Colorado Art Ranch brings unique artists to Carpenter Ranch |

Colorado Art Ranch brings unique artists to Carpenter Ranch

John F. Russell

— On Monday evening, residents of Steamboat Springs will have a chance to get to know the artists who are spending this month living on the Carpenter Ranch near Hayden as part of the Colorado Art Ranch project.

The evening will also provide the artists with an opportunity to explain their unique art projects and what they hope to gain from spending the month living in the Yampa Valley.

“What is significant about the Carpenter Ranch and what draws my eye is the fact that this forest along the shores of the river has been protected for over 100 years,” photographer Tama Baldwin said. “Scientifically, it is one of the best examples of a riparian forest in North America. This right here in this county is pretty unique and special, and so from the air, I’m documenting the boundary between the ranch and the nature conservancy.”

Baldwin is one of three artists who are currently living on the ranch and exploring their art. For some of them, the experience is a chance to pursue their art in a unique corner of the world, but it is also a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives and dive deep into their art.

Artist Tama Baldwin

Baldwin’s photographic work is two-dimensional. During the day, she is using her kite to record images of how man and nature interact. At night, she is hoping to capture Colorado’s northern sky and show how man also leaves an impression there.

She said she hopes to create the images that will record how man and nature interact without making a statement about man’s impact on the environment.

During her stay here, Baldwin has been captivated by the Hayden power plant, which is located just across the highway from the Carpenter Ranch, and the impacts of the manmade lights on the night-time sky.

“I like to call it the absence of natural darkness in the landscape,” Baldwin said. “It’s amazing to see how far and how much the light created by the power plant impacts the night sky in this part of Colorado.”

Artist Tatiana Jovancevic

It could be easy to miss Tatiana Jovancevic’s work along the banks of the Yampa River where it flows along the Carpenter Ranch if you are not paying attention.

It takes the form of a curvy line of coal near the water’s edge and chances are that the effects of the elements will wash the art back into the river, or blow it from the face of the earth.

“My ‘land art’ is very ephemeral,” Jovancevic said. “I enjoy working with the materials I find in the environment — wood, sticks water or anything that I can find.”

Her work at the Carpenter Ranch can mostly be found along the banks of the Yampa, but she also has created many drawings during her short time at the Carpenter Ranch.

“What I do disappears pretty quick,” Jovancevic said. “But I’m hoping that it will make a statement.”

She records her work with the help of a small camera that she carries with her when she heads into the field. Normally, her work can be found in parks and other areas in her hometown of Chicago.

“The materials I use amplify the ideas that I’m working out in my art,” Jovancevic said in a biographical statement. “I’m always on the lookout for leaves, wood, old metal scraps, books and random things that I can incorporate into my pieces. There is a sense of redemption at the end of the process. A discarded material is given a new, repurposed life, and so is the artist.”

Artist Nicole Zayatz

After making the three-day drive from Buffalo, New York, Nicole Zayatz wasn’t sure what to expect or how it would impact her work once she started working.

“The project I was working on before I got here was ‘Artifacts from the Future,’ and I’m continuing along that idea, but trying to use things from the area to get textures,” Zayatz said.

But for an artist who normally finds inspiration from e-waste, the Carpenter Ranch has pushed her to pursue new ways to create her artifacts. She looked for plastics, has experimented with grass and is now looking to discover how animal bones she came across can be used in her art

“When I was walking along the railroad tracks looking for plastic, I saw these bones that were really white,” Zayatz said. “They looked really old and had been bleached by the sun, so I picked one up. A couple of days later I decided to see if I could find another and started unearthing all these bones.”

She plans to oil the bones and use them in press molds to create more future artifacts for an upcoming show at the UB Anderson Gallery when she gets back.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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