Artistic energy on display by artists and artisans living and working in Omaha, Elkhorn, and surrounding area
Alissa Hansen, a resident of Wahoo Nebraska, grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. In 2004, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, with an emphasis in drawing, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In May of 2005 she moved to Denver and quickly fell in love with the area. After 13 years in Colorado, Alissa made the decision to move to Nebraska, with her husband and children, to be closer to family after her mother’s dementia diagnosis.
Though my artwork goes through phases, I always find myself returning to the themes of place and human connection. I am interested in people and their stories, whether it is a relative, whose life I know intimately, or a stranger passing by. I am constantly scanning and observing my surroundings. Much of my art is a personal record of these observations – filtered through my own eyes, emotions, and imagination, of course. By drawing and painting these moments of pause, I’m allowed to linger with them a bit longer. I like to allow the viewer to personally connect with my art, while leaving room in my work for them to create their own narrative about the subject.
Anna Stoysich is a potter and painter who was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and now lives nearby in the Loess Hills of Malvern, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2002 with a BFA and an emphasis in ceramics. She spent the following 14 years working in the United States and abroad. She was an artist in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation and Watershed, a studio assistant at Penland School of Craft and apprenticed to wood fired ceramicist, Chris Gustin, in South Dartmouth, MA. She also was a Montessori teacher in rural North Carolina and Mexico and later became a caretaker for her grandfather on the family farm in southwest Iowa.
There is great beauty in a blank card. It does not put words in anyone’s mouth but allows the sender’s message to resonate. Each year, using the simplicity of pen and ink, my sister and I grew up taking turns drawing our family Christmas card with the help of our father.
I am a landscape architect, and my passion is the natural world. These hand-drawn botanical cards combine my family’s traditional style with my passion for nature.
I hope these cards inspire you and let your words resonate with loved ones.
Aspen Polly Hansen
Aspen Polly Hansen, originally from Denver, has lived in Wahoo, Nebraska since 2019. Her favorite medium to work in is Prismacolor colored pencils, because of their bold color, smooth texture, and precision. She is inspired by realism and enjoys watching tutorials to learn techniques from other artists. She has received multiple commissions from people wanting portraits of their pets. Still in her teens, she is saving money for college with future plans to study art and archeology. She devotes hours each week to practicing and improving her drawing skills. “I love art” she says, “I have as long as I can remember. My mom is an artist, so naturally, I’ve grown up doing art and being creative. Art is a part of me and my life. If someone were to tell me to stop doing art, it would be like telling me to stop breathing. It brings me and others joy and that is why I love it.”
Aspen Monet Laboy
I am a queer, Black and Puerto Rican artist from Omaha, Nebraska. Glass is the primary medium I work with, though I also publish poetry, develop analog photography, make short films and relief prints. The glass I use is all recycled and then repurposed into mosaics and sculptures, therefore no glass is wasted. Environmentalism is the main reason why I use recycled glass, which is heavily reflected in various scenes of nature I create. The second reason is because it proves the fact that nothing is ever created or destroyed, only recreated. Lastly, I admire knowing the process is dangerous yet delicate at the same time. All the art I do is inspired by nature, science, consciousness and hermetic philosophy.
I grew up on a farm outside of Malvern, Iowa. Graduated from college with a degree in art education with an emphasis in ceramics, painting, and drawing. I taught art at Papillion Junior High for thirty-eight years. I currently lead art workshops, make wheel thrown pottery, take photographs, garden, and make some art.
Art is everywhere. The images are already here. Painting is allowing the fleeting to become visible through color, technique, and style. Through creating we come to appreciate the richness and the possibilities of the images in a world that surrounds us.
I paint subjects that interest me and challenge what I think I know and see. I try to expand my skills by exploring media in and out of my comfort zone. I often say- “Why not?”
Bill Hoover’s art is a dynamic synthesis of both his interior and exterior worlds. Using oil paint, charcoal, graphite, and textures like sand, he builds up his paintings using shapes, colors both muted and bright, and texture till he arrives at a place that is fresh, unpredictable, and meditative.
His work is widely collected throughout the United States and is featured in many private collections.
Bill Kabourek is a snowbird who paints in Florida and the Omaha area. His oil paintings bring together sky, water, and prairie elements along with, occasionally, a misplaced palm or improbably coloration. While not abstract or impressionistic, Bill’s work avoids the preciseness that was required in his successful business career.
Cherine Bishara lives in Omaha, NE. Born in Iowa City, she attended the University of Iowa and received a BFA with an emphases in ceramics, printmaking, and a certification in art education. Cherine has diverse life, work, and personal experience. Her art is a reflection of her processing of those experiences and whatever else may land outside of her head.
Chris Machian was born in the diverse, working class community of South Omaha in Nebraska. Rather than receiving an allowance, Machian managed a paper route at age 10, teaching him the value of hard work. The after-school job also launched Machian’s love affair with the news. As a child he often read more than just the comics in the Omaha World-Herald, where he would later become a staff photographer. He attended college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where soon his work started appearing in USA Today and the Sporting News.
Later he earned Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and is a licensed drone pilot.
Now Machian’s word be seen in Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post and even the front page of the New York Times. His style is one of accurate representation with little disruption.
A great challenge for landscape photographers is how to convey the scale and emotional impact of a scene. Having been a diabetic nearly all my life, hiking itself sometimes presents another hurdle. Years ago, while taking a break from the studio and going for a hike, I came upon a beautiful vista. As I got there, my blood sugar had dropped unexpectedly, and the hypoglycemia created a powerful and emotional experience. The sight touched me, and as I tended to my blood sugar, I continued to be amazed at nature’s beauty.
Once I had returned to a safe blood sugar, I took out my camera and snapped a few photos to capture the moment. Back in the studio later, I looked at the photos, and while they were well executed, they didn’t convey the visceral awe that I felt when I was there.
It was a while until I discovered infrared photography. As I explored the meda, I started to see these images with surreal color and contrast. Everything was recognizable, but the glowing white of vegetation and the high contrast added what I had been missing. They had emotion and weight. It reminded me of the scene I had seen earlier with low blood sugar.
My photography is about communicating the awesome feeling of connecting with nature in a way that conveys the emotion and wonder I feel observing the world around us.
Jim Pattavina was born in Omaha and raised in New Jersey. A former downhill mountain-bike racer, Jim is also a master mechanic who currently works at Trek Bikes in Omaha. He is creative by nature, and can transform metal, wood, paint, and hardware into works of art. He is often drawn to the beauty and energy of flowers, and you will find this subject matter in both his paintings and sculptures. Outside of work and art, Jim excels at sim racing, which is a virtual motorsport that accurately simulates many of the real-world variables of auto racing.
I find my joy in seeing and photographing abstract design in nature. The patterns and textures and edges and juxtapositions fascinate me. I revel in the magic light creates – reflections, backlit glow, highlights, and shadows.
My favorite photos are often touched by other-worldliness, where light and dark create an ethereal, pensive beauty. Photos that reveal a place of wonder and possibility, and reflection. My style relies on realism, with only minimal editing.
I want my art to inspire people to give their attention to the natural world around us; to look deeply, to foster curiosity and creativity. I want them to look and to wonder. How did this come to be? What process made this shape or pattern?
My interest in photography and nature as art began during my studies in Landscape Architecture. After a career in city planning, I became a Nebraska Master Naturalist, where fellow naturalist photographers encouraged me to further pursue my own work.
Kathleen Van Lieu
Combining abstraction and realism came naturally to me. Realism indicates the inspirational source; abstraction conveys what is not physical. Light, wind, humidity, and seasons change. Society, politics and climates change, and the collective subconscious shifts. A little abstraction helps. So much is a mystery; I paint to find answers.
Painting is essential to my sense of well-being. I had given up artistic pursuits for many years until my innate drive to paint again became needfully apparent. Like most endeavors, it requires attention and practice. I started with my children’s crayons; pastels became my logical next step. Next came watercolors, so clean and compact, until my critique group and gallery sales strongly suggested oils.
Style is elemental and uniquely personal, comprised of many things. My work has been described as mystical, defined as allegory for what transcends intellectual understanding. Landscape fulfills that purpose as the longest lived thing I can find with a story to tell.
I use texture, layering, line, and blending with a lot of palette knife work until the ineffable something emerges, satisfying my interest in the original idea. This is why I like oils; the medium is so very pliable. I paint with traditional oils and am as environmentally careful as possible with cleanup and product choice.
Mary Konz Morris
I paint memories, as my favorite artist, Grandma Moses did. Those happy memories that there are no photographs to remind us of- past times.
Megan studied at the University of Nebraska in Omaha to earn her BA in Studio Art in 2005. She works with oil and acrylic paints and relies heavily on intuition as well as the foundational teachings of the practice.
Megan’s paintings are greatly inspired by the inner and outer landscapes of her experiences. Her objective is to pull the subtlety out of the obvious, to mark the smaller and quieter spaces that live within the large ones, and vice versa.
I enjoy combining my photography skills, education in graphics, and love of painting to create both traditional pieces and mixed-media digital works of art. Using all disciplines enables me to diversify my style. My first love will always be abstracts. I create these with more of a feeling rather than starting with a vision of the end result. As I get older, I find myself leaning toward more of a modern style of work. The less complicated feel and composition, appeals to my “less is more” aesthetic. I am an optimist and generally positive person. I focus on creating art that is colorful, has movement, light and uplifting. There’s enough darkness in the world, I choose “HAPPY”!
I’m an artist currently located on the unceded land of the Umónhon & the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ in Nebraska.
I like to paint and draw with whatever materials I have on hand. Those usually include inks, acrylics, pastels, watercolors and spray paint on watercolor paper and canvas.
I also enjoy carving on wood and lino blocks to create original prints in my home studio.
My work is an expression of my combined anger at our nation, a love of the people and the land, and dreams of what kind of world I want my child to grow up in.
I’m a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. I often use bison as a symbol of the Lakota spirit, the power of our endangered natural world, and a righteous, powerful force for what America should be. I regularly combine other traditional Native images, like the ones used by my grandfather Donald D. Ruleaux, with images of current issues facing indigenous peoples and the world today.
In addition to creating visual art, I’m also a classically trained actor. I received my MFA in Theatre from the University of Houston’s School of Theatre and Dance after I finished my BA in Theatre Performance at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Peggy Krist has a talent for expressing the beauty occurring in our natural world that moves our senses to feel the interconnectedness we all share with the Earth and all within it. Whether it be a simple pair of cardinals gracing her backyard or a moonlit landscape of majestic mountains, Peggy captures the feeling of that moment so gracefully with her oils and canvas.
Hello, My name is Shannan Hejhal. I love being a local artist and showing my stuff at MoonRise Gallery. I’ve always been interested in art and writing. I hope you enjoy my work, and thanks.
Stephanie Sleeper has been a graphic artist for longer than she is willing to reveal. Think pre-Apple. With the encouragement of an artist friend and her husband Steve, she began painting in February of 2020.
Stephanie works in watercolor, acrylic, ink, as well as collage materials. Her artistic influences include Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Klee, Nicholas Wilton, Louise Fletcher.
Stephanie and Steve have two daughters and three grandchildren. She is excited to be part of the MoonRise Family.
Trilety wade works in paint, ink, charcoal, digital photography, embroidery, and the written word. She’s never been good at “staying in the lines,” so much of her work is raw and evocative. In all mediums, she is drawn to the following subject matter; the body, the land, and birds & bugs. Beyond her work as a writer, she is currently learning Spanish and loves riding her bike.
I was born in LeMars, Iowa, but have lived much of my life in Omaha, Nebraska. My pottery training began in the College of Art and Technology in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England.
Upon my return to the United States, I studied ceramics at Northwest Missouri State University under Russell Schmaljohn, then at the University of Nebraska at Omaha under Henry Serenco, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree.
I entered a career in public education with the Omaha Public Schools and spent 30 years teaching, and in the administration of the school district. During this time, I continued my love of pottery, working and developing my skills, showing in national and regional shows and selling ware in retail outlets, craft shows and independently.
I currently work from my studio located in Omaha. This has allowed me to take in independent study students and to rent space for others to work in my studio. I have expanded my opportunities by traveling to enter into shows and sell my ware in Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska.