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Eternal joy in the creator’s eye: Paseo Festival’s top artists on process, magic, peace, and meaning

by Patrick B. McGuigan

Senior Editor


(May 30, 2011) — Four artistic men who channel creativity through remarkably diverse media won top honors at this week’s Paseo Arts Festival.


Scott Gamble of Cumming, Georgia (near Atlanta), was named “Best of Show” in juried competition at the 2011 Paseo Arts Festival. Sunday evening (May 29) he told The City Sentinel about his passion for the complexities of glass blowing.


“What I most love is the process, the making of the glass, all the steps involved in getting it right,” he said. This was Gamble’s fourth year in the festival: “The Paseo Arts Festval has always been a good show for me, every year. I’m not that good at the selling part, but this show and these people are always good to me.”


Jim Richey of Alva, Oklahoma won the 2-D Artist category. After getting the designation during a reception for artists and Festival sponsors, he commented, “I am awed and humbled by this recognition. … I’ve done painting, drawing and photography. … For this show I decided to do all photographs, all black and white.


“The most gratifying thing for me is finding the photo, finding the picture. It’s almost like magic when that happens. Or, I could say it’s almost like stalking an animal. To seek, to pursue, then to have the light and the moment be just right. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s magical.”


Best New Artist honors went to Don Tran of St. Louis, for unique embroidered creations. The work is “a tradition for my family, passed down to me. … When I work, I am peaceful and calm. Sometimes it is much like meditation for me. Each stitch is its own work, by hand.”


Perhaps due to his 12 siblings (he is the youngest of 13), Tran is at ease in front of Festival crowds: “I find it is good to demonstrate the work I do to the visitors, so I sit in front of the booth and do that demonstration. I enjoy that but it is also to show the people … that it is a completely different medium than painting.”


Paseo Festival’s Best 3-D artist for 2011 was Bill Schlicker, from Seattle, Washington. He began and ended by expressing love for the sheer joy of his work, marveling, “This is what I love. I make bases. What I most enjoy? It is that I simply enjoy the stone, the variations of natural stone. Before I did this I was a rock and mineral collector.”


He explained, “I like function, functionality, so I make a lot of bases, then I do etching in the material.

I like to tell people that the eternal is in stone. It lasts forever.”


Batting clean-up in an efficient sequence of conversations with the quartet of artisans, Sclicker got the last word, “I kid that every piece I do comes with a million year warranty. I’ve painted and I’ve done pottery, but now I do this work in stone all the time. I love it.”


This 35th annual Paseo Arts Festival began Saturday. It continues today (Monday, May 30) through 6 p.m. in the Paseo Arts District in Oklahoma City.


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