The National Park Service Southeast Utah Group said on Feb. 22 it is pleased to announce Antonio (Tony) Savarese as the 2019 Community Artist in the Parks (CAIP).
Created in 2009, the CAIP program highlights the connection between a local artist and surrounding landscapes, particularly at Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments.
Hiking around Monument Valley, Bluff and Moab in his youth, Savarese found an early and unique appreciation for the rare beauty only found on the Colorado Plateau. He believes that a daily dose of scenery is the best form of medicine anyone — especially artists — can find.
“This is a place where, if one looks closely, they may see through the red rocks and into themselves, as nature intended,” Savarese said.
As the 2019 Community Artist in the Parks at Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments, Savarese will create original work for a minimum of 24 hours per month, April through October.
Savarese works with soft pastels on canvasses of sandpaper.
“I hope to create something beautiful,” he said. “I want to remind people of a place that brings joy to themselves.”
His artwork starts with a sketch in a journal. He tinkers around, fixing elements of the image before transferring the sketch by hand to sandpaper. Using a mixture of isopropyl alcohol with pastel, he said he creates an underpainting wash, explaining that alcohol evaporates quicker than water so it does not wrinkle or curl the paper. Once the underpainting is dried and the foundational work is finished, Savarese focuses on the application of color and the painting.
“Everything is a relationship when it comes to color applications,” he said.
He said he will spend a minimum of 18 hours each month in accessible areas like at trailheads and visitor centers and will be sharing his inspiration and creative process with visitors.
Areas he plans to visit include The Three Gossips, Delicate Arch and The Windows Section at Arches National Park and the Grand View Point Overlook at Canyonlands National Park.
Anyone interested in painting alongside the artist in the parks is invited to join Savarese.
“I would love to have other people come out and paint with me,” he said. “They can either coordinate that with the National Park Service or they can also feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
His artworks will be sold in the Canyonlands Natural History Association bookstores at Arches and Canyonlands national parks during his tenure.
Visit go.nps.gov/2019CAIP for more information about the program and the schedule of Savarese’s 2019 park activities and locations.
“This is a place where, if one looks closely, they may see through the red rocks and into themselves, as nature intended.”
Meet local artist Tony Savarese at Arches, Canyonlands national parks