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Arts & Entertainment

VisArts illustrator-in-residence Oura Sananikone on this season’s class catalog and what drives his work

Each year, VisArts selects four artists to serve as illustrators-in-residence. The winter 2023 catalog was illustrated by Oura Sananikone, whose work includes painting, comics, zines, action figures, plush art, animation, and music.

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The Visual Arts Center of Richmond (VisArts), one of the area’s premier arts organizations, offering more than 1,000 visual and creative arts classes in clay, wood, fiber, painting, photography, and much more, is preparing to launch its winter catalog of classes. This winter, over 250 adult, youth, and family art classes will be offered to members and the public alike. This season, the center has over 75 brand-new classes scheduled in a variety of media.

Each year, VisArts selects four artists to serve as illustrators-in-residence. Each artist illustrates a catalog and is invited to lead a workshop on the topic of their choice. The winter 2023 catalog was illustrated by Oura Sananikone. Oura’s work includes (but is not limited to) painting, comics, zines, action figures, plush art, animation, and music.

He has exhibited all over Richmond and currently has work at Velocity Comics, Toy Lair–the shop he helped open in Carytown–and his Threadless Artist Shop. Oura graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000.

Our conversation with Oura on what inspires and drives his artwork, as well as his creative process, follows below.

What inspired you to start illustrating?

I’ve never really thought of myself as an “illustrator,” which is funny because I’ve had more illustration jobs than I realized. Ever since I was a kid, all I’ve ever wanted to do is to make art all the time. My grandmother was a huge inspiration. She would do these beautiful watercolor and ink pieces of Laotian life constantly. I guess, in a way, she showed me the virtues of hard work and sticking to your personal vision.

What inspires your work?

Sometimes I feel like everything I see inspires me or influences me in some way: comics, cartoons, zines, other people’s sketchbooks, trips to museums or galleries, street art, fashion, toys, package design, trash by a dumpster, video games, and this new-fangled art being done by artificial intelligence.

How did you get involved with (or learn about) the Featured Illustrator program at VisArts?

I had secretly wanted to illustrate a VisArts class catalog for a while, and when I saw the application for it, I had to at least try. I’m so very glad I did!

Describe your creative process.

My process of creating art is pretty irregular, it seems. Sometimes I do sketches and thumbnails, but there are occasions when the image I had in mind just comes out fully formed. If I get stuck, I usually do a Google search, and that helps come up with different poses or compositions. I am typically sitting on my couch with my iPad late at night when my family is asleep.

What was the inspiration behind the 2022 Winter catalog design?

It’s funny I mentioned AI art before, but I suppose subconsciously, I was thinking about that when brainstorming for the catalog. I would like to think my robots are a little more soulful but who’s to say? Also, I just like drawing robots.
What past projects are you most proud of? Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

I am ecstatic that I finally made packs of my own trading cards. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and realized there was absolutely nothing stopping me from doing it all myself. It’s been a lot of work, and I’m definitely still learning, but they look pretty ok.

What class/workshops (if any) will you be teaching at VisArts this Winter?

Hopefully, I will be teaching my One Screen, Endless Possibilities screen printing class again. It’s always a fun time, and I am always inspired by what others bring to the table. I’ve also proposed a new Artventure class on drawing Pokémon comics!

Members of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond can register for winter classes starting at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, November 9th. Registration opens to the general public at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16. Members can register online, over the phone, or at VisArts’ front desk. For more information about becoming a VisArts member, visit the join page.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that Oura sold his artwork at local shop Oddballs.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Arts & Entertainment

Vendor Applications Open for Richmond Folk Festival

Want to get your arts, crafts, or food in front of thousands for 3 three days in a row? Apply now.

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What’s a Richmond Folk Festival without great food and crafts? Applications are now being accepted for both Food Vending (Due March 31) and for the Craft Marketplace (Due April 7). Spread the word!

FOOD VENDORS

We strive to bring the best in ethnic, regional and traditional foods to delight guests and showcase a wide variety of tempting foods to complement the spirit of the festival. From classic festival fare to exotic flavors from far-flung places around the globe, everyone is sure to find something to love. You’ll have a tough time deciding between Thai, German, Indian and much more. Download guidelines and applications here.

CRAFTS MARKETPLACE

The Marketplace features artisans selling handcrafted and traditional items. Subjects range from jewelry, specialty items, and original artwork. Download guidelines and applications here.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

RiverRock Announce Who Will Rock the River

Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival

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Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival. The 2023 lineup features national and regional talent taking the stage the weekend of May 19-21 as Dominion Energy Riverrock returns to Brown’s Island. The complete music and event schedule is now available at www.RiverrockRVA.com, and registration for participatory sporting events is open as well.

Dominion Energy Riverrock will open on Friday, May 19 with participatory sporting events, including the Belle Isle Blitz 5k-ish Trail Run and the MTB Time Trial ride. The fun continues Saturday with the Monsters of the James Fishing Tournament, James River Scramble (10kish), MTB Enduro ride, Kayak Boatercross, and SUP Cross. For the final day of the festival people can take part in the Bust the Banks Half Marathon or Down River Paddle. The Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs competition, Photo Contest, and Video Contest will take place throughout the weekend.

Kicking things off on stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, May 19, will be The National Reserve, a beloved Brooklyn band whose music is a mix of R&B, New Orleans funk, rock, and soul. They will be followed by the Kitchen Dwellers, one of the festival’s headlining bands. The Montana quartet has amassed over five million streams and has been critically acclaimed nationally for their unique twist on bluegrass.

The lineup on Saturday, May 20 showcases several local Richmond artists. Willie DE starts the afternoon entertainment at 1:00 p.m. Flight Club then takes the stage at 2:00 p.m. with a mix of the music they grew up on, gritty blues, classic rock, and punk. Pharaoh Sistare brings back a style reminiscent of James Brown and Prince at 3:15 p.m and Erin & the Wildfire will treat festival goers to their brand of soul and indie-pop at 4:30 p.m. Sierra Hull will be the first headliner on Saturday. Hull made her Grand Ole Opry debut at age 10 and has continued to break records and earn accolades throughout the bluegrass community. She will take the stage at 6:15 p.m. followed by Neal Francis at 8:00 p.m. Francis’ new album Sentimental Garbage has him touring across the country showcasing his alternative indie hits. Sunday performances include Justin Golden, Cosmic Collective, and will wrap up with some high-octane Appalachian folk from 49 Winchester. All performances at Dominion Energy Riverrock are free and open to the public.

“We’re very excited about this year’s musical line up for Dominion Energy Riverrock,” said Stephen Lecky, Director of Events for Venture Richmond. “We feel that this year has a rich mix of not only local and national acts, but a variety of styles that are guaranteed to appeal to all music fans. We have no doubt that these artists will enhance the outdoor atmosphere along the James River and are sure to be a highlight of the festival.”

Dominion Energy Riverrock Music Lineup

Friday, May 19

Time – Band
6:30 p.m. The National Reserve
8:00 p.m. Kitchen Dwellers

Saturday, May 20

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Willie DE
2:00 p.m. Flight Club
3:15 p.m. Pharaoh Sistare
4:30 p.m. Erin & the Wildfire
6:15 p.m. Sierra Hull
8:00 p.m. Neal Francis

Sunday, May 21

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Justin Golden
2:20 p.m. Cosmic Collective
3:40 p.m. 49 Winchester

Dominion Energy Riverrock is open to the public and is free to all spectators. For event registration and further information about Dominion Energy Riverrock 2023, please visit www.riverrockrva.com.

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Arts & Entertainment

Weinstein JCC hosts 14th annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival January 19-29

This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

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The Weinstein JCC is set to host the 14th Annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival from January 19-29, 2023, as part of the 2022-2023 Arts + Ideas Season. This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

Leslie McGuigan, Director of Cultural Arts for Weinstein JCC, noted that the festival features films based upon various considerations such as awards and nominations, timely subject matter, and input from the film community. “In 2023, five films can be screened in person and two enjoyed virtually,” she said. The schedule of films with a brief synopsis and viewing times, along with information about purchasing tickets for the screenings, can be found here.

A highlight of the festival is the Jan. 22 screening of The Levys of Monticello, a documentary film directed and produced by Steven Pressman. The film focuses on the story of the Levy family’s 89-year ownership and preservation of Monticello and also tells a broader story about anti-Semitism that runs throughout the course of American history, right up to the present day. The film addresses the pivotal role that enslaved people played at Monticello, during both Thomas Jefferson’s and Uriah Levy’s years as owners. There will be a post-film discussion with filmmaker Steven Pressman, who will be joined by Phyllis K. Leffler, Emerita Professor in the Department of History at the University of Virginia.

IN PERSON SCREENINGS

Film: Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen

  • Date: Thurs., Jan. 19 at 6pm [dinner reception and film screening]
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $30 member/$35 nonmember includes pre-show dinner reception

Film: Perfect Strangers

  • Date: Sat., Jan. 21 at 7:30pm
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: The Levys of Monticello

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 22 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of History and Culture 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC and VMHC member/ $12 nonmember

Film: Cinema Sabaya

  • Date: Tues., Jan. 24 at 6:30pm
  • Location: The Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: Valiant Hearts (in partnership with the Virginia Holocaust Museum)

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 29 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC, VHM and VMFA member/$12 nonmember

VIRTUAL SCREENINGS

Film: Berenshtein

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: America

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

For more information about Arts + Ideas programs and to purchase subscription or individual tickets, click here or contact Leslie McGuigan, [email protected].

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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