Kelly Peters: Aspen, Colorado

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The mountains I paint are in response to my immediate surroundings and the spontaneity of paint pigments. Through this combination, I am able to create something in-between visual reality and what I envision in my mind. I live in Aspen, Colorado- a mountain town that many may consider a spot for celebrities, but I consider home. This place completely changed my painting style and what I considered to be the way I “needed” to paint. It’s been invigorating to let go of my own thoughts on how I needed to make art. Painting these mountains has been a return to my childhood in the sense that I am painting and drawing similar images. It’s wild to see that return in my art. These mountains in the Roaring Fork Valley are pure magic. They are the energy that inspired me to get outside and start painting in plein air. Reminding me that painting is a dance. The more I relax and let the music move me, the more I am able to find a flow with my painting style and let the energy emerge. I like to watch where my brush takes me on the canvas and be present. And the mountain landscape allows me to be present. It’s difficult to be present in this life. I find myself distracted constantly and painting is my way to find a flow state. I don’t know how long I will continue to paint the mountains- but when I move on to a new subject I will continue to search for the life and vibrance the mountains have brought to my life.  

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Stephen Lee: South LA

Portfolio

Cause: www.stand.la -- An environmental justice coalition of community groups that seeks to end neighborhood drilling to protect the health and safety of Angelenos on the front line of oil extraction.

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Jefferson and Budlong Ave. - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

Jefferson and Budlong Ave. - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

There’s an oil drill in my neighborhood. It’s been there for decades now, poorly hidden behind a vine-covered wall and some ugly topiary shrubs. In order to extract whatever oil remains these days, the drillsite owners have to pump a toxic cocktail of chemicals into a spiderweb of channels beneath my neighborhood--beneath homes, churches, and elementary schools. The chemicals find their way into the air and soil and water, and they make people sick. Nosebleeds or respiratory problems are common, and cancer and miscarriage rates are unusually high. Folks have banded together to protest this injustice, but response from the city has largely been indifferent. Progress is happening, but it’s been slow.

The Nature Garden - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

The Nature Garden - 11'' x 17'' - Digital 

I seek refuge from this urban sprawl at the Natural History Museum’s Nature Garden, just down the street. When I’m there, it feels like I’ve stepped backwards in time.The garden is filled with endemic trees and plants and insects, the kind that were common in Los Angeles before we paved it over. I sometimes wonder about what will happen in the future once the drill site is gone. I imagine the vacant lot being rewilded with native plants, an act of penance of sorts for what happened there. That’s my hope, anyway.

Yehuda Blum: Brooklyn

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NY Sea #1 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

NY Sea #1 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

Portfolio: yehudablum.wordpress.com

Cause: GreenWave is an ocean farmer and fisherman-run organization dedicated to building a new blue-green economy that creates jobs, mitigates climate change and grows healthy food for local communities.

In New York City, myriad systems and structures intermix in a stark, densely layered matrix which can alternately inspire wonder and anxiety & transcendence and horror. Infrastructure frames and divides the environment at every turn while nature whittles and erodes the built world. These drawings of the sea from behind a gate at Coney Island speak to this mitigated and mystifying local experience of our planet. 

I abstracted the gate, ocean, sand, rocks, sky, and a distant cargo ship into hazy black and white textural entities and movements which stand only as vague suggestions of the original objects. These partial signs coalesce to form indeterminate monolithic planes where every element is equivocated into the groundwork. Architectural delineation and organic movements interlock and lie together across these even fields as imprints of the fraught yet compelling vantage point on Earth particular to where I live.

NY Sea #2 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20''

NY Sea #2 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20''

NY Sea #3 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20'' 

NY Sea #3 - Charcoal on Paper - 16'' x 20''