Category: Sculpture

Annette Everett: Art Begins with Inspiration


Annette Everett is an accomplished sculptor and painter. Her primary work is sculpture. She studied art at BYU, the University of Utah, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. She also paints in pastel and oil, creating traditional and representational landscapes, portraits, and still life. She lives in St. George, Utah.


Describe yourself as an artist. I work in clay. With my hands in the clay, I feel a nourishing connection to the earth and to human understanding. My sculpture is considered traditional and representational, often symbolic. Common experiences of daily life interest me; I find beauty in simplicity; I find connection in the struggle to be better. I want to show that something that may be considered mundane is actually beautiful, essential. I want to show the outward image of inward experiences, expressed in human form. Like every artist, I strive to touch the emotions we have in common, inviting compassion and understanding.

The Church had a rich history of sculpture, then it didn’t for a long time, and now it seems to be on the rise again. How do you feel about art in the Church these days? Early in LDS Church history, artists were called on missions to Europe to learn; they then came home to express spiritual truths in symbolic ways for the Saints. Art is becoming recognized again as a way to explore spiritual concepts, and to touch hearts through the Spirit. I am excited to see a full range of artistic expression growing in the Church, from abstract and nonrepresentational through highly realistic. I cheer for the growing demand and supply of really good art within the Church.

You once said, “Art begins with inspiration, from inspiration to concept, to design, to creation, to presentation and then to home.” Explain. Art begins with INSPIRATION. What is the spark that catches our interest and how can I illustrate that spark? For me, I respond visually. For a writer, their response will be in words, for a musician – in music. Find your passion, and find a way to express it. This passion is the inspiration that will become a bridge of understanding. The greatness of feeling from the artist is the foundation for greatness in art. From that initial desire to express a spark of inspiration, we work out a CONCEPT that will show our idea. Using all the tools we have gathered in a lifetime – intuition, education, experience, talent and hard work, we DESIGN the concept we want to communicate. We now search for a way to show it in a concrete, visual way. This refers to using our skills and materials to organize various elements in order to communicate. And now, the CREATION. I put my hands into the clay to execute the inspiration, concept and design. I move the clay around until it pleases me. This is the work of art work. All the years of study, observation, and practice is concentrated into this time on this piece of art. Sometimes it works, sometimes it sits on a shelf until later. In order to express yourself artistically, and for that bridge to be built from your idea to their understanding, you need others to see your artwork. If you want your art to be seen, it must be PRESENTED in a way that will reach your audience. Some artists resist the business of art – art shows, competitions, galleries, prints and publications. But artists have families to feed, bills to pay, and materials to buy so their art can continue, so sales become an important consideration. How an artist balances creative vision and the real-world need to sell the art work has been the core of many a discussion. A sale is an effective way to judge the excellence or the acceptance of your work. Someone felt your emotion and matched it, and now, they want to spend money to take it home with them! This is a beautiful thing when it comes together. This changes lives. HOME is letting your inspiration and concept, your art piece, walk away from you and assume a life of its own. Visual art can be more than decoration. Art contributes to the quality of life. Great art has power to change, even to save – a life. Great art communicates to you not only its excellence, but it brings to mind and communicates to you, your memories, associations, emotions, and your passion, too.

What are you working on next? I am always in a debate about what to take all the way to bronze because it is an expensive process. I have many finished clay pieces that are “perking” on the shelf. I am actively sculpting a large bas relief about the Plan of Happiness. From the Savior, to Adam and Eve who opened the way for earthly mortality, to Priesthood functions that bring us full circle into the presence of the Savior again, I may be working on this one a while. Happily.

Visit Annette Everett’s website.


Jonathan Hoffman: Digital Art and Maquette Sculptures


Jonathan Hoffman is a talented sculptor and digital artist currently working as a Technical Director for Pixar. He graduated from the BYU Animation program and has worked on a number of Pixar projects including the film Up. He has worked with oil-based clay since he was seven or eight years old and does personal projects with maquette sculptures. He currently lives in Northern California.

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Describe yourself as an artist. This is a really hard question to answer. I’m still trying to find my style, still trying to find my audience, really. Most of my artwork is centered on the stories that I write. Creating art is part of creating a story for me – as I’m working, I’m thinking about the characters, about the world, weaving together the larger canvas of the story. My art comes out of a passion and drive to create, to make something that is purely my own. One of the things I struggle with is focus – I bounce between digital painting, sculpting, and writing – and my fear is that I haven’t progressed fast enough because I’m unwilling to hunker down with one discipline and really master it. I guess I’m too restless to just keep doing the same thing for too long, I crave variety.

What is a maquette sculptor? Historically, maquettes were made as a means to ‘mock up’ a character. In practical effects, they could make a maquette of something that would later be built to scale – or in sculpture an artist would make small wax maquette of what would later be a marble sculpture. At Pixar there are two full-time sculptors who make clay maquettes of our main characters, taking two-dimensional designs into three dimensions. Both are incredibly talented. They explore the characters and their facial expressions before these are built on the computer.

What is your role at Pixar? My role is a character shading technical director. That means I get a digital model after it’s been built by the modeling/rigging department, and it’s my job to take that basic 3D shape and paint on the details. I usually get a packet of reference images as well as a painted image showing me how the art department wants the character to look. My job involves painting details, like the freckles on someone’s face or the scales on a fish. I also have to define how reflective a surface is, how deep light penetrates beneath the surface, how minor details on the surface actually displace above or below the model itself. It’s sort of a handshake between coding and painting.

You once said, “I believe a story worth telling talks about human experience in a way that is edifying, where you learn something about life and the consequences of our actions and the potential man has for great good or great evil.” What are some of the aspects of the human experience that you like to address in your writing and art? In the article you reference, I was saying how I feel that fantasy and science fiction are an excellent medium for teaching us about the real world, specifically because they are set in an unfamiliar environment that isn’t loaded with our own preconceptions and prejudices. But, that said, my writing definitely falls into the category of escapist fiction – it’s primarily meant to be entertaining. I do try to craft my characters to be complex and believable, so when they’re thrown into horrible situations they respond in a way that shows human nature, good and bad. I learn about myself as I’m writing, and hopefully I can touch on themes that arise naturally from what happens in the story. I guess as a writer I’m especially cruel to my characters. It’s only when you really kick your main character to the curb that you get to watch them pick themselves up and keep going.

What are you working on next? I have been writing a series of novels since college. After pursuing a couple different story ideas, I’ve kind of returned to the story I wanted to write originally. I’m confident that this is the best draft I’ve created so far, but I’m still revising and improving it before I start sending it off to publishers. I’m also part of a writers group at Pixar who have been work-shopping parts of it with me, so that’s been very helpful. Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot more to getting published than simply writing. I counted up how much fiction I’ve written so far, and it’s a little under one and a half million words. Most of them are fairly awful – but the last 300,000 or so aren’t so bad. That’s how I feel about my art in general. Any of my work that looks good is a result of brute force, trying something eight hundred times until I finally sorta figure it out. Hopefully, one day, I can get published and my work can be enjoyed by a larger audience than my friends and family. But even if that never happens, the process of creating is something I enjoy too much to ever give up.

Visit Jonathan Hoffman’s website.


Fannie Nampeyo: Hopi Pottery


Fannie Nampeyo was a famous Hopi pottery artist. Her mother, Nampeyo, was an accomplished artist with art included at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. All of Fannie Nampeyo’s seven children were also potters. She was from First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. She became the matriarch of the Hopi-Tewa Corn Clan. Fannie Nampeyo and her husband Vinton were among the first families at First Mesa to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She passed in 1987.

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Diane Dittemore writes, “Fannie was Nampeyo’s youngest daughter and arguably the most talented potter among her offspring. Her life spanned the lion’s share of the 20th century, and she remained a prolific artist almost to the time of her death. In addition to emulating her mother’s ceramic virtuosity, Fannie inherited Nampeyo’s role as matriarch of the Corn Clan—a vitally important and time-consuming ceremonial position. Fannie began making pottery in her early 20s, teaming up with her mother by painting the pots that the near-blind Nampeyo was still able to expertly form. She continued to assist Nampeyo until the latter’s death while building her own reputation as a solo artist. As with many artists, Fannie held other jobs and interests throughout her life. She started out as a teen working for Hopi House in the housekeeping department. A tamale business made her famous in the environs of Keams Canyon. She became a devout Mormon and devoted much time to religious affairs as well as to learning Mormon crafts such as quilting.”

Fannie Nampeyo is pictured on the left with her mother on the right.


Images courtesy Andrea Fisher, King Galleries.

Sunny Taylor: 3D Sculptures

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Sunny Taylor is talented painter and sculptor who received degrees from BYU and The Ohio State University. She taught as an assistant professor from 2008-14 in the Studio Arts program of BYU and now lives and paints with her family in Utah. Taylor was featured previously on The Krakens for The Objecthood of Painting.

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Talk about your career developing. You have gotten into galleries, taught at BYU, and had a number of solo exhibitions.  When I contemplate my career development over the past decade, I feel so grateful for a few select people who championed my work, saw potential in me, and pushed me to strive for things that I thought were out of my reach.  One of my professors at BYU, Joe Ostraff, basically shoved me towards grad school.  I never planned on it. I didn’t think I had it in me to pursue a graduate degree, and I wanted to shy away from the challenge.  Little did I know at the time, that a graduate degree would go on to shape my career completely. Upon receiving my MFA degree from the Ohio State University, I had the credentials, but felt completely inadequate to teach at the university level.  When a full time position opened up at BYU, I reluctantly applied, and miraculously found favor with the faculty in the program, and was invited to join the ranks.  I taught for six years in the Studio Area at BYU, and it was marvelous!  I can’t say enough good things about my experience teaching there.  My colleagues were wonderful!  They taught me so much, achieved so much, believed in and supported me, and inspired me to stretch myself in many ways.

My position as a full time assistant professor placed some pretty high expectations upon me with regards to exhibiting my work.  It was expected that my work would be shown steadily on a regional, national and international basis.  The high expectations kept me applying to juried shows, and exhibiting my work in solo and group shows often.  Those expectations were so essential for me to continue producing work and exhibiting even while leading a very busy life.

Less than a year ago, I made a very difficult decision to resign from my position at BYU so I could be at home more with my children.  I am currently a full-time mom, and a part-time artist.  With my simplified job description, I’m surprisingly making more work than I have been in years, and it’s pretty amazing.  I recently began exhibiting with the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City.  They are really great to work with and for.

Visit Sunny Taylor’s website.

Follow Sunny Taylor on Instagram.


Page Turner: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine


Page Turner is a fascinating artist, but hard to describe. ‘Mixed-media’ might be an understatement. Her series A Stitch in Time Saves Nine is full of history, symbolism, spirituality, and Walter Wick-quality components. She and her husband, Zephren, live in rural Virginia.


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A Stitch in Time is based on women in your life. Why did you choose each of these women and how do they relate to their totems? I was raised in a devout Mormon family inside a rural Appalachian community during the fourth wave of feminism. My family’s homestead in on what is lovingly referred to as Mormon Mountain. The sisters in my ward were from pioneer families that did not go west to Zion. While I was growing up, I not only served these sisters, but spent time learning the domestic skills and our traditions. I have always been intrigued by their hand, their own dance while snapping beans, or zipping needlepoint. The personal signature each of them had with their skills and their practiced hand. I was equally as intrigued by these sister’s tools. The worn wooden spoon and kitchen towels, delicately stitched or adorned, their sewing notions and everyday objects of personal value. The history and the stories that these sisters shared with me roll around in my head even still. I loved to hear about their lives and their perspectives.

As early as I can remember, I would write about these women in my journals. I made lists character traits of these sisters, very honest observations. I started with these pioneer sisters who ensured my proper upbringing and continued to write my friends, roommates, and other sisters. The genesis of the series comes from my time studying at BYU-I. I came upon a journal from an unknown sister who was part of a handcart company during the Mormon Exodus in search of Zion. As I read her words, I grew to know her and I derived strength from her words and from her drawings. During her turmoil over the death of one of her children and her husband, she finds comfort in the new landscape that inspires her to draw tatting patterns that look like wheat berries. Her world was full of struggle, sadness and doubt; yet she found strength and focus by being creative and not falling completely into one’s suffering. The last entry of her journal was pattern pieces of the gown she intended to make once she reached Zion. I do not know the rest of her story. All those years ago, I copied her pattern pieces into my own journal. At the time I had no intention but to preserve her in my life.

A decade later I came across these pattern pieces and felt compelled to finish her journey and to make her dress. I did not know what the gown would look like, but followed her skilled pattern sketches one stitch at a time (Sugar Sack Gown). From this experience, I recognized the importance of making things and the honor in the domestic skills and traditions as fine art. I had journals filled with lists about the women in my life and felt again compelled to give these sisters life so that they may remain with me. While I was hand stitching this series, I reflected on these sisters and read over my journals to spiritually charge the objects I created. I understand now that I was attempting to figure out my identity as a woman and as a Mormon woman. Each totem in this sculpture series relates to a specific woman in my life, each garment is made to reflect that sister’s personality and relationship with me.

How have you evolved as an artist? I feel that my visual language and vocabulary is ever refining. I am much more decisive about taking objects apart and deconstructing these precious objects. The fear of “messing something up” has nearly vanished. I find that I listen more to my instinct about creating.

You and your husband are both artists. Art has always been a major component to our 15 year relationship. Since we were teenagers, we have been encouraging and supporting each other. Zephren and I are both fine artists, we each make our own work, and also collaborate on projects through our business, Page Turner Studios. We talk all the time about what we are working on, so there is definitely some cross pollination that occurs. Zephren is my favorite person to work with. We get stuff done. For the last two years we have been building our house on the mountain. While digging out part of the hillside for our foundation, it really made me happy to literally be carving out our home with him. We live simply so that we may have the time to make our work. The pursuit of happiness takes us both to the same place.

It seems that you are so attached to even the materials used in your sculptures, is it hard for you to consider selling the items? The way these materials find me, my work finds their owners. My patrons connect so deeply to my work that each piece finds the right owner. The custodial duty to these precious materials transfers. For me, the action of giving these objects new life is quite freeing.

Visit Page Turner’s website.

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Page Turner

All images copyright Page Turner.