inland Empire) which allows the opportunity to encourage artistic expression on a fun, social level. Latonja’s focus is on taking risks as she explores new and/or uncommon processes that will enhance her artistic style. Her mission is to exhibit her works of art beyond geographical boundaries and to teach others expression through the arts. For more information, visit LatonjaFineArt.com
Fryda Fernandez is a multi-media artist who was born in Chiapas, Mexico. She discovered her passion for drawing at an early age, when she was able to hold a pencil. After graduating from Fashion Design Center as a Fashion Designer/Coordinator and as an Artist at the University of Arts, Fryda embarked on a journey of self discovery. She has travelled extensively for the past fifteen years, living and working in several cities in Mexico and United States. Her most cherished possessions are the memories she collected along the way, including many spontaneous travels to small towns in Mexico, and meeting an extensive and diverse range of people along the way. Fryda lives in Riverside, where her studio and home are open to the public. In this tranquil environment, she creates and shares her unique view of the world through paint, canvas and pallet knives, brushes and many other art media.
Paula Gray is a photographer, oil painter, mixed-media and embroidery artist. She was born in Texas and strongly influenced by family trips traveling the Western States. The family finally settled in California. She relocated to the Inland Empire city of Temecula nearly 3 years ago. Paula has been using the camera since age 10. At the age of 59, Paula was given a gift of an oil painting class. A newfound passion for creativity led her to explore various media. She interrupts her creative pursuits to assist clients who buy/sell homes and insurance. She spent the majority of her work experience in high-tech companies traveling to over 40 countries. Paula's work has been displayed at Lorimar Loft (downtown Temecula). Her oil paintings and commission pieces are in private collections in Hawaii, California and Arizona. Giclees (and hand finished mixed media) paintings are available by special order. Paula is also an Associate Artist and Board Member of the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony.
Mary MacNaughton studied printmaking with Denise Kraemer in Riverside and Ron Pokrasso in Santa Fe, NM. She is a Professor of Art History at Scripps, where she teaches courses in 19thand 20thcentury European and American Art. She has exhibited her work at Division 9 Gallery and the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College.
Michael Mazgai is a Riverside photographer who uses his camera to capture his own unique vision of the world. He is a native of California, growing up in Salinas near San Francisco and moving to Riverside thirteen years ago where he enjoys the beauty of its historical neighborhoods. Michael’s interests include historic preservation, gardening, interior design, fine arts, California history, Mediterranean cuisine, basketball and travel. He is a member of the Redlands Art Association (RAA), Riverside Art Museum (RAM) & Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA). He is a past member of the Corona Art Association (CAA) & Chaffey College Art Association (CCAA).
Donna Morin is a longtime painter and more recently a printmaker. She was born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1939 and was raised in San Jose, California. Donna has lived in the Inland Empire since 1964. As a young girl, Donna attended Catholic schools and the all-girl Notre Dame High School in San Jose. After graduating from high school there seemed few future options for girls, and while she wanted to study art, how to make that happen would not be one of the choices. Donna then married and created a busy family life full of creative holiday activities, cooking and gardening. Although this was a family time, each semester she enrolled in classes one at a time. Finally, after 25 years she completed her BA in painting at Cal State San Bernardino. With children grown and suddenly alone, Donna continued her education at Claremont, receiving a MFA in painting in 1988. Teaching at the college level followed, along with a stint at LACMA in the museum bookshop, as well as retail at Geary’s in Beverly Hills. With a retail and teaching schedule between Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, Donna retired in 2012. She opened DM Studio in Laguna Beach where for two years she had a painting showcase of her work and that of others. With her studio closed as of April 2015, she is now painting full time, has an archiving assistant and is looking towards developing a catalogue commemorating her art journey. Her paintings and drawings continue to be shown throughout the United States. She has received prizes and press, and been included in various collections, most recently The San Bernardino County Superior Court Collection.
r. mike nichols was born in Long Beach, raised in La Mirada and always knew he would grow up to be an artist. Having this goal from a very young age worked to ground him and give him direction throughout his teenage years and post high school. mike received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and a Masters Degree in Art from California State University, Long Beach. He spent many years creating illustrations for magazines, card companies, design firms and a non-profit musical theatre group. In 2008 mike decided to devote himself to his art full-time. His devotion has earned him Signature Membership with the San Diego Watercolor Society and Watercolor West. mike also has an Artist level membership with the prestigious California Art Club (est. 1909). Membership is granted by a panel of artists who annually review artist submissions from the numerous candidates. mike recently began entering shows outside the United States; to date his art has traveled to International Shows in Belgium, Greece, Italy and China. His watercolors have also been published in Splash 14, Splash 16 and Splash 17 (Publication 2016). In addition, his work in acrylics was accepted into The Best of AcrylicWorks 2 and The Best of AcrylicWorks 3 (Publication 2016).
Carlos Puma is a photographer who has been providing storytelling images for a wide range of clients for over a decade. He has made his passion for photography his career, with more than 30 years of experience. Carlos was a photographer for the United States Navy and has a journalism degree with a concentration in photojournalism from Long Beach State. He was an intern at the Los Angeles Times and Idaho Statesman, and has been the staff photographer and assistant photo editor at The Press-Enterprise. Carlos is also a freelance photographer for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and The Center for Investigative Reporting, among many others.
Mark Schooley started his journey as an artist in the late 1960s. He has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally. In 1989 he was a founding member of the Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA), a non-profit community arts association and gallery located in downtown Riverside. He has overseen over 500 exhibits and programs as the Executive Director of the group. The main goal of RCAA is to foster support for artists in the Inland Empire. Mark’s art work has explored a wide range of avenues in the creation of his paintings. Over the last decade, much of his work has centered on his international travels working with Riverside’s sister cities. While working on cultural exchange programs in these cities he has created art related to his environments in these locations including Japan, China and Mexico.
Howard L. Smith is a photographic artist who was born and raised in Windsor, Connecticut and migrated to the Riverside County in 1994. Howard began taking photographs at the age of 10 and is currently working for Kaiser Permanente as a Senior Data Security Analyst while continuing to pursue photography. Howard has shown his work at the Stadsmuseum in Harderwijk, Holland, as well as in the United Kingdom. It has appeared in Camerapixo's international photo magazine, “Hot Shots” and Wild Planet Photo Magazine. He also has stock images with National Geographic. Howard is a member of the Camerpixo Pro Expert Team for Heller Publications and a founding member of the Inland Empire (IE) Photo Club. While a music major at the Hartford Conservatory of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, Howard continued to make photographs with the same passion and intensity as his music.
Sarah Smith studied printmaking with Denise Kraemer and Ron Pokrasso. She has exhibited her work at Riverside Community Arts Association gallery, Division 9 Gallery as well as the Riverside Art Museum (RAM). She was RAM’s featured member for the month of September 2015 in an exhibit that displays ten prints along with an audio and interactive educational component. Sarah’s work is also held in private collections.
Delia Vazquez is a multi-media artist that works with oil pastels, charcoals, inks, collages…any type of medium that she can think of. She was born and raised in the south Los Angeles area, moving to Riverside County in late 2007. From the time she was young she has been “drawn” to drawing and artistic inspirations. Delia participates at the Riverside Arts Walk as an independent artist in the Artist Vendor Lot. When she is not busy creating art work, Delia enjoys traveling, photography and hiking.
Kathy Wright is a printmaker who also enjoys watercolor and collage, sometimes combining all three in the creative process. She has been making art since retiring from a 37 year career in public education in 2008. Kathy has taken classes at UCR Extension, Riverside Art Museum and most extensively with Master Printmaker Denise Kraemer at Division 9 Gallery in Riverside. She credits Denise with helping her to realize “there are no mistakes in art” and for learning to expect the unexpected and to enjoy the surprises that often come with the printmaking process. Her work has been exhibited at Riverside Art Museum, Riverside Community Arts Association, RCC Forensics Club art exhibit, Summer Arts at Dos Lagos Juried Art Show and Division 9 Gallery. Kathy is a long-time Riverside resident, having moved here with her Air Force family in 1958. She and her husband Dwight Tate are involved in numerous nonprofit and civic groups in Riverside, particularly including arts organizations.