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DIANE BEST

 

Diane Best was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied in the San Francisco area (Stanford & the San Francisco Art Institute) before moving to Los Angeles. 

In L.A. she created commercial artwork for the entertainment industry and commissioned portraits while pursuing and showing her original artwork.

Best left Los Angeles in 1995 and settled in Joshua Tree, California, where her focus shifted towards capturing the intense drama of the desert landscape that surrounded her through painting, photography and moving-image work.

 

"Seeking more and more remote, uninhabited and overlooked corners of the desert, I am interested in preserving or recording a single incredible moment of converging light and landscape.”

Working in the tradition of American conservationist artists of the 19th century, Best strives to modernize landscape painting and filmmaking using contemporary theories of perception— influenced by deep ecology, photography, cinema, digital imaging and animation.

After 20 years living in the Mojave Desert and producing work based on that environment, Diane has been seeking out the ice deserts of the Arctic and Antarctic: specifically Iceland, Greenland, South Georgia Islands, and Antarctica.

She sees a commonality between the hot deserts of the American Southwest and the cold deserts of the polar regions. These are both harsh environments with vast, empty spaces and small human populations. She has discovered that both landscapes affect her in a similar manner - the expansive space found in each allowing room for creative thought and actions, and the overwhelming (sometimes frightening) beauty in these places are a source for strong emotional landscape work.

 

Diane moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2018 so she could be closer to the wilds of the larger southwest & west.  She now divides her time between Santa Fe and Joshua Tree, CA.  Her work has been profiled in publications including Lifescapes: West Coast Art & Design, Palm Springs Life Art & Culture Magazine, Art Patron Magazine (Palm Springs), a KCET Artbound documentary (on PBS) in LA and Telluride Inside.

 

"It never ceases to amaze me — as heavily populated and built up as Southern California is—that there remain vast areas of open wilderness and desert where you can drive miles and miles of dirt roads, and see no one for days if you choose to. The importance of keeping this kind of experience (being alone, in a meditative state, in unpopulated oceans of desert, actually being able to see and ‘ride off into the distance’) protected and available to the public is an overriding motivation in my work.”

RECENT SHOWS

2014-2023

solo shows

Telluride Arts HQ Gallery, Telluride, CO
Taylor Junction Gallery, Joshua Tree, CA

Porch Gallery, Ojai, CA
Bunny Gunner Gallery, Claremont, CA

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO

group shows (select)

Intersect Palm Springs 2023, Palm Springs, CA

Intersect Palm Springs 2022, Palm Springs, CA
Salton Sea Show, Marks Art Center, Palm Desert, CA
Open Desert, Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs Art Fair, Boxo Projects, Palm Springs, CA
Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Palm Desert, CA
Joshua Treenial 2015
Joshua Treenial 2017 (a parallel project to Desert X, Palm Springs), Joshua Tree, CA

Joshua Treenial 2019
Objective Painting, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO
LAX, Virgin America lobby
Palm Springs Art Fair, Boxo Projects, Palm Springs, CA
Desert Icons, Yucca Valley, CA
Timelapse Film Festival 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, Joshua Tree, CA

MOVING IMAGE WORK

Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA 2013
No Destination, 3-screen video piece shown at Furstworld, Joshua Tree, CA 2014
Eco Lab, USC curated show,Los Angeles, CA 2014
AM FM Fest Flagstaff Arizona, 2015
Joshua Tree International Film Festival Joshua Tree, CA 2015
Best Shorts Competition, award of merit for No Destination and Ubehebe 2014-2015

UCSD Film Event, San Diego, CA 2015
Joshua Treenial 2015 Wonder Valley, CA
Joshua Treenial 2017 Joshua Tree, CA
Joshua Treenial 2019 Joshua Tree, CA
Timelapse Film Festival 2017, Los Angeles, CA
Timelapse Film Festival 2018, Joshua Tree, CA
Timelapse Film Festival 2019, Joshua Tree, CA
Music Video for Son of the Velvet Rat, CD/video release, Furstworld, Joshua Tree 2017

Video work for Reverend Screaming Fingers CD release show, Furstworld, Joshua Tree, CA

Oz Arts, Nashville, TN

TEACHING
Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park: 2007 - 2011
Waterville Valley Cultural Arts Center, Visiting Artist and Painting Workshops, Waterville Valley, NH

ANIMATION WORK
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Rich Animation, feature film
Riverstar Entertainment

Encore Entertainment
COMMERCIAL CLIENTS (select)
NBC Television, artwork for corporate headquarters
CBS Records, album cover artwork, Patti LaBelle
Warner Brothers Records, album cover artwork, Madonna
Dell Publishing, book cover, The Last of the Crazy People
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, poster design
PBS special Creation of the Universe, artwork
Mayan Night Club, painting installation
Private Music, album cover artwork, Bounce the Ocean
HBO comedy special, Taylor Negron, paintings for music video
NBC TV, Shannons Deal, paintings
EDUCATION
Stanford University, Palo Alto CA
San Francisco Art Institute, BFA, San Francisco, CA
Associates in Art, Van Nuys, CA animation background painting
American Animation Institute, N. Hollywood, CA

Commissioned Portraits for numerous private clients, US & Europe

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