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From palm trees to aspens

Wren Wertin

She and several other artists spent months in a warehouse, working on small sections of the “forest,” building palm trees and other growth for the Hanoi setting.

“It’s neat to see your work on the big screen,” she said. “But it’s a real bummer to see it exploded.”

Which may be why the artist prefers to stick to paints and canvas now. There’s something to be said for the freedom to create and keep it.



Trevino, director of PISMO Gallery in Beaver Creek is the newest Plaza Gallery artist. The Plaza Gallery is filled almost exclusively with local artists’ work. Trevino’s canvasses depicting abstract tree-filled landscapes fill a nice niche in the gallery, which has everything from hand-shaped pottery to prints upon artist-made paper.

Growing up outside Yellowstone, Trevino’s world was filled with western art, if any at all. Despite such circumstances, she was always drawn to contemporary art when she saw it.



“And I’ve been painting since forever,” she said.

Trevino went on to scholarship her way first at Hastings College in Neb. and later at California State University in Northridge. It was when she studied at the American Animation Institute that she really pushed her abilities for classical figure drawing and background painting.

“It was really intense,” she explained. “We studied with the best instructors for Disney and Hanna Barbera. They’d bring in a miniature horse, or a giant iguana, and we’d have to animate them in different styles.”



But Trevino didn’t fall prey to the Hollywood dream. A mountain girl at heart, the Northridge earthquake made her decision to leave an easy one. She and her husband packed up and headed for Denver, where she quickly found a job with PISMO Gallery. When they decided to open another gallery, this one in Beaver Creek, Trevino was mountain-bound.

Working in a glass gallery has affected her art, introducing a whole new palate of colors into her canvasses.

“I love the artwork here,” she said. “It’s so different than my medium, the forms and colors are so intense. You can’t get paint like that.”

And yet there’s a sense of a window in Trevino’s canvasses, and a glittery world beyond the pane. Her workplace is obviously reflected in her artwork.

“The art scene is different in L.A.,” she said. “Darker. Everything is for shock value. Here we don’t need to shock anyone – just take it home and have fun. We need that now, in these times.”

Her selections in the gallery come from a couple of different series, all inspired by her mountain surroundings – most prominently the aspen trees.

“Autumn is my favorite time of the year,” said Trevino. “That’s where the falling-leaf confetti (in the paintings) comes from. Some are fun, with whimsical trunks. I love walking amongst the aspens, feeling small.”

Trevino lists her two favorite artists as Monet and Dali, though it’s not always apparent in her work. She recently visited the Chicago Institute when they were holding a Gauguin/Van Gogh show. According to her, standing like a sardine packed into the museum was more than worth it.

“Art is so important,” she said. “It makes you stop and think for a minute, and makes you feel something, too. An emotion, maybe good, maybe bad, it doesn’t matter. But it makes you feel something.”

Nicole Trevino’s art can be seen at the Plaza Gallery at 100 E. Meadow Drive in Vail. For more information on the artist call them at 476-4477. She will also have a one-woman show at the Avon Public Library in January.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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