Kana Handel, this year’s SF Spring Arts poster artist, creates fanciful artwork that delights the imagination. She first learned art from her mother, an oil painter. “She encouraged me a lot, in painting and origami,” said Handel. “I always liked art and got serious about it in high school.”
Born and raised in Japan, Handel graduated from an art university there and then worked as a graphic artist. She illustrated many books and magazines, mostly on children’s issues. When Handel moved to the United States she decided to pursue fine art.
Handel said her art is influenced by anything happening around her life — like nature, politics, peace, war — because she loves stories. “I like to find feelings and emotions through what’s happening in the world. I want to make something positive out of something negative,” Handel said.
“I am inspired by peace,” she said. “Even a little peace in somebody’s mind, in everyday life — not necessarily world peace. I also see peace in nature.”
In creating the poster image, Handel worked in mixed media using Japanese dry pigments from nature, sumi-e ink, watercolor, and paper collage.
She is a member of Gainesville’s Artisans’ Guild, the Sweetwater Print Cooperative, and participates in art festivals in Florida and the Midwest, about 15 shows a year. “I like traveling around America; each part is almost like a different country,” Handel said.
Handel’s poster will be unveiled 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 in the President’s Lobby, Robertson Administration Building on the SF Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville. Handel will be present to autograph posters, which will be available for $10 that day; thereafter they will cost $15. The public is invited, admission is free and refreshments will be served.
There is an accompanying show of Handel’s art March 20-April 13 in the President’s Lobby, open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission is free. Her website is kanasarts.com.
SF Spring Arts, an award winning, juried festival, is the longest running arts festival in North Central Florida. Hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15 in historic downtown Gainesville. Rain or shine; admission is free.
SF Spring Arts is part of Gainesville’s inaugural Primavera Festival, a community effort to build new event audiences and to put Gainesville on the cultural destination map.
For more information call Kathryn Lehman, coordinator of SF Cultural Programs, at 352.395.5355 (office) or 352.214.8178 (cell), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit springartsfestival.com. Be a Facebook fan: Santa Fe Spring Arts and Jazz & Blues Festival.