2023 Blu Sky Artist Award Winner and Finalists

After retiring from my gallery, I was in a dry space, and I couldn't get inspired to paint. I ran across photographs I took in 2011 at a car show in downtown Longview, and there it was! At the time I took the photos they did not interest me, but creativity changes with time. I love reflections and painting metal, so this was perfect. While I have usually worked with the human figure, the car series was a welcome change. Although I work in most of the two-dimensional mediums, I have used acrylic on canvas for my series of Car Show. I focus on the distorted reflections caused by the curve of the surface which create an abstract quality to the images. As I did the drawings, I discovered all kinds of little surprises in the reflections that I didn’t notice at first glance. I hope the viewer is drawn in to take a closer look at all the smaller elements and my discoveries as I created these. Cars have little to do with my paintings, they are simply vehicles to portray what is happening on their surface.

Aarti Gupta Bhadauria is an Indian sculptor from Bangalore who creates sculptures in terracotta medium. She completed “Bachelor of Fine Arts” with a specialization in sculptures in the year 2004 from Gwalior, India. Aarti has so far exhibited her art at many national and international platforms where she has received appreciation, honors and awards from distinguished connoisseurs. Till now Aarti’s sculpture has been mainly exhibited at Garrison Art Center New York, Bharat Bhavan Bhopal, Jawahar Kala Kendra Jaipur, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Mumbai, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath Bangalore, Art Houz Bangalore, Durbar Hall Gallery Kochi and many reputed online platforms. Her sculptures are rhythmic, abstract, and reflective waves of feelings and emotions in various forms. Sculpting and contouring bends and shadows and ever-changing curves and profiles with each slight turn to view. Her sculptures are aerial, without any armature and handmade. Crafting artistic sculptures is not an easy task. It is actually an abstract art in which the artist does not have a fixed model in front of her, but she has to shape her feelings and emotions imaginatively. This is the reason why it takes up to six months to prepare each sculpture. That’s why Aarti’s artwork reflects her thoughts, attitudes, feelings and skills. Sculptures are unique in that they present different images when viewed from different angles. It does not have to be kept upside-down, even if it is kept, it attracts from every angle. Aarti is an artist of Fine Art, sculpture, in the media of clay/terracotta. One can see the time, the eye, the hand of Aarti in every works of her, without seeing her name. She wanted to do something different in life, so she decided to choose her own destination, and started working in terracotta medium. Terracotta is one of the ancient mediums, she adopted it to propagate it along with modern ideas. She wants to be recognized by her terracotta sculptures; this is her wish. She has full faith that she will reach her destination with the blessings of God and connoisseurs of art.

Athanasia Karatza (b. 1994, Athens) Member of the Club for UNESCO Art- Literature and Science of Greece Studied Advanced Level in Painting, Borgias Fine Art, Culture and Design (2016) Studied orthodox iconography under N. Kalambokis (2016) Studied under Mariela Constadinidis (2012) In nature, even a small change provokes a number of consequences as everything is connected to everything else. The effects spread everywhere, from the surface to the core of the ecosystem and we face the consequences of a phenomenon taking place far from us. This fragile balance and complex interconnection is an inspiration to create works where fragile lines and forms are linked delicately to each other inviting the eye to search beyond the boundaries of the surface.

I try to promote a reflection on the reuse of decontextualized excerpts from its original proposal. Through the paper collage technique, I propose the regeneration of clippings from discarded magazines by contextualizing them in new spaces and contexts applying marketing fundamentals in the amalgamation of conceptions from the fashion industry, design principles and urban life style. The artworks contemplate the semantics of reuse by inserting clippings into new concepts of unity and artistic expressions.

Kris Davis is a mixed media artist who has developed innovative techniques in pastel, acrylic collage, and abstraction to create works that capture unique textures and details. Her works layer colors and textures and use organic forms to highlight nuances in variation and shading. She studied art at Georgia State University, and her work has been exhibited in numerous shows across the Southeast. She lives in Macon, Georgia. In her art, Kris wants viewers to see shapes and forms from a distance and then examine more closely to discover the complex layers and textures revealed beneath the surface. She uses layers of color, pattern, media, and texture to reflect the composite expression of experience, emotion, and memory.

Gabrielle Shamon is a 27-year-old photographer born in Chicago, USA. Her family relocated to Hong Kong in late 1996, where she lived for 16 years. Being of Chinese, Filipino, Irish and Lebanese-Syrian descent, Gabrielle’s upbringing was rich in its blend of multicultural influences, and morally complex as an expatriate living a sheltered life in Southeast Asia. Her latest photo series, titled Permanent Resident, explores these concepts of home and grief through film photographs shot and developed in Hong Kong. Gabrielle began her journey as a photographer at 12 years old. Her work appeared in its first publication in the South China Morning Post, when she was 15. Gabrielle would secure her first local magazine cover one year later. In 2013, she relocated to America full-time for school, and her photography and post-production work has appeared in numerous nationwide advertisements and publications including PAPER, Gay Times and Refinery29.

My art takes a trip through mental health, being true to oneself, coming alive and spiritual growth. The colours I use are often symbolic of a feeling or part of a story at large. Each piece is Titled and part of a collection.

Kelsy Renee Schumacher has invariably expressed herself through creativity. Her passion for colour, design and authenticity are congruent with her personality. She now resides in Abbotsford, BC with her high school sweetheart and their four fantastic kids. Kelsy grew up sketching, creating collages, taking photos, making braided jewellery and painting. Once entering motherhood, her creativity only grew. She took Acrylics 101 at UofS where her final was one of the chosen to be shown in the university gallery for a 3-month term. She turned to fibre art as a new way of expressing herself. She’s been honing her fibre art style, developing her own voice/brand and scaling her small art business for 3+ years now. At the beginning of 2023 her most beloved ‘Honeycomb’ was selected to be a part of the ‘Women in Art’ Exhibition at the Kariton Art Gallery. In June a handful of her tapestries were accepted into ‘The Great Escape’ Exhibition at the Gallery George in Vancouver. Find inspiration and spirit woven through each uniquely designed fibre art piece.

Heidi Brueckner is a Professor of Art at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA where she has taught for over 23 years. She holds a BA in Art and a BA in Art History from University of CA, Santa Cruz; and an MFA in Painting from University of Kansas. In 2020-21, Brueckner won 12 first place awards, which included the Italian International Prisma Prize and the Faber Birren Color Award. She was also a finalist for the 2022 7th Edition Boynes Artist Award. During the last few years, she has participated in over 100 group shows and has had 15 solo and small group exhibits. Her work has been written about in publications and online art sources such as Art Seen Magazine, All She Makes Magazine, Visionary Art Collective, Create! Magazine, The Huts Magazine, ILikeYourWorkPodcast.com, GearBoxGallery.com, 48 Hills News, NotRealArt.com, Suboart Magazine, The Pacific Sun, and The Vassar Review. Solo exhibitions in 2023 25 include; Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, MD; Crary Gallery in Warren, PA; Grants Pass Art Museum in Grants Pass, OR; Dalton Gallery in Rock Hill, SC; and Thelma Sadoff Arts Center in Fond du Lac, WI. In August 2023, she will attend the Wildacres Residency in NC. Her work at its core is about humankind’s understanding of itself, studying human nature, and it’s relationship to storytelling. Each mixed media painting is an individualistic narrative which explores personage through self-presentation, facial expressions, and gesture. The works often inspect the under-revered, and appreciate the subject’s presence and dignity, giving pause to honor the person. With some of the works, Brueckner has been experimenting with texture and the physical quality of the surface through using alternative recycled materials such as pieced-together bubble mailers and paper bags. These substrates add a uniquely interesting and environmentally friendly component to the work.

I am an Iranian visual artist currently living and working in Brussels. I am enthusiast about the colors, motions, nature, lights and the social and political events in my country (Iran). I am actively producing my original artworks expressing my feelings and experiences using different shades of colors. To reach the abstract form, I uses the delicacy of the painting or of the Persian miniature in my works. I graduated from Brera Academy in Milan (Italy) with a 1st class degree in Visual art, I studied BA and MA in painting graduated in 2016 and in 2018, respectively. I have been part of some artistic programs, for example has been selected and could participate in Biennale Venice in students’ section in 2016. About the first painting: Whispers Acrylic on canvas: Size 100H x 140W cm Collection: Silence & Hope The asterisks with trailing lines are the result of destruction, but they mesmerize the eyes and create beauty. These stars disappear in the black nights and create an ambiguous and indescribable feeling in the viewer. A feeling that is unique and irreplicable…! this painting in this collection is reminiscent of the radiance of a star in my collective life. That is a reflection of my experiences and emotions during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty in my home country in 2009, following the disputed presidential election and subsequent widespread protests and unrest throughout the country. The government’s brutal crackdown on dissenters led to a period of fear and intimidation, causing many Iranians to be silenced. The paintings in this collection reflect my own feelings during this tumultuous time, with its many ups and downs. This collection is a narrative of the sky of Iran and it’s starts and I tried to have the delicacy of the Iranian Miniature art in their lines. this work is done in Belgium. 2022 About the second painting: “Enthusiasm” is showing me, there exist reasons to live, to fight to overcome difficulties we face every day. They may be simple or complicated. Having enthusiasm gives the heat to continue furtherly. I believe this is an enthusiasm that gives a meaning to one’s life. I use colors as means of interpreting thoughts commuting my mind for communication. my source is the nature, light and pure feelings. This artwork shows the enthusiasm with such configuration and with lots of internal movements is alive and sours around. About the third painting: Infinity Collection: Silence & Hope Acrylic on cardboard Size 29.7H x 63W (Multiple frames)

Irina is a plastic artist who masters the techniques of oil, watercolor, pastels and acrylics. Since her childhood she liked to draw, like most children, and thanks to one of the best European art schools her talent flourished. A few years ago Irina moved to Mexico, where she received a new breath of air and thanks to her talent she created many works, she participated and continues to be partaking in different competitions. Her works are being exhibited in national and international galleries. Irina opened her own art school. The source of her inspiration is the reality of the world around her, she is attracted to the beauty that hides in plain sight, she tries to find it and turn it into a beautiful painting, sharing it with the world. She does portraits, landscapes, still life, human figure, animals in realism and impressionism style and abstract art.

Making the blank paper speak Ulla Hasen´s visual worlds try to sound out the deeper roots of language. For in the beginning there was not the Word, but patterns and gestures that must be deciphered to find one’s way as an individual in the world and to assert oneself. Her work is therefore based on the assumption that patterns and gestures – despite all cultural differentiation – are readable in basic features because they are inscribed in our biological system. She starts paintings without intention and observes what is happening in front of her until the white surface with traces of color begins to speak to her. She is driven by curiosity as to what will unfold before her eyes this time, as the “first reader”, so to speak, and by the hope that other people will find their way into the narrative stream of the picture, each with their own background of experience. She understands her pictures – just like language in its poetic dimension – as resonance spaces. Therefore, they usually have no title, because they do not want to explain themselves, but in their openness to meaning invite to feel what energies and memories are inherent to the colors and shapes, and perhaps to translate this into one´s own verbal language. BIO Born in 1966 in the south of Vienna, Austria, Ulla Hasen grew up standing behind her grandfather watching him painting naturalistic landscapes. Nevertheless, for her drawing and painting never seemed an option due to the lack of ideas what to depict. She studied landscape ecology and works in the field of sustainable development. But accompanying her studies in natural sciences she very much enjoyed attending lectures on history of arts and philosophy. She started painting only after having gained distance to the idea of depicting something given. Music and rhythms flow strongly into what she does. Up to date she had eight solo exhibitions in Austria and participated in more than 60 group exhibitions in Austria and internationally.