Culture Undiscovered: Best in Show at the Tempe Festival of the Arts

What’s awesome about being an arts and culture blogger is that I get to talk about people and events that a lot of people don’t know about, but sometimes I get to talk about things that are really popular too! One of these things is the Tempe Festival of the Arts, which you may have missed but you’ve most likely heard of. Lucky for you, below are my top four finds from that weekend, so now you can pretend you were there too.

Chewbacca, Yoda, and C3PO. Print by Darrell Driver, image courtesy of his etsy shop.

1)   Darrell Driver makes pop art that runs that gamut from full-fledged oil paintings (expensive), to smaller prints (affordable), to original drawings on blocks of wood (expensive again). The easiest place to find his work is his etsy shop. Darrell mainly sells prints, usually of birds (full disclosure: I find birds repulsive and can’t look at these) or updated versions of classic Star Wars heroes and villains. My favorite is of Darth Vader in a three-piece suit, but his print of Boba Fett dressed up as a used car salesman is pretty hard to pass up too.

2)   I hadn’t heard of Nelson de la Nuez before the art festival, but now it seems like I should have. His artwork hangs in the homes of Carrie Fisher (she’s not his most famous collector but I couldn’t resist another Star Wars reference) and Michael Jackson. Nuez’s work juxtaposes classic Americana with pop culture kitsch in a way that can be fun or uncomfortable (or both). His original pieces obviously go for astronomical prices, but his website sells prints, drawings, books, cell phone skins and sculptures, so you can make sure your iPhone has the approval of the King of Pop himself.

3)   Local artist Steve Appell makes “Bolt People”, sculptures made from found materials that depict tiny hardware people doing everything from scuba diving to playing the banjo. Most of the figures are less than fifty dollars, and would make the perfect gift for

Dogs love wearing hats. Image courtesy of k9koolhats.com.

tough-to-shop-for family members. My dad’s getting a golfing bolt person for Father’s Day, but Appell specializes in custom orders in the unlikely event that you don’t see one that you want.

4)   Does your dog love going on walks but hates leaving the house without a statement-making hat strapped to his head? Then look no further than K9 Kool Hats, Arizona’s No. 1 provider of fashionable canine headwear since 1988. The original and “very practical” K9 Kool Hat shields your dogs from the sun while expressing their sassy personalities. The K9 Kowboy Hat takes things to the next level, as it’s only for dogs that “desire a fine fashionable hat.” While my dogs are always outfitted in statement-making costumes come Halloween thanks to my mom, I’ve found their wardrobes to be sorely lacking in the accessory department. Get one for your dog at k9koolhats.com.

Email me at jlpruett@asu.edu.