WHYY's ArtWorks draws on performing and visual arts stories from its sister PBS stations to bring viewers a geographically diverse arts experience.

Featured Artists: Robert Silvers, Chholing Taha, Don Mitchell and Stephen Jones

Unique pieces grace a Las Vegas airport, a Native American artist reinterprets ancestral stories and imagery, an internationally famous sculptor ignites imagination with his whimsical designs, and a milliner outfits royalty with his creations.

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Robert Silvers

Celebrated artist Robert Silvers invented the Photomosaic process while still a student at MIT. His intricate works offer a unique perspective and have gained worldwide acclaim. Silvers used thousands of images depicting planes, trains and automobiles submitted by nearly 33,000 elementary, middle and high school students from Clark County, Las Vegas to recreate the ten winning images through the digital art form. The 10 images are presented on glass panels measuring 8′ x 12′, mounted just off the wall and backlit to create an artfully-inspired experience for passing travelers of the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.

  • McCarran Airport, Robert Silvers, Las Vegas

Chholing Taha

Artist Statement: — “I am certified Native American artisan of Cree First Nations heritage. I have been art-crafting and writing intensively for the past 40+ years. My family and beloved pugs now reside within the stunning boundaries of Minnesota. Living has been a circular journey. Traveling through sometimes stormy canvases and eventually flying into the open skies splashed across shawls. As with all living beings we will return back to the beginning at the end of the trail, a time for review, heart lights reflection. My art works may be found in museum, corporate and private collections throughout the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.

Many people wonder: “Chholing, why don’t the people in your paintings have faces detailed on them?” I leave a blank canvas within a finished painting, the face, so whomever views these experiences will have a place to stand within the image. I don’t want any preconceived notions, confusion or likeness to distract from a deep sharing of my heart’s vision. Each painting depicts an inner transformation. These stories are from dialogs with my Aunties, other relations, and friends who braved the journey to discover ones self. Often it was a healing of sorts, a confrontation with spirits, and self realization, or the peace of collecting medicine. I invite you to come along with me and lets walk slowly together along the road towards home. The intimate experience of an internal dialog will bridge time and space for human beings and all living matter. All work produced is to invoke a universal living experience to encourage, bring hope, inspire and touch the child sleeping within all of us. It is my wish to bring a sense of wonder, common bonds and excitement between the audience, and myself through narrative the experience we will share. An experience of symbols, emotions, confrontations, Life & Death and beyond.”

Slideshow below: Samples of Chholing Taha’s work:

Don Mitchell

Arne Hansen, noted art historian and museum curator said of Mitchell’s work: “Don Mitchell, a nationally collected Colorado sculptor is an interesting study in contrasts. His somewhat surreal, colorful sculptures are reminiscent, but not derivative, of the works of Miro, Calder, and Dubuffet. But the humor and odd juxtapositions of elements in Mitchell’s work makes it child-like and extremely sophisticated. This mixture of qualities attracts both very young viewers and major collectors of American art”. To date Don has sold over 1200 sculptures.

Since completion of his first public monumental sculpture in 1990, commercial and public commissions have become an important and growing aspect of Don’s work. Thirty public sculptures have been completed since 1999, with sizes ranging to 242 inches in height. Large scale wall sculptures which depict in a positive colorful way a product line or process, people interacting, or a fun story is another growing area. Six monumental outdoor sculptures for the Standley Lake Marketplace in Westminster, CO were completed in 1999 and an eighteen-foot tall public sculpture called New Ideas was completed for the City of Lakewood, CO in 2000. A large wall mounted sculpture was completed in 2001 for South Suburban Park and Recreation District. In January 2000, Don was one of the judges for the International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, CO. In 2002, Don completed a twenty foot tall sculpture for the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a monumental piece for the City of Aurora, CO, new Sports Park. In 2003 a monumental piece was completed for the City of Littleton, CO. In 2004, Don completed a series of six large windscreen panels for the city of Oklahoma City, OK , and a large private commission in Iowa.
  • Don Mitchell sculpture

An eighteen foot tall piece for the city of Thornton, CO was completed in March of 2005. In 2006 Don completed a large private commission for JWD Company, LLC and another for the City of Iowa City, Iowa. In 1991 his small sculptures were introduced at the museum store show in Houston, Texas. Currently, more than thirty major museum stores across the country are carrying these pieces, including the Smithsonian Institute, The Whitney, in New York, MOCA in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City. Typically these pieces are about 18 inches high, are made from aluminum and often were created from maquette studies of larger sculptures.

Stephen Jones

Born in Cheshire, and schooled in Liverpool, Stephen Jones burst on to the London fashion scene during its explosion of street style in the late seventies. By day, he was a student at St Martins; after dark he was one of that era’s uncompromising style-blazers at the legendary Blitz nightclub – always crowned with a striking hat of his own idiosyncratic design. By 1980, Jones had opened his first millinery salon in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. Those premises soon became a place of pilgrimage and patronage, as everyone from rock stars to royalty, from Boy George to Diana, Princess of Wales, identified Jones as the milliner who would help them make arresting headlines.

Jones made millinery seem modern and compelling. In materials that were often radical, and in designs that ranged from refined to whimsical, his exquisitely crafted, quixotic hats encapsulated the fashion mood of the moment. Thirty three years later, Jones’s era-defining edge continues to attract a celebrity clientele which includes, Rihanna, Dita von Teese, Mick Jagger, and the Princesses.

Rei Kawakubo is only one name in the rollcall of fashion designers with whom Jones has collaborated. Since the early 80s Stephen Jones has collaborated with designers from Vivienne Westwood and Claude Montana throughout to his current work with Raf Simons for Dior, Jones’ hats have been an integral component in some of the most memorable runway spectacles of the past quarter century.

  • Stephen Jones hats

Today, Jones’ retail boutique, design studio and workroom are all located in a charming Georgian townhouse close to the site of his very first millinery salon. In addition to his Model Millinery collection, he designs the widely-distributed Miss Jones and JonesBoy diffusion ranges. In 2013 Stephen launched his first collection at Debenhams, called ‘Top Hat by Stephen Jones,’ which is sold in 40 stores across the UK and online. With Aurora, Stephen Jones designs a collection exclusively for the Japanese customers sold through more than 50 stores.

In 2009 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, he curated the hugely popular exhibition ‘Hats, an Anthology by Stephen Jones’, breaking attendance records around the world. In addition his hats are also collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre in Paris.

Now, as ever, at the forefront of fashion, his beguiling hats routinely grace the most celebrated magazine covers and enliven window displays of the world’s most stylish stores. From runways to race-courses, from pop-promos to royal garden parties, millinery by Stephen Jones adds the exclamation mark to every fashion statement.

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