Sip and see

Danny Shervin paints with gunpowder a brush and a flame. Shervin is one of eight artists set to participate in the Sunday Sip and See event at Old West Days.

Locals don’t call it “Cold Wet Days” for nothing.

In previous years Jackson’s springtime festival has had a bit of a dark cloud following it — literally. Freak spring storms aren’t uncommon in the Tetons, and anyone at last year’s inaugural Sunday Sip and See event faced that reality.

“There was a giant river running through the middle of the tent down the street,” artist Danny Shervin said.

Luckily for Shervin, who works with gunpowder and fire to create strikingly delicate and detailed artworks, the tent gave him and the handful of other artists enough shelter from the storm to keep working, and, more importantly, have a good time.

This year Shervin is hoping for clear skies. But while no one can make promises about spring weather in the Tetons, this year’s second annual Sip and See does promise to reveal a behind-the-scenes look at local artists’ creative processes.

From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday eight artists will make Deloney Avenue their open studios. Shervin will be joined by Emily Boespflug, Borbay, Emory Cooper, Fred Kingwill, John Springer, Lyndsay McCandless and Nicole Gaitan Felton.

Watching these artists work is the “See” part of the event. Roadhouse Brewing Co. and Jackson Hole Winery will sell libations for the “Sip” portion.

If you’ve been to the Fall Arts Festival’s signature QuickDraw event, Sunday’s Sip and See will be familiar, but more low key. Instead of a timed and regulated event ending with an auction, the Sip and See will be a group artist demonstration. With drinks in hand, onlookers will have the chance to see artists’ work come to life before their eyes and ask questions.

There are no rules at this year’s artist showcase. Some artists will be starting works, others will be finishing them, and some, like Shervin, will be completing a work from beginning to end. Unsurprisingly, unglued gunpowder doesn’t travel well on a canvas, so you’ll have the chance to see Shervin’s unique approach to painting, if you could call it that, in one sitting.

Shervin discovered gunpowder as a medium while playing around with model rockets in college, though he didn’t become serious about putting the new method into practice for a few years. In his artwork Shervin lays a canvas on a flat surface and applies gunpowder to it. After using a brush to arrange the gunpowder into a design or image he ignites the canvas.

“Expect to see some fire,” he said.

Because he will be finishing a work from a blank canvas, Shervin is setting up a bit earlier than the official start time, heading to the tent sometime soon after Cowboy Church.

Boespflug is one of the artists who will use the showing to continue pieces they have already started. She will be working on a piece that will hang in her June solo exhibition at the Caldera House.

Though exposing an unfinished product can be a bit intimidating, Boespflug said that with years of practice at the QuickDraw and other live competitions she has “totally gotten over that point.” She has also become master of multitasking while painting.

“A lot of times I’ll call people on the phone and work at the same time,” she said. “I also face paint, so I’m used to people watching and talking to me.”

So come prepared with questions and ready watch art unfold in real time.

“The process is like performance art,” Shervin said. “It’s hard for some people to understand how some of these techniques are done. It’s always cool to see how people actually do their work, rather than seeing the finished piece.”

The Million Dollar Music Fest begins at 5 p.m., so feel free to use the Sip and See as an excuse to get an early start to your evening and get a good spot in the crowd. 

Contact Julie Kukral via 732-7062 or

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.