January is like rehab for the holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’re still reeling from the physical and mental hangover of the holiday festivus, and this is when I begin to consider a self-imposed social hibernation. Drinking beer in my pajamas while watching Netflix, wrapped in a furry blanket sounds pretty nice! Luckily, the Salt Lake Gallery Stroll meets my very strict, three-point criteria for leaving the house: A. I can wear wool socks to the event, B. Ample parking, and, most importantly, C. I would not be able to forgive myself for missing such an amazing event, especially after I see all the Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts. The last one gets me every time! Here’s a teaser of what you’ll miss if you don’t snap up your adult onesie and head out for the stroll.
Highly regarded artists Scotty Soltronic and Anthony Granato will be warming up our cold, winter night with solo shows at the Utah Arts Alliance and the Gray Wall Gallery. Brothers from another mother, these artists both realized their affection for creating art at a young age. Influenced by their fathers, Soltronic would rifle through random metal scraps helping his dad with his siding business while Granato credits his dad with his first art lessons in proportion and realism. Growing up in Utah but leaving to make names for themselves in corporate America—Soltronic in Silicon Valley and Granato with Lucasfilm—both men found themselves drawn to their true passion: creating art in a place they can always call home.
Since focusing exclusively on his art, Granato has had over 24 art shows in cities across the United States, and has been featured in New York and BlueCanvas Magazine. Granato’s natural art ability won him the 2012 Utah RAWawards Visual Artist of the Year for his mixed-media paintings.
Granato’s paintings have a poetic feel, so it’s no surprise that he likens his process to developing a riddle. “I start with the answer and work backwards. I begin with the final product then figure out how to make it happen,” he says. Using his own drawings, photographs and sculpted items, he scans them into the computer. Once happy with the composition, he prints them, paints them with oils and finishes the work off with vintage frames.
Taking the old and forgotten and making it useful again has been a passion for Soltronic for as long as he can remember, but after returning from Silicon Valley, he began looking for ways to marry his interests in recycling and technology. One of Soltronic’s many endeavors is Building Man, a festival focused on creating green, artistic, functioning tools for a sustainable future. The festival, held at the Jenk Star Ranch in Green River, Utah, hosts many workshops and group building projects, but also allows time for relaxation. An example of Soltronic’s innovation and creative spirit is his “Solar Saucer.” Made from reclaimed materials, this “flying saucer” is mounted on a trailer, runs off 1,000 watts of solar power, and includes a kick-ass sound system. Soltronic and his saucer have made the rounds from Burning Man to elementary schools around the state. His latest show, titled Urban Artifacts, highlights the whimsical and extraordinary creations of regular old junk.
Not impressed enough to leave the house yet? What about getting to meet these artists in person? Gallery Stroll takes place Jan. 18, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Come by and see Anthony Granato at the Art Alliance at Main Street Gallery located at 127 S. Main Street and Scotty Soltronic at the Gray