Earth Art: A year-round passion for some local artists

From the spring issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, circulating this week:

IN THE ’60S, RACHAEL CARSON awakened environmental consciousness with her book “Silent Spring.” In the ’70s, Earth Day — on April 22 — was founded as a worldwide environmental “teach-in.” Now over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the world’s largest civic observance.

Artists have long been involved in Earth Day, organizing art exhibitions, live art demonstrations, workshops and other activities. Local artists also are holding Earth Day art exhibits.

For some artists, earth art honoring nature, ecology and wildlife is a year-round activity. Painter Jerry Venditti is one of them. Jerry and his wife, Deenie, moved to Rough and Ready from Sebastopol two years ago. He recently began showing his artwork at The Louvre gallery in downtown Grass Valley. “Painting is a spiritual endeavor,” says Jerry. “It’s a way to share the beauty and essence of things with others.”

His portfolio includes birds, bees and waterfowl, and the exotic wildlife of Africa, as well as botanical subjects and landscapes. Jerry is known for his trompe l’oeil artwork—a technique that creates the illusion that it exists in three dimensions.

His art has been displayed at exhibits and galleries in San Francisco; Taos and Santa Fe, NM; Aspen, CO; Scottsdale, AZ; and Newport Beach, among other places.

Jerry is passionate about conservation. “Nearly 100 elephants are killed in Africa every day for their ivory,” he says, bringing up singer-songwriter Billy Joel’s involvement in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s “96 Elephants campaign” to end wildlife trafficking.

He also points to honey bees dying off at unprecedented rates, the demise of nearly all migratory bird flyways in California, and the diminished number of waterfowl. He donates proceeds from his artwork to protect wildlife; 75 percent of proceeds from one called “King of the Pride” will be split between the Panthera Foundation and WildiZe Foundation.

Jerry also belongs to the prestigious “Artists for Conservation,” the world’s leading art group supporting the environment, and he is one of only 83 artists whose work will be shown next month in an international traveling exhibit in China. “We are part of, not separate from, this Grand Design,” says Jerry.

The Louvre Gallery
Locally owned and operated, they have been serving the foothill communities and beyond for over 30 years. The Louvre is an art gallery, art restoration and framing shop in downtown Grass Valley. (Images: Jerry Venditti)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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