By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
On a recent Friday, Steven Cross, an artist from Alaska, showed off his unique artwork and materials at Encompass Antiques and Gifts in Crestline.
Cross is a recognized artist of extraordinary techniques, having previously been chosen by Ducks Unlimited for their designs and the National Park Service to design a White House Christmas ornament. In addition, he was the official coin artist for Alaska in 2015 and 2016. He has created some of his art by being inspired while on top of a glacier.
Cross uses unique and unusual materials to create his designs and art. Most of his art is bio-illuminate or fluorescent under a black light. For his new California series of art, he is creating, as is his custom, his own inks and pigments from local natural material. He is incorporating California poppies along with his octopus ink, using exotic remote waters and crushed minerals, including some rare, ground-up meteorite rock in his designs.
For his “Flora and Fauna of North America” series, Cross has designed wildlife and plant designs made out of pigments made from ground-up antlers, bear scat, wild mushrooms and fish bones, plus emeralds, star rubies and diamond dust. He even grinds up different types of coffee to create his shading.
His process is unique; while in the local mountains, he has created many paintings, all of them using some local elements, such as mica schist from the Crestline paraglider launch site and pigments he made from local pinecones.
While at Encompass during the Meet the Artist event, Cross demonstrated how he creates his various styles of pigments and showed the unique tools he uses. He was glad to be able to show off the artwork he has produced while on the mountain.
Despite his many accolades and accomplishments, including being showcased on NBC-TV, Cross is a very humble artist, who has his art exclusively on display at the small but unique Encompass Antiques and Gifts. The meet the artist reception was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk to an artist who expresses his original visions with a strong sense of self but is not prideful or vain.
Original art is a joy to see, enjoy and own. Cross’ artwork, because of the unique materials used, is not large in scale but is petite, and it comes perfectly matted and framed. There are no prints, since each is an original art piece. He demonstrated during the evening the luminescence of each painting with special lighting, but the sparkle of the gems and minerals is easily visible to the naked eye.
At Encompass Antiques, which will celebrate its sixth anniversary on May 28, there is an entire gallery of Cross’ artwork on display. From the plants to the moose and other forest animals, they are a joy to see and are sure to appeal to the nature-based style that many mountain residents like to incorporate into their home décor. These art pieces seem like the type of elegant art styling that will likely be seen in several homes during the next Lake Arrowhead Home Tour.
Encompass owner Louis Boehle and his employees can tell you about each piece and demonstrate their unique features and describe the individual materials used in each one’s creation.
“I am honored to be able to showcase my art in these beautiful mountains,” Cross said. “This has been such a wonderful journey.”
Encompass Antiques and Gifts is located at 23775 Lake Drive in the Lake Gregory Village section of Crestline.