Art can be recycled, replaced, redesigned, and transform into innumerable forms by the artists who create them. Those same remarkable works of art can then find their way into a home, business, gallery, or square. And sometimes, those very same pieces will take journeys unlike any we ourselves may venture on in our lifetimes. We’ve heard that every work of art has a story behind it, but we often overlook the tale of the art’s voyage from artist, to collector, to storage, to rediscovery. Art has the incredible ability to change minds, hearts, and hands - simply by existing.


I myself have created works of art that have been concealed, transformed, digitized, manipulated, mashed, smashed, and even trashed. However, I’ve also produced art that has traveled across the globe, into the earth, and found its way high in the sky. Are you an art collector? Are you on the endless journey to enrich your life with beautiful creations once envisioned by some of the most intriguing minds? Where did you find your most prized collection? Where do you look for your treasures? How far would you go to procure the manifestation of someone else’s dreams?


This month marks that time of year when Sedona Arts Center collects, catalogs, and assigns lot numbers to those spectacular works of art that journey from one place to the next. This year, mystery is the name of the game for some pieces that were hidden away in private collections. Take for instance a certain Tiepolo that appears to have traveled across the country over the past three decades or more. The piece bears a striking resemblance to an authentic sketch on display in museums by masters, however the authenticity is questionable, or unknown at this time. Is this a hidden treasure? Can this be a lost work similar to a Picasso that was acquired a few years back at a garage sale for $2?


There is a secret life to art that remains lost in some cases, and rarely explored in others. A simple sketch that was once displayed in a long forgotten gallery in New York may have toured the globe for decades longer than we will ever know. Imagine the ghosts that are married to its expedition through time. Was this art party to secret plots and elegant rendezvous; or did it slip quietly through the years in silence, hidden in a damp dirt basement? Now that it has found its way to the auction block, what will it know next? What story could it tell in the years to come?


The art in our lives not only tell us stories of life; they experience existence with us. Our souls are collected and delivered through every sculpture and painting we pass along through time. Art has meaning and interpretations that are known to the admirer that can also be shared, transferred, and passed on to the next bearer. We are merely couriers, passing along history while stroking our egos and our imaginations.


Take the time to explore the art in your life. Journey with your collections and find the mystery behind every piece you hold close to your heart. Allow yourself to fall deeply in love with a painting, or madly enraged by a photograph. Let your expressions be known by the art, as if it were alive, breathing, listening, and feeling every ounce of you. You never know where that art will turn up, or who’s story it will become a part of next. But for now, know your art and the secret life that your art knows.


You can collect a piece of art that’s traveled near and far on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the Sedona Fine Art Auction (SFAA). Over 25 Live Auction pieces and more than 80 Silent Auction works are searching for homes in this fund-raising benefit for the Arts Center. The SFAA benefits the educational programming and ongoing mission throughout the year at Northern Arizona’s oldest nonprofit Arts Institution. This prestigious auction will feature works from Arizona’s finest artists and award winning plein air artists from across the country. All auction items will be on display starting Wednesday, May 2nd through 5th from 10am – 5pm prior to the close of the Silent Auction at 3:30pm Saturday, May 5th. The exciting Live Auction begins at 4pm on Saturday May 5th at the Sedona Arts Center, 15 Art Barn Rd, Uptown Sedona. You can preview the art online at or call 928.282.3809 for more information. The Auction is Free to the Public.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

Have you ever noticed that art sometimes mutates right before our very eyes? We’ve seen art recycled, replaced, redesigned and transformed into countless forms. From sculptures that come alive, to drawings that become digital animations our art can be anything we want it to be. I, for instance, have had a dream that transformed into a short story, which evolved into a novel that is comfortably resting as a screenplay. But there’s no telling where it will go next… a feature film? A series? The sky isn’t even the limit for some of these as we contemplate exploring new worlds in the not-to-distant future.

 I find it hard to sometimes either complete a particular work (such as a nebula painting in my kitchen that very slowly finds new stars and gas clouds appear over the course of two months now), or to be happy with the final form my art has taken. As a person, I am always evolving my process, thoughts and views to better suit the world I find myself in – so naturally, my art has to grow with me. If it doesn’t, then it’s lost in a pile of rubbish or tossed into a warm winter fire (which isn’t a bad transformation for some art). But it’s important for me to always recognize the various spaces my art can occupy. This is what helps me grow as an artist and a person.

 Too often I see artists stuck in one genre or style, aiming to please a select crowd in order to survive. Many times this happens simply to avoid being a ‘starving artist’ and to fill a particular void. For me, however, it’s a stagnation that leads to an early artist’s demise. I need variety and change to allow my creative wings to unfold. If my creations don’t come in thirty different flavors and colors, then it just doesn’t make the cut for me. But these are just the details. But life is in the details, isn’t it? We are all subject to them in one form or another and they have been reinvented a thousand times, a hundred thousand times before evolving into their perfect ends.

 My point to all of this is a suggestion: explore variety and change. If you have a great idea, then don’t let it get stuck in one form. Imagine the endless options that your dream can take. See your vision through some of these changes and allow it to evolve into its endless forms. There’s no telling what you may stumble upon in your journey. My art has been drenched in spirituality, mystery, fantasy, science and folly. What will you express through your art?

 Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

What defines art? Who determines what is art and what isn’t art? Why are dots sometimes more valuable than portraits, while sculptures of giant titanium screws can out-match the classics? These are questions we’ve asked over time that may never truly have a diplomatic answer. But just because I can, I’ll let you in on how I feel about it, my answers to these questions and in a round-about way why timeless art is never on time.


No matter where you look, you will find a large number of outrageous positions on what constitutes art. From art buyers to amateur collectors, you can be sure to find a wealth of opinions that sometimes eloquently describe classical art and at other times brazenly trample upon the ancient masterpieces. Of course it can be easier for some to understand the debate of “what is or isn’t art” when we are discussing the abstract expressionist, but “who decides?” is the real question. To answer this, we need to look no further than the most reflective surface we can find.


First off, I have to say that no one can idly make a claim to be able to determine what is or isn’t art. No art can be positively quantified to fit into a specific set of principles that define what is or isn’t the art in question. Art varies from person to person, from culture and history to time and space. (Yes, even space) – There is no master authority that can call anything ‘real art’ over ‘fake art’ or ‘bad art’ at all. The judgment falls solely on the observer; the person experiencing it. Art speaks to us in some way, it becomes a part of us and us a part of it. We are the true authorities, defining art based upon our own interaction with it.


So, who defines art? We do. Not the critics, masters or gallery owners – us, the observers. We determine what art is in our lives and we keep those things close to us throughout our lives. These things change as we change and evolve. Sometimes we are drawn to harsh metal and shiny silver, while other times we opt for soft tones and soothing brush strokes. What is your mood? What is happening in your life? The gallery owners and critics really do help bring that art close to us – but ultimately, we decide, which is why they made their choices to being with. Understand?


As artists, we are mired in a consistent conundrum of our own making. Sometimes we are too concerned with what others think of our art, or that by breaking rules or being different, we are somehow lesser than the masters. But isn’t it important to experiment, invent and question why we do things a certain way? Is it fear that inhibits us? Keep this in mind when you come across dots or splashes of colors you don’t understand.


Art changes with the times and time changes art. Trends come and go faster than you can read this blog and that’s ok. Art is in the eye of the beholder is it not? So the next time you come across someone that says, “That’s not art,” let him or her know that that’s their own personal opinion, and you can assure them that it is in fact, without question - art.


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

This week something new and magical is happening in Sedona. (Just like any other week in this beautiful wonderland, right?) The first Roundabouts Art installations will make their appearance in just a few days! Ken Rowe and Kim Kori were the selected finalists in the City’s Art in the Roundabouts Competition a year ago, and have been busy working on preparations for the installation of these monumental works of art. The culmination of this journey will be the Dedication by the City of Sedona on March 16th at 10:00 am.

Celebrating the “Making of Above and Beyond” will be a talk and reception at Sedona Arts Center on Saturday, March 17th from 3 to 5 pm. Sedona Arts Center’s director Mei Wei Wong said “we wanted to give the community a chance to better understand the creation of these sculptures and how well they exemplify Sedona’s vision as a “city animated by the Arts.”

The design of Above and Beyond was selected from over 20 entries submitted to the City from the Northern Arizona region. On the concept of Above and Beyond, Kori and Rowe said “…our first thoughts are of nature and art. Our design incorporates nature, wildlife, the earliest human inhabitants, history and art. And for those visiting Sedona we feel that the birds represent getting away from the hectic responsibilities of life, to play and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors in this unique and beautiful piece of paradise we call home.” Many experts have come together to create these works of art we will admire for decades to come.

The City of Sedona will be holding a Dedication Ceremony on Friday, March 16th at 10 am, a fitting first in our celebration of Arizona’s Centennial. Come join us to learn about the process of creating what will surely become the new Sedona landmark. The Sedona Arts Center is located at State Route 89A & Art Barn Road in uptown Sedona. | 928.282.3809

I hope to see you there!


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

What do you think of when you hear the word artist? If you are an artist, the definition could include words like: blood, sweat, tears, solitude, failed works, joyful successes and so much more. If you aren’t one, you might imagine someone eating grapes, lounging around on fine furniture and occasionally dabbing some paint on canvas. Or perhaps the extreme: you see a starving artist, sketching portraits for loose change on the streets. Either way, the artist invokes imagery and imagination, inspiration and introspection into the very workings of our creative selves. But art is ever changing and this week and this brings us to the controversial world of artisans.


When you conjure up the aforementioned images, no matter how elaborate you may imagine, typically you see one artist, with creative vision working with their chosen medium. However, these days in the land of grandeur and mass-production, this is not always the case. There is a new relationship between artists and artisans and the true ‘artist’ or creator of the work is actually in question when it comes to some of these pieces. Some artists use artisans to do all their grunt and dirty work, leaving the final touches and signature to themselves. Does this change the definition of an artist?


Many individuals from famous Renaissance artists like Michelangelo to contemporary creators such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and others openly whipped up numerous works, many of which had relatively no direct input from the artists themselves. Many of these pieces, created by perhaps dozens of assistants at times, have sold at auctions for millions of dollars. Where does this leave the artisan? How does this affect the aspiring creative individual who works for or with a ‘name’ to simply be involved in the artist community?


I suppose it’s easier to accept the use of artisans in some forms of art than others. Take video art for instance, which is typically expected to involve numerous people playing roles in setting up scenes, props, editing, music, etc. Similarly, conceptual art that is more of a vision takes on a different role, as the work is more about the importance of the message the original creator had in mind, rather than the physical part of creating it. Or take for example an oversized work of art (sculpture for instance) that is unimaginably enormous, where the process of erecting the work itself requires assistance. In a world driven by the demand of galleries, public opinion and instant gratification – it’s understandable that some pieces need the help of artisans to complete on schedule.


Obviously the artist remains the guiding hand behind their work. I know many artists that work very closely and spend hours discussing their vision and ultimate goal with their assistants. Some are involved in every step of the process, while others simply put their name on the final product. So the real question in these cases is – who is the artist? Should the artisans receive the same credit the original visionary receives, or are they simply laying down a foundation for the work inspired by the 'name' behind the work?


What are your thoughts on artists and artisans?


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

As an artist, early on I had to learn to accept the customariness of disappointment. I suppose we all have to conform to this in life, artist or not – but as a creative person, who places their heart and soul out on a string, dangling it before its audience – this may in fact be a somewhat difficult task indeed. Rejection from a gallery, colleague, family member or alien being will always weigh heavier in the hearts of artists who express themselves for a living. But with strength, perseverance and persistence, life can and will go on and on and on.


I recently sought funding for a personal creative project on Kickstarter. I did as I usually do in circumstances related to my personal work and waited until the last minute to actually market it. And even then, I didn’t have the time to truly place 100% into the request for funds. (This is typical for me, however, as I thrive on the creative process and I’m not good at asking for coffers) Needless to say, the project had a time limit, ticking away. When the deadline came, I had accumulated pledges of 15% of my goal and funding was unsuccessful. So I walked away with a bruise and a dream.


This didn’t stop me, though. Within a few hours, I brought to life the same project. Resurrected from the ashes of my undying vision and stellar determination, I created the project on IndieGoGo. I immediately started creating all these quirky ads with classic movie themes and plenty of Star Wars and Star Trek references (and a Galaxy Quest one stating their catch phrase, “Never give up, Never surrender!”). I didn’t let failure stop me – I stood up and started over. And even though only one pledge from the original project came over to the new one, I continue on.


It’s this drive, this determination that makes us successful creatures of art. If every artist threw away their brushes every time they were turned down – there would be no art in the world. The world would be quite a boring and dismal place. Imagine if your motivation was dependent solely on the love of others. Admiration and affection are inherently needed, yes – but our inventiveness runs richer than that. Our inspiration comes from a place deep within us. A place that we openly and willingly share with the world.


What I’ve been trying to get at here is this: Don’t let failure discourage you. In fact, don’t let the word ‘failure’ even have meaning in your life. The definition of failure should be, “an opportunity to do something better.” So no matter who tells you, “no” or turns you and your work away – no matter how many projects are unsuccessful or underfunded… find the energy within you to create something new, or simply start over. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your idea was a bad one… it just wasn’t the right time. And tomorrow always looks good to me.


Never give up; never surrender; always create.


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.