The Art of Art Detour

February 22nd, 2013

Photo by Bryan Mok

What goes into designing the promotion materials for an event? How do you decide on an image that conveys the right message?

When it’s the 25th Anniversary of Art Detour, you look to your past and turn for inspiration to the local artists who’ve been the heart of the event for a quarter century.

The Gala and the Gal

During last year’s Detour, photographer Bryan Mok was documenting an event at the Crescent Ballroom hosted by local artist Hugo Medina. “Celebrating Beauty and Artists” featured live models sporting body painting creations by several artists.

As Mok stood with his camera poised, one of the models stopped near him just under a spotlight. She was wearing glitter on her body and her hair and the beautiful floral image by Dianne Nowicki that was painted on her back luminesced under the light.

In that moment, says Mok, “it all came together – the cool composition, the floral body painting on her back, the glowing light from her skin and hair – it was completely evocative of the event, embodying people and art.”

The resulting photo caught the eye of Artlink Phoenix board members as they were planning this weekend’s Silver Gala, a kick off event to celebrate Detour’s silver anniversary. The image embodied the festive, artful spirit of the gala.

Silver Gala Invitation

Graphic designers were asked to use the photo as the inspiration for the gala invitation and poster, and voila! The resulting image pays homage to last year’s Art Detour, to Dianne Nowicki’s floral image, and to the fabulous photo that Mok captured.

Celebrating “The Artist

For Art Detour’s main image, used for poster and postcards, Artlink put out a call to artists to submit work that would capture the essence of the event.

Fred Tieken’s brilliantly colored submission entitled “The Artist” was chosen. Not only was the image bright, colorful, and fun, the subject matter fit perfectly with the focus of Artlink.

As Nancy Hill, Artlink board member and Art Detour Chair said “Artlink exists to bring attention to local artists in downtown Phoenix and Art Detour is the signature event that brings the public into artist studios. Fred’s piece captures that focus perfectly.”

Tieken, a longtime Phoenix resident who had successful careers in music and graphic design before turning full time to art, talked about how the piece came to be. “I started with the idea of an artist painting a portrait of a lady, and the paint led me on. It was something that just developed before my eyes.”

“The Artist” by Fred Tieken

Tieken is an enthusiastic supporter of the downtown Phoenix art scene who many people will know from his large-scale mural “Buzz” on the side of the Vermillion building on MacDowell, just east of Third Avenue. “I paint a lot from images I get from watching people on First Friday,” says Tieken. “I love the downtown art scene, I love the energy on the streets on First Friday, and I always come back excited and inspired.” He puts ideas for paintings up on a wall and says he has enough ideas on the wall currently to paint through next year.

So, the next time you happen past the poster or postcard for Detour or the Silver Gala, take a minute to reflect on the inspiration behind the images.  And while you’re at it, put on your best finery to attend the Gala and make plans to spend the following weekend exploring everything the downtown Phoenix arts scene has to offer at Art Detour.

If You Go:

Event: Artlink Silver Gala

Date/Time: Saturday, February 23, 7 to 11 p.m.

Location: A.E. England Building, Civic Space Park.

Tickets: Buy tickets here

Event: Art Detour 25,

Dates/Times: Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Locations: Over 90 locations throughout downtown Phoenix and beyond.