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ArtHop showcases distinctive holiday paintings

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, junior Dana King chronicles her twice-a-month visits to ArtHop.

As my journey in local art education continues, I ventured back to the downtown ArtHop on Dec. 2. The venue I chose for the evening focused on the K-Jewel and KYNO radio stations, having their foyer serve as an art gallery with each station’s curator planning the event.

With Christmas approaching, I noticed a cheery atmosphere at ArtHop; everyone seemed joyful as they viewed the various paintings at the venue.

To complete the picturesque scene, the Fresno City College choir sang traditional Christmas carols. Their performance was great: In addition to the typical melodies, they sang more challenging holiday pieces.

Despite the atmosphere, the holiday paintings did not feature traditional works, like Jesus lying in a manger or Santa Claus delivering presents.

Instead, featured artist Mark DeRaud, former Fresno Pacific University art professor, mainly showcased the crucifix in his art pieces. His purpose was to explain that Christ’s suffering brings forgiveness and healing, and to display how the center of the Bible is the cross.

According to DeRaud, his move to Germany as an adolescent prompted his art career, because a lack of English media caused him to take up art as a hobby. Since then, he has been featured in Salt Fresno Magazine.

At ArtHop, one painting I particularly noticed was an image of a woman being crucified. Though it was a bit creepy, it was a gorgeous, dark work. It seemed to show that without forgiveness and reconciliation, our fate can be drastic and terrifying.

According to DeRaud, this painting depicts the story of how girls who have been abused need to forgive others and themselves, even though they are suffering from it.

Though DeRaud mainly paints biblical artwork, he is also the artist behind the Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria mural displayed at each location.

Though his art is slightly dark, I view it as incredibly beautiful and inspiring. In addition, I love what DeRaud told me about being taken seriously. His story was encouraging because it showed me that, though he is not secular like some artists, he is still respected for his passionate work.

At this ArtHop, I learned that art tells a story: The artists do not just slap different colors on a canvas, but put purpose and thought behind each piece.

The next ArtHop will take place in North Fresno, Dec. 16. Check back soon for a report on that event.

For more photos of this event, check out the slideshow linked above. For more information on ArtHop, read the Dec. 6 column, ArtHop showcases oil, acrylic paintings.

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