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Utah Arts Festival is back after a year off due to COVID-19

"Cardinal" was created in the computer and burned into wood using a laser engraving machine and is based on the work of M.C. Escher.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Arts Festival is coming back to Salt Lake City this weekend, Aug. 27-29 at Library Square.

After an absence during the peak COVID-19 season of 2020, the event is back with film screenings, ballet performances, musical acts, and booths set up where artists display their work.

Booth 76 is where you’ll see local artist Vincent Mattina.  Mattina describes himself as a multi-media artist, concentrating on graphic and digital art. Mattina says this is his first show in more than a year.  He hopes everyone will come out this weekend and enjoy the safety of the large outdoor festival.

“Nothing is mandatory, masks are not mandatory, I will probably wear one, but I feel fairly safe outside. They (the organizers) don’t seem to be too concerned about it at this point,” said Mattina.

Organizers of the event say despite lack of restrictions or mandates, they are discouraging patrons who are experiencing CDC-outlined symptoms from attending. Also, being vaccinated and wearing a mask is the best way to keep yourself and others safe.

“We welcome anyone who is concerned about the risk of COVID to wear a mask at the Utah Arts Festival for their safety,” according to the arts festival’s website.

Multidisciplinary artist

Mattina describes himself as a multi-disciplinary  artist who works in digital, mixed media, photography and assemblage art.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Mattina began his love affair with art when he was first able to hold a pencil. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Fine Art and Illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. He says he learned fairly early on to diversify.

“For me I’d rather just do a different media and just kind of stand out on my own that way, try to be a little more innovative. There’s nothing wrong with doing landscapes and canvases, but it’s just not my thing,” said Mattina.

Mattina found his career in the Los Angeles area. There he worked as a Graphic Designer, Art Director and then Creative Director. There he became fluent in Photoshop, finding a new tool to create his art. His work with laser engraving will be on display at Booth 76 this weekend.

Moving to Salt Lake City was in the cards

Mattina says the move to Salt Lake City came at the perfect time. It’s almost as if fate intervened.

“My wife and I actually got laid off the same day from different companies that we worked at and so we saw it as a sign that it was time to get out. I could pay my mortgage for another 30 years or we could just start anew and move out somewhere else, some place that we really wanted to live,” said Mattina.

Mattina says he and his wife can enjoy the mountains and skiing while he works remotely.  He does freelance work for companies in California.

His artwork is included in numerous private art collections throughout the U.S. as well as being published and collected internationally.

“From Sea to Shining Sea” is a digital piece from a series commenting on topics such as sustainability, our reliance of fossil fuels and coal, fracking and damage to our drinking water, environmental pollutants, and our contribution to climate change.

“Delta Waves” is a digital piece about Mattina’s real-life struggle with sleep apnea that inspired an ongoing series of works called “Sleepless”. Vince uses a C-PAP machine to help breath at night. One of the effects of using the C-PAP machine is a feeling of being under water, which is for the artist a metaphor for diving into the unconscious.