Human Interest

The Sedona Summer Arts Colony ended with a transient, collaborative show much in the spirit of the colony itself, seeing artists from multiple media collaborate to create a one-of-a-kind experience on Friday, Aug. 4.

The brainchild of the Sedona Arts Center’s Eric Holowacz and Verde Valley School’s Paul Amadio, the colony saw around 60 artists board at the school to collaborate and work on their own projects over the course of three weeks.

The colony’s last show was Friday, Aug. 4, featuring a digital projection on an inside wall of the school’s chapel. The ephemeral, kaleidoscopic patterns of color and shapes reacted to sound, whether it was beat-heavy music or shifting conversation.

The show’s creators, Ben Z. Cooper and Stuart J. Ward of Hfour, an experimental design studio based in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, spent a week at the colony.

They came out to renew their focus and work on this project.

“So often we’ll get so busy with everything and we’ll forget about the art,” Cooper said.

Cooper and Ward have worked together for the past four years, where their passion for technology and art merges in the interactive artworks and light and projection displays they create for their clients.

“We’ve been inspired by the local landscape and architecture,” Cooper said, especially the boarding school’s whitewashed buildings, which he said are “perfect for projection.” The images they projected in VVS’ chapel Friday night included glowing snippets of topographical maps of the Verde Valley, as well as geometric shapes inspired by the red rocks and desert verdant from monsoon rains.

Fellow colony residents came out to see the show, adding their own flavor by dancing and casting shadows on the projection. Inspired by the way the projection moved in time with the music, percussionist Skipper Kripitz brought out one of his drums to make a beat of his own that created a stuttering, trippy visualization of his art on the chapel wall.

Kripitz, who spent three weeks at the colony on his way from Key West, Fla., to California, brought along his own collection of percussion instruments to share, inspiring drum circles and impromptu lessons throughout his time in Sedona.

Such collaboration was common during the summer colony, which saw creative people of all types, from filmmakers to photographers and potters to painters, come together and share their work.

When the colony started last year, Holowacz and Amadio were both new in Sedona. They met for dinner and ended up discussing the possibility of collaborating on an artist colony while the school sat mostly vacant during the summer.

“We got really excited about the idea that the Southwest had nothing like the artist colonies we’d seen,” Amadio said. “It’s a place for them to come with no expectation except to be able to breathe and create and be inspired.”

As far as returning to their day-to-day lives, Cooper said he and Ward will be taking back elements of the landscape and colors to apply to their work in Vancouver.


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