Meet an Artopian – Laura Sineath-Darabi

What do you love most about art?

Art has always been an outlet for me to be myself. There are no rules to follow, no guidelines to stick to. I get lost in what I’m doing and any stresses that I might be experiencing in that moment recede from my thoughts. 

What inspired you to donate your work to Big Bend Cares?

Big Bend Cares is such a wonderful organization for our community. It makes me happy to know that there is such kindness in the world and that this organization takes on the challenges of caring for those who otherwise wouldn’t have the access to their services. 

What’s your favorite piece of art you have done?

One of my favorite pieces is a charcoal drawing I did at 10 years old with a charcoal set my dad gave me. Early on, I knew art would be a passion for the rest of my life and this piece started me on my artistic path. My dad still has this drawing! 

If you could paint a portrait of someone you admire most, who would it be?

I have two someones… I would paint my grandmothers. I would put them in the same room so I could hear more of their stories about life, love and family while I paint. They have both had such a tremendous impact on my life and I will forever be appreciative of their love and guidance. 

What inspires you as an artist?


Meet an Artopian – John Fowler

When did you first fall in love with creating art?

I wouldn’t have thought of it as a question of when I “first fell in love with art”, but rather when I realized I had artistic ability.  Perhaps the realization of my own ability made me fall in love with art.  That moment came after my first grade teacher asked each in our class to draw an illustration depicting a scene from the children’s book she was reading to us.  The book was called PING A DUCK and I unwittingly drew a picture which rivaled the illustrations in the book, with a realistic duck in the foreground, water lapping at its sides and a Chinese junk floating proportionately in the background, all set against a proportional horizon.  I had no idea of my drawing’s level of sophistication, until my teacher gasped upon seeing it.  My pride grew as she asked the other student’s to gather around and see what I had done.  At that moment, I knew I had some uncommon ability.  I drew a lot of ducks after that, then other birds, until I branched out to other things, usually inspired by nature.

What part(s) of your everyday life inspires you artistically?

As a zoologist and naturalist, I am inspired by nature, but in addition to animals, I am an avid gardener.  I love to bring the imagery that might go unnoticed in passing into the forefront in a large format, the detail of a leaf, flower, insect or shell.  I think this takes people by surprise, and gets viewers to become conscious of things they have overlooked in the microcosms.  I consider myself a nature-based abstract artist, one who finds great beauty and spectacle in the little things.

What would you say has been the biggest surprise in your journey with art?

After having been a small-scale, disciplined and mostly photo-realistic artist much of my early life, I was surprised to transition into large-scale expressive abstracts, which are a pure joy to produce.  I had to work at letting go and relax into it.  Some lame pieces came out of that, but were necessary to the process of study and exploration.  From there, I was pleasantly surprised to have a favorable response from art galleries, and consumers willing to purchase my art.  A sale is the best complement an artist can have for their art, because it means the observer is willing to give of their own resources to possess it.

What piece of your own artwork are you most proud of?

I think it may still be that first grade drawing of PING A DUCK because it will always represent an awakening for me as the artist. 

What advice would you give to young artists?

If you want to sell art, think about your audience, and create for them, not just yourself.  Don’t let self-indulgence get the best of you; you can only keep so many pieces in the dark shadows of storage.  Enjoy and appreciate connecting with others through your art, for now and posterity.  Your legacy will be a form of telepathy to a future audience. 

Meet an Artopian – Randy Brienen

What started your exploration into art?

Loved ink drawing and pencil sketching at a very young age

Do you have a most prominent influence on your style or approach?

European impressionism

What is your favorite color?

Azo Gold

If you could meet one artist, living or dead, who would it be?

Claude Monet

What advice would you give a young or new artist?

Paint what you see, feel what you paint.

Find more of Randy’s art here:

Meet an Artopian – Kellie Martin

Who would you consider you biggest inspiration?

In the beginning of early age that I’ve been admire Salvador Dali for his surreal works, and especially his melting clock is that what I am usually use this symbolic as my battling anxiety and my lifetime hate and love relationship with the time. Daniel Katz-Hernandez, my art friend and former classmate in mural class at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. I admire his figure bodies drawing and graffiti/ mural paintings. He have a mad skill in his art. Wendy Oritz (for her higher spiritual surreal power and reflections of melancholy in the forms), and Stef Azevedo (for her empowering strength towards womyn, and her glacatic fierceness.)

What is your favorite color?

It is a possible for me to pick ONE color.  I will tell you what my favorite colors are; Black, Purple, Turquoise, Dark Lavender and maroon. 

How has art changed your life?

The more time you spend with art, the more it improves your focus. Looking at art is a form of meditation and the more you do it, the longer you can focus. It’s like working out muscles in your body. The more you work out, the stronger you get, the longer your endurance and greater your productivity. It is a mediation for me and helps me to get through my daily struggles. It is reminds that I can overcome with everything.

What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?

I am a huge horror movie fan, but the movie called, “The Conjuring 2” gave a really terrifying nightmare while I was at one of my friend’s gay father’s beach house with many large mirrors everywhere! I ran in the house and cover the sheets! 

What would you say is the biggest challenge you have faced in your journey with art?

 My journey is often hard and heavy relates with art. My art is not the exactly that I would call it a beautiful. I always express my emotions so rawness that makes people uncomfortable the most of time. Also, the  money is the biggest barrier from me to climb the success because I come from the low income family but  also, it made me to creative how to do think out of the box with art sources that I can have an access. 

Meet an Artopian: Dean Gioia
When did you first fall in love with creating art?8th grade. Art class. Suddenly there was a voice for all the mystical feelings floating in me since early childhood. What can new artists do to help themselves start their own journey?Listen to your own voice. Do what is important to you (and you know). Then push it out there. Show it. Dogs or cats?

Had many of both. Loved them all. Late in life… leaning dogs. 

If you could paint a book or album cover, what would it be?

I have done many covers For albums and books. Would like to do one for Pat Metheny. But. Probably won’t. Oh well. 

How has helping others impacted your life?

It reminds me to let go of my self absorption, an affliction that haunts many artist. 

Learn more about Dean’s work at his website:

Meet an Artopian: Kollet Probst

What would you say has been the biggest surprise in your journey with art?

The reception I’ve Received. It’s always a leap of faith for an artist to step out there and show where their mind and heart wander in their art. 

What artist, living or dead, would you love to have draw you?

Salvador Dali, the love he had, and showed for his wife, Gala was breathtaking.

If you could paint/draw one album cover, what would it be?

 Jim Croce’s You Dont Mess Around with Jim. I always thought his song Time in A bottle would be a great album cover done in a surreal ‘Dali’ type of way.

Do you have any advice for new or young artists?

Be fearless and don’t be so hard on yourself. As artist we can paralyze ourselves with our own critiques. Its important to remember that what you’re creating is for everyone and you are just the vehicle to deliver it. 

What is your favorite color and why?

I honestly prefer black and white. My father was color blind and I never wanted him to feel left out when I was creating. If I must choose one; lime green, it’s full of energy and life just like me.

Follow Kollet’s art journey on her Facebook page: