Artificial Intelligence versus Authenticity

Sales of contemporary and traditional Western art ring true

written by Laura Zuckerman

The Western Design Conference marked its 26th year in September by drawing items from 100 juried artisans to highlight top-notch contemporary and traditional Western art with the added feature of function. The four-day extravaganza at the Snow King Events Center in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, saw the conference and its sponsors distribute a total of $20,250 in awards.

Artist John Hollifield from North Carolina took home the Best of Show award for his handmade, custom bamboo fly rods.

North Carolina craftsman John Hollifield was awarded Best of Show for his beautifully rendered angling equipment known as Hollifield Bamboo Fly Rods. European fashion designer Jenny Hill was awarded Best Artist for Art to Wear Fashion for apparel crafted from felt. And Rebecca Gilberto of Colorado earned Best Collection Award for a stunning line featuring a Southwestern flair.

In other categories, Texas artist Scott Wayne received Best Artist in the leather segment for handcrafted boots under his Tres Outlaws brand, and, for the second time in two years, Wyoming-based artist Jenny Booth evoked excitement and honors for a carved antler entry. Best Artist in the Art to Wear Jewelry category was Kelly Charveaux.

“It was an outstanding year for artists,” event owner and director Allison Merritt said in a statement. “We had many new exhibitors and the feedback has been extremely positive about connections made between exhibitors and guests.”