Artscape Fall & Winter 2018 - 2019 Exhibition Artist Biographies
Bassim Ayad is a painter who was born in a very small village at the heart of an ancient rural people in Upper Egypt, Al Tataleia. He currently resides in Corona, where he works on his paintings and teaches sketch classes through the Corona Arts Association. He dreams to one day have his artwork be known as well as the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali. Bassim admires abstract art, and uses his natural instincts in his work. He did not study fine art academically, but is self-taught from nature and life. Bassim studied civil engineering in school and worked construction in Dubai for many years, but since childhood he has never stopped painting.
Amilia Bray is a painter who was born and raised in the North Georgia mountains and moved to Riverside County last summer. Amilia has been creating art since grade school but stopped for many years because life got in the way. Now back to painting, she paints mainly in acrylic, watercolor and gouache but dabbles in oils as well when she has the patience. She is inspired to paint by the nature that surrounds her, as well as the wide, expansive skies and sunsets. Amilia has shown her work at Legato Studios in exhibits with Parvez Imagery, Beyond the Lines Gallery, Art Share LA, Heaven on Earth in an exhibit with artist Zara David, and the Noho art walk. She enjoys hiking and taking her own reference photos, and would like to follow her artwork as far as it can go.
Rick Christie is a painter, potter, collage artist and photographer. Up until 2015 he taught ceramics and art at La Familia High School in Thermal. Rick's mother was also an artist who encouraged and inspired him since he was a child. He studied Ceramics and Art at the University of Redlands, California State University, Long Beach and the College of the Desert. He has shown his work in numerous venues including the Palm Springs Art Museum, Desert Art Center, Palm Springs City Hall, CalSTRS corporate office in Sacramento, and La Casa Del Atrio in Querétaro, Mexico. Now that he is retired, he spends much of his time in one studio or another, playing with clay, paints, collage materials or photography.
Annie Gibson is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Vacaville, California. She currently attends California Baptist University, having come to Riverside in 2015. Annie has been creating art from the time she was 11. She has previously shown her work at the Vacaville Art League and Gallery, and has been selling her artwork since she was 17 years old. Annie works at CBU's Wallace Theatre, and hopes to become a set designer and actress in the future. She plans to go to graduate school for acting so she can have the option to teach at a collegiate level while having the opportunity to collaborate with other designers. Currently, she paints sets, helping to accomplish the artistic vision of the lead designers Lee Lyons, Dan Robinson and Garret Replogle.
Ana Guerra is a painter and sculptor who was born and raised in Puerto Rico who came to the United States at the age of 12 with her family. Ana moved to Riverside County in 2004 and has been creating art for the last 14 years after retiring from the real estate business. Ana continues to attend art classes every chance she gets to try to stay current and learn how to continue to improve her work. She has shown her work through several art associations in the area, as well as the Olde Ramona Hotel Gallery and the Santa Rosa Plateau. She sells her work online and from her home studio. Ana also enjoys gardening and taking care of her flowers and roses, which she then paints in her still lifes. Ana’s goals are to stay healthy and to continue to provide affordable art to the community and others throughout the United States.
Terry Hastings is a photographer who was born in Minnesota and moved to Palm Springs 9 years ago. He was born an artist. When he was 4, he came down the stairs with an encyclopedia opened to a page with music notes on them and asked his mother what they sounded like, which led to his parents buying him a piano and getting him lessons. His interest evolved and he ended up with drumming, voice for choir, painting lessons and more. Terry opened “Identity Fashions,” a custom-designed clothing store in Minneapolis with then partner and designer Yani Santos. Terry created and maintained the website and took the promotional photographs. Since moving to Palm Springs, Terry has concentrated on working outdoors - the desert sand, rocks and pools have caught his attention the most. Terry has shown in many galleries around the Coachella Valley, including the Palm Springs Art Museum. Terry's work has also been shown in Minneapolis and Provincetown, and many galleries and museums across the country. Terry is the president-elect of the Palm Springs Art Museum Artists Council.
Rafael Hernandez is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Moreno Valley. Rafael has been creating art since he was 16 and is currently working on getting into a graduate program in art history, where he wishes to specialize in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican art and its influence on post-Colonial and Chicano art.
Neil Jenkins is an artist who works in pastels, acrylics and watercolors. He was born in Wales, UK and has lived all over the world. In 2011, he moved to Idyllwild with his wife Donna, who has been rock climbing in the area since the 1970s. Neil has been creating art since 2007. His work can be seen at several locations in Idyllwild and at exhibitions throughout Southern California. Neil has shown his work at the Art Alliance of Idyllwild shows, Idyllwild Art in the Park, La Casita, Higher Grounds and Middleridge Galleries. Neil chose Idyllwild to live to take advantage of the rock climbing and hiking so popular in the area. When he is not painting in his studio, you will be able to find him hanging off a rock face or climbing a peak gathering inspiration for his next work of art.
Eric Johnson works in his studios in both California and Arizona under “Designs by Eric.” Eric has been painting since the age of 15, working mainly with acrylics. His acrylic paintings incorporate the real and the imaginary, infused in a spontaneous wash of vibrant color. He uses an airbrush technique to bring out delicate details. Eric refers to his art as abstract romanticism; being part of a specific matter with a romantic spirit or style. Most of his paintings have this abstract, romantic and some a humorous expression. Eric later began experimenting with epoxy resins, challenging himself creatively. The techniques of applied resin over texture and sculpture have produced three dimensional artworks that are rich with reality. Whether he's using acrylic paint or polymer resin, the main emphasis is creating an atmosphere which will invite the viewer into a world of visual storytelling.
Gwen Melby is a printmaker and mixed media artist, born and raised in Morris, Illinois, who moved to Riverside County in 1976. After many years of enjoying art museums and galleries, Gwen began to explore making her own art. She joined the 52 Project at the Riverside Art Museum and began taking classes and workshops just before she retired as an educator in the Alvord Unified School District. Gwen has taken workshops with Chick Curtis, Adeola Davies-Aiyeloja and Denise Kraemer, and she fell in love with printmaking, especially monoprinting. Gwen has shown her work at the Riverside Art Museum and the Riverside Community Arts Association. She is actively involved with the Print Media Collective at the Riverside Art Museum, the Riverside Community Arts Association, and ongoing printmaking workshops at Division 9 Gallery.
Alfonso Martinez Mendez was born in Mexico City and received his early education in various places in Mexico. He learned to appreciate nature’s solitude and beauty in his grandmother’s garden and nearby woods. He nurtured a deep love of learning, writing and drawing and fought to attend school despite economic pressures. After a three-week long entrance exam, he was admitted to the prestigious art school La Esmeralda in Mexico City, where he studied under several well-known artists. Despite family demands, since he was already married and the father of three young children, he completed his studies. He then went on to work as an illustrator in the Mexican comic book industry and successfully participated in various art competitions in Mexico. In 2007, after 31 years in the field of comic book design, he took what was to be a short trip to the US to visit his daughter. To his surprise, he fell in love with California, so he decided to stay. One of his reasons for staying is that he feels that opportunities for artists in the US are nearly limitless. He is currently dedicating his time to the large abstract paintings he has always wanted to explore. He is delighted to be a member of the San Bernardino and Riverside Art Associations, and proud to have helped restore the building that now houses the gallery they share with the National Orange Show. Five of his murals grace the walls of the Inland Career Education Center in San Bernardino. Alfonso is married and renovating a 1928 house in San Bernardino. His hobbies are photography and guitar.
Michael Micalizzi was born in Italy in 1932 and will be 85 years old in December. He came to the US in 1956 and retired in 2002 from his lifelong work as a researcher, first in plastics later in pharmaceuticals. After retiring, Michael began traveling extensively to Italy, France, Brazil, Chile, Switzerland, Western Mexico, most Caribbean Islands, most Hawaiian Islands as well as all of the United States. On his travels he took a lot of pictures. At 80, Michael began to feel his age, noticing aches and pain that he never noticed before. At this point, he didn’t know what he was going to do anymore, until he remembered that when he was young he wanted to be a painter. His dream of becoming a painter never went anywhere because his parents did not support that as a career. Michael decided that now would be a good time for him to pick up painting again. He knew that for subjects he could go back the photographs that he took during his travels. Michael has just started looking into showing his work and the Artscape exhibition in the Fall and Winter of 2017/18 was his debut exhibit.
Diane Morgan is an award-winning artist who works in both watercolor and oil. She was born in Detroit and escaped to the beautiful Coachella Valley in 1988. Diane graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in painting. She worked in advertising for 20 years and managed the public art program for the City of Palm Springs for 11 years. She has been painting full-time and teaching art for the past 10 years. Her work has been featured in American Art Collector, Southwest Art, American Artist, Artist Magazine, Watercolor Artist and the Art of Watercolor. She has received many awards for her work including a ten-page feature article in International Artist Magazine, Poster Artist and Best Local Artist from the Indian Wells Arts Festival, among many other publications and traveling exhibition awards. She was also awarded a mural project for City of Palm Desert’s Art in Public Places program.
Kamelyta Noor is an abstract and modern artist, born in Malaysia but has called Moreno Valley her home since 1998. Kamelyta has always had an eye for color and color combinations. She loves experimenting with bright, contrasting colors. Throughout her life, her passion for color have been expressed in her unique fashion style. Kamelyta has only recently discovered her talent for painting by experimenting with acrylic on canvas and paper. She loves bright colors and color combinations, and is drawn and moved by the emotions that colors can evoke. Kamelyta's art is currently on display at the City of Moreno Valley council chamber and public library. She has also participated in City of San Bernardino ArtFest in March 2018. Three of her pieces were featured in online art galleries on Instagram. She has donated several pieces to charitable organizations. When she is not painting, you can find her hitting the heavy bags at a boxing club, or cooking spicy food. Kamelyta has two children, who she admits keep her prisoner in the kitchen.
Sandip Pandya is an Indian Contemporary Modern artist. He grew up in the heritage city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. Over the last 20 years he has travelled and painted extensively in the U.S. and India. Sourcing inspiration from within, he dives into his contemporary, modern world, articulating his adventures with undulating colors, shapes and patterns. A studio based artist, he works primarily with oil on canvas and metal, in which his labor-intensive and intuitive process produces brightly colored, sometimes tactile paintings that can also be sculptural. Oils prepared studiously before their application, by combining a number of paints, are carefully applied in a practice governed by abstract rules and introspective negotiations. Avoiding prior digital sketches, Sandip relies on quick decisions and instinct. The process is a balance between physical motor skills and mental power, in which the brush becomes more than a tool, but an extension of his body that is intuitively guided by the beat of his heart, as well as the quiet melody in his head.
Mary Lou Wallace’s story is one of her deep interest in all areas of creativity. She was raised in Phoenix, Arizona and has a college background of art and education and enjoyed four years as an art teacher in Scottsdale, Arizona. After relocating with her family to Corona, she spent an additional 32 years of using her creativity in elementary teaching. Mary Lou also spent 11 fulfilling years of that same time as designer and editor of an award winning monthly newspaper for the local teachers’ association. Finally, with retirement, Mary Lou now has the opportunity to explore the magic of developing her drawing talent into finished watercolor and oil paintings. Mary Lou’s work is now being exhibited and sold throughout Riverside, Redlands and Corona at various venues. She is also now serving as Co-President of the Corona Art Association.