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Last art walk of season sure to thrill

20-year-old Auburnite paints through degenerative eye disease
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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While an event showcasing local artists is coming to an end, participants say there is a lot to be proud of. The Auburn Art Walk is holding its final show of the season Thursday night in Downtown and Old Town Auburn. Angela Tahti, executive director of Placer Arts, said there is a lot to look forward to with Thursday’s event. “I’m excited about the weather because it looks like it will be another nice day, but hopefully it will be a little cooler,” Tahti said. “I love to see the community mixing it up a little — folks on date night, folks out on meetings, out with family, there is something for everyone. There is really good food along the way.” Tahti said the event is important because it’s a chance to show off local businesses as well as artists and their work. Auburn resident David Kochenderfer, 20, is one of the artists featured at Traci Owens’ Studio Eight 02. Kochenderfer works with acrylics now, but says he also hopes to work with oils in the future. Kochenderfer has an eye nerve disease called Stargardt disease, or a muscular degeneration that causes a progressive vision loss. He said he definitely feels proud to be able to express himself through painting even though he has the disease. “I came to painting because I love to write and I wanted to create the cover, and the back cover and all the illustrations for my own stories,” he said. “I started with chalk and then I went into painting.” Kochenderfer said he has been painting since March and took his first chalk lesson three years ago. “Right now I’m still in the learning process, and I’m just doing different things all the time, but my favorite subjects for my writing and my painting are fantasy subjects, dragons, fairies, preferably dragons though,” he said. The art walk is a way to enjoy other works as well, Kochenderfer said. “For me it’s just a chance to share my paintings with other people, and to see theirs and to see how everyone has improved,” he said. “Going around and seeing all those paintings is also just so incredibly inspiring.” Auburn resident Barry Walton has his photography on display at Courthouse Coffee and said while he has been involved in the art for 35 years, he has been able to take it more seriously since his retirement in 2005. He said he is particularly proud of one photograph of a lava flow in Hawaii and said the photograph won Picture of the Year through the Placer Camera Club. “I just always enjoyed photography,” he said. “I like being outdoors. I’m an outdoor photographer. For me to be able to capture a beautiful image of outdoors is something I like to add to my own life and hopefully others’ lives as well.” Tahti said she is proud of the work done by the Auburn Art Walk committee members, who are all volunteers. Tahti said the committee will start work on the 2012 art walk season in February. Walton said he thinks without the art walk in Auburn, many community members might not be aware of the art that exists in the area. “I think Auburn has a lot of unique attributes to it being a small community, but I think one of the things that is easily overlooked by the public … is the contribution by all the various artists in the community.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ----------------------------------------------------- Auburn Art Walk last show of the season When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday Where: Various venues in Downtown and Old Town Auburn Cost: Free Highlights: • Petting Zoo, a garbage can percussion group • 70 artists in 30 different venues • The Berserker contraption driven by Michael Kent Murphy and Maureen Murphy • Placer Arts 360 membership show with 110 works ----------------------------------------------------- The Berserker A unique piece of art is coming to Auburn for the art walk. Auburn residents and architects Michael Kent Murphy and Maureen Murphy will have their Berserker contraption on display during the last Auburn Art Walk of the season. Michael Murphy said he and his daughter got the Berserker from a friend about five years ago, but added wings to it themselves. The contraption, which has been on display previously in front of the State Theater, is scheduled to shoot fire up into the air every 15 minutes during the show. Murphy said the contraption burns propane and directly vents propane over igniters, which makes the fire. Murphy and his daughter take the pedal-driven object to the Burning Man festival every year. Because his company has done so much work on buildings in Old Town, Murphy said he also wanted to bring this level of spectacle to Old Town. “It’s built to pedal around, but we found it has such presence in stationary mode, especially when we blow fire, that it’s a spectacle and it makes people really laugh,” Murphy said. “They get great joy out of being exposed to the effect of such an outrageous looking vehicle and the huge fireballs emitting above it. It has a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor to it with the wings and on the back of it has a little bird cage with a little (fake) canary in it.” ~Bridget Jones