Vegas art scene continues to grow and get more colorful

I’m no art expert or critic, but I do know what I like.

 I took an ancient art history class in college and was bored out of my mind. But on the other hand, I can look at art by Yoshitomo Nara or Banksy all day.

The beauty of  Las Vegas is that art exists everywhere. While I haven’t checked out every museum or gallery, it’s good to know there are so many options available. From the growing popularity of First Friday and Vegas StrEats in Downtown to fine art galleries on the Las Vegas Strip, you’re bound to see something that’ll catch your eye.

Local artist Jeff Logan's piece, "World's Smallest Violin."

“The Vegas art scene is catching more attention for a reason,” said local artist Jeff Logan. “More fresh artists are coming out, growing and evolving.”

Logan’s art can be seen at Downtown’s First Friday, as well as El Cortez’ Vegas StrEats, hosted every second Saturday. He got his break a few months ago when a First Friday representative approached him at his booth at Vegas StrEats.

His work has been featured in FStudios for the past few months and Vegas StrEats since last May. But Logan has painted since childhood. With influences in anime, street art and graffiti, he created his own style that stands out.

“Inspiration for art comes to me like a beacon of light at times,” said Logan. “Sometimes it’s bright and sometimes it’s not there at all. It can sometimes be sudden [or] take a lot of thought. What inspires me can come from a bug, a flower, the formation of rocks and even life experiences.

“Just like any scene, someone gets inspired to be different from the last cool thing they saw,” he continued. “I’m lucky enough to catch that wave of progression here, showing something that people haven’t seen.” 

If you’re looking for art inspiration on the Las Vegas Strip, look no further than the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. The gallery presents “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light,” opening tomorrow through Jan. 6, 2013. The showcase features 20 pieces by Claude Monet, the founder of French Impressionist painting. 

Claude Monet, "Grainstack (Sunset)." 1891. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2012).

I visited the Monet exhibit last night and felt like I walked through all of the seasons. I find his work inspiring because he didn’t paint picture-perfect pieces like his predecessors. Instead, he captured all of the beautiful imperfections of nature. To me, this seems more real than anything.

My favorite piece is Grainstack (Sunset), seen at right. His paintings lure you in as though you’re experiencing the scene yourself. Another piece that intrigued me is his painting of a river right before dawn. Using dark shading and lavender hues, the piece was simply alluring. According to my listening guide, he would wake up at 3:30 in the morning so he could set up his easel by the river bank and capture the perfect lighting. He executed it perfectly.

Monet’s summer scenes are also amazing — they reminded me of all the times spent at my grandparent’s lake house in Washington. 

“We really encourage people of all different levels to come and view the gallery, whether you are beginner, intermediate, or advanced level on your knowledge,” said Tarissa Tiberti, director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art.

Whether you look at art frequently or never gave it much thought, add some time in your trip to check it out. You really don’t have to be an expert.

“Sometimes they feel like they need to know about art, or they don’t understand it — they feel intimidated,” she said. “[But] in the Vegas scene, there’s so much work to be seen that’s not intimidating. I encourage people to go look at as much stuff as they can. You start to understand things.

Jeff Logan, "Eye of the Bee Holder."

“It’s really all about the viewer, and what they see and what they like,” she continued. “I think people should get out there and see stuff. If you like something, like a particular gallery, a particular artist, keep following them. Keep looking at them. You’ll learn more.”

It may take the city’s art scene a bit to catch up to other metropolitan cities, but at the pace Vegas is going, there’s hope.

“It’s still light years away from other cities, but I think that there are people here trying to make things happen,” said Tiberti.”In probably the last year, we’ve been hearing more of things resurfacing, shifting and moving forward in a new direction.”

“Vegas has its own plan and path,” said Logan. “I believe it can get as big one day, but those cities are evolving as well. We’ll see what happens.”

Martin Lawrence gallery inside Forum Shops (Photo courtesy of Beverly Poppe.)

If you’re staying on the Las Vegas Strip there is plenty of art to see in neighboring hotels. Here’s a quick list of must-see exhibits:

  • Cosmopolitan: If you go park your car here, you’ll find graffiti art splashed on the garage walls (including Shepard Fairey’s “Obey” art).  On the third floor, P3 studio features temporary exhibits. Sometimes you’ll even catch the artist creating a piece right in the studio.
  • The Art of Richard MacDonald inside Bellagio
  • The Gallery at CityCenter
  • Martin Lawrence Galleries:  Located inside the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace, the 26,000-square-foot showcase features hundreds of works from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Erté, among others.
  • Peter Lik Mandalay: Located inside the Shopppes at Mandalay Bay,  the 3,266-square-foot gallery features 55 of Lik’s world-famous photographs, including his famous shots, “Sacred Sunrise” and “Eternal Beauty.”


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my handsome hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.