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South Salt Lake Journal

Shades Art Market brings out the unique side of the community

Oct 01, 2022 08:45PM ● By Jesse M. Gonzalez

By Jesse M. Gonzalez | [email protected]

South Salt Lake’s local art community continues to stay vibrant with the help of Shades Brewing, 154 W. Utopia Ave. On Sept. 11, multiple artists took to the backyard of Shades to showcase and sell their creations at Shades Art Market.

The market started small with only a few people trickling in but traffic eventually picked up.

“Shades is a popular place, and the brewing community is pretty tight-knit, so getting my art in that community is important, and getting my name into one brewery could get my name into other breweries. The community could be very helpful for me,” said Stephanie Harper, a local artist who makes her pieces from recycled aluminum cans creating mosaics of U.S. state maps, landscapes and silhouettes of famous people, all with the use of aluminum cans on canvas.

“It’s something to put my energy into, something that I can show. It’s more internal for me; I’m not trying to state something. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’m trying to do something a bit different. I would like to not work in corporate America and do something that’s more creative and not so ‘desk job,’” said Harper, whose day job consists of monitoring credit card activity for corporate businesses.

“It’s been good, but it doesn’t fill your soul,” Harper said. “I started doing art maybe 10 years ago or so. It wasn’t something I did when I was younger; I just started doing it later in life—and really started doing it after I got divorced, and I was like, ‘What do I like to do?’ I kind of had to reinvent myself. I tried some new things and here I am.”

Harper set out to mold herself into what she wanted to become, and did, with a little help from colleagues who would drop aluminum cans into a box in her work office so that she could hone her skills in making aluminum mosaics.

One of the first booths visitors saw at the art market was that of artist Lilly Beaman and her pieces, ranging from abstract paintings to psychedelic, acrylic wood art. 

“People get to come, get a beer and walk around and see stuff and I think that kind of interaction is valuable,” Beaman said. “Since Covid, people have had less to do, and so since a lot of art shows are outside venues, it’s easier for people to be able to do those, and it’s safer.  Also, I think Covid elevated the amount of art shows, and markets in general, because it’s something for people to do when things were still closed down. I started doing art shows during Covid.”

Beaman has always been an artist, as she started drawing at an early age. She took up painting during her first year of college in 2017, falling in love with the art form and continuing to hone her skills as a versatile and eclectic artist.

“I have a very weird brain, and it’s a very good outlet to let those weird things come out onto a canvas. I always say that creativity is my strong suit. I love doing art,” Beaman said. “It takes your mind off everything and you get to live your passion when doing it.”

Beaman said she appreciates the freedom art brings to her life.

“No one can tell me what I’m allowed to put on that paper. When writing a research paper, you have to make it very specific, and I like doing that stuff too, but this is a way to allow your brain to show you and other people what’s stuck up inside there, so putting weird stuff on a paper is freeing,” she said. “I just do it for me.”

Outside of the art world, Beaman has another passion: working with therapy animals.  She has an animal science degree and would eventually like to own a service animal business that could help people struggling with disabilities.

“I would love to be my own boss, whether that’s through my degree and I get to own my own service animal business or if it’s through art. Either way, if I can be my own boss that would be fantastic,” Beaman said.

After participating in over a dozen art shows, Beaman still loves the presence of them.  “It’s fun to meet people, and I’m a very sociable person,” Beaman said. “I have a good time!”