By Jacqueline Monahan

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2nd Annual International Artexpo Las Vegas Previews at Mandalay Bay to Benefit Sunrise Children's Foundation

About The Show

Artexpo Las Vegas (AELV) showcased the work of over 300 artists at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from September 18-21, along with a silent auction that also featured “Artexpo Culinary Art” creations by Las Vegas Chefs.

Participants included Vincent Pilon, award-winning Executive Pastry Chef of Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino and Brian Howard, Executive Sous Chef for Chef Kerry Simon's CatHouse at the Luxor. The edible “art” dishes were inspired by prominent Artexpo artists.





Proceeds from the auction went to the Las Vegas-based Sunrise Children’s Foundation, which offers 12 programs operating throughout southern Nevada that serve more than 200,000 individuals and their families annually, with a focus on pediatric health and education.

In addition to daily live painting demonstrations, AELV offered attendees a first look at artworks by nationally and internationally renowned artists (over 20 countries worldwide) and spotlighting the galleries and publishers representing them with an emphasis on original paintings, sculptures and limited-edition prints. The show also included a first-time SOLO section, highlighting emerging and independent artists. The EXPOSURE section featured photographic images and the American Style-sponsored Decorative Arts & Design Pavilion featured fine crafts and functional art.

Featured Artist

Sergey Cherep, an especially prolific, award-winning artist, painted four canvases during each day of the event. That’s actually a slow day for the man, who typically starts up to seven new canvases per day. Winner of the 2007 ARTV Muse Award for “Best in Oil” Cherep was filmed - while he painted - for an upcoming art reality TV show, “The Big Brush-Off”, created by Audrey Roberts, the President/Executive Director and founder of ARTV and longtime Las Vegas resident. The show is to be broadcast on the NBC-Bravo TV network. Cherep’s compositions were available for sale at the completion of his daily live demonstrations.





Cherep, was born in St. Petersburg Russia (formerly Leningrad), and has studied art since the age of 8, attending the prestigious Serovo Art Institute, and gaining extensive knowledge in all of the classic art forms including European art history, photography, printing processes, sculpture, and restoration methods. You could rightly call him a man for all seasons, and he’ll inject more color than you ever thought possible into the atmosphere. He’s also a professor at the Accademia del Verbanzo in Italy.



He’s absolutely fearless, undaunted by bright colors, multi-layers, time constraints, or working in a most unforgiving medium – oil paint, the equivalent of a permanent magic marker to less accomplished beings. Cherep makes it look easy, a testament to his skill and confidence. Brush strokes are swift and colors are as vibrant as possible. No gray-sky realism for this man who views the ordinary but paints the fantastic. Sunflowers, landscapes and seascapes are favorite subjects, and his work had been called Monet-inspired.




“I am in a different state when I paint, focused only on what I am doing,” says the artist. His work is exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, Australia and Russia (St Petersburg and Moscow). He is involved in numerous charitable causes including the Make a Wish! Foundation in addition to donating a canvas, “Sunflowers” to AELV’s silent auction for the benefit of the Sunrise Children’s Foundation. Mayor Oscar Goodman proclaimed May 21, 2001 Sergey Cherep Day for the artist’s work within the community.



He creates as many as 300 new works a year, and described his creative method to me as follows: “I surround myself with as many as seven canvases from small to large. Then, I paint on each of them as the mood strikes, sometimes in order, sometimes not.” He revisits his creations several times, adding layers of paint, changing compositions and seeing where the process takes him. Having embraced a Post-Impressionist style (made famous by Van Gogh), Cherep piles on the paint, using thickness and color perspective to create a three dimensional feeling. He likens his paintings to fairytales saying, “I don’t see things as realistic,” preferring his own version of a fantasy world to shine through.

Yes, he’s done a self portrait and painted a series of human subjects, but has largely discontinued the practice, saying “every time I do one, the relationship seems to break up.” Land and seascapes suit him just fine and have become the lively, recognizable views he’s known for. Even his young daughter, Dascha, gets into the act, and is allowed to add layers of paint to her dad’s works-in-progress at his Atlanta studio. When asked by his worried wife, Renee, if the child had inadvertently ruined a painting, Cherep just smiles. “She can’t. It’s wonderful. Art is interactive, and she’s learning herself.” I told you he was fearless.

Children’s charities are especially close to his heart. “Children are helpless,” he asserts, “they have no power, and they are often afraid. I want to do something for them.” He rarely misses the chance.

The affable, enthusiastic, soft-spoken man has come a long way from the $4.25 an hour cleaning service employee for the I.R.S. His first show was in their cafeteria, and since then, he has been able to add many commas and decimals to the value of his much sought-after creations – just the type of information you want the I.R.S. to know.

In the brief time I interviewed Sergey Cherep, I was taken by his gentle demeanor and quiet excitement for his craft. His bold style leaps out of the painting and into your eyes, to the point of being instantly recognizable, a plus for any artist, but especially gratifying for this maverick, who along with caviar, has become one of my favorite Russian imports.

Other Artexpo Las Vegas Highlights

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s artwork, depicting happy skeleton-like creatures in semi-dance mode hung from the SPS Limelight booth. A lifelike octopus swam in mid-air at the Wyland Foundation’s display, filled with life-like aquatic sculptures. The only thing missing was water.






Random Elements by Kimo Easterwood are photographic images that are put together (sometimes as many as 50 pieces) to comprise one stunning image. Easterwood uses the relatively new medium of giclée (pronounced zhee-clay) is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. More than 40 other exhibiting artists, galleries and studios use the process.



Aaron Foster’s medium of choice is license plates, hundreds of them created in the shape of a peace sign or the United States. Andy Thomas captures a buffalo hunt and other glories of the Old West, but his most popular paintings to date are called “Big Dawgs” Playin’ Poker featuring Democratic and Republican presidents in a friendly game of poker within party lines, of course. One carries the title “True Blues” and one is called “The Grand Ol’ Gang.” I’m betting you know the affiliations.





Stephen Holland does baseball with a reverence and detailed nuance reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s famous slices of life. David Mann’s Native American features Apache, Navajo and Pueblo Nations represented in ways that are regal and respectful. Dale Mathis sculptures are retro and futuristic at the same time, a unique vision. Daniel Sztyber’s Floral Art pours nature onto canvas with striking flower bouquets and garden compositions that will get you through stark winters with their optimistic reminders of springtime majesty.



The National Gallery of Art from Abuja, Nigeria had an impressive display of paintings and mosaic-like images on canvas which captured the spirit and creativity of that country’s artistic temperament. The David O’Keefe Studios specialize in pop culture icons, portraits and sculptures. One of their artists was creating an iconic face as his own picture was taken, making for a startling comparison shot. Ocean Clark’s live demonstration artist was captured as he touched up Marilyn Monroe’s makeup. Marina Reiter’s colorful abstracts are reminiscent of whimsical cells under a microscope, something like what you’d imagine a rainbow might be comprised of.













Tatyana International Art, Inc. showcased modern master Vyacheslav Michailov, whose work “Lady in the Window” looks like it could have been preserved from a Renaissance setting.

The variety of talent is astounding. Walking down carpeted aisles full of oils, metals, prints, ceramics, lithographs, sculptures, acrylics and watercolors is a head spinning exercise in creative absorption; your brain is the paintbrush. You’ll be inspired, enchanted, maybe even perplexed. What you won’t be is bored.



For further information:


LAVO and The Palazzo Las Vegas Present a Cocktail Reception Hosted by Pharrell at Barneys New York

Barneys New York, the flagship retailer in the Palazzo Las Vegas, was the ultra-fashionable location for the launch of the Billionaire Boys Club line of clothing by singer-songwriter/music producer Pharrell Williams on Sunday, September 21.

Amid cocktails (champagne, Lemon Drops, sparkling water) and hors d’oeuvres (tuna tartar on paella cake, artichoke dip on pita crisps, eggplant and goat cheese bruschetta, and skewered Kobe meatballs) provided by Lavo, the newest restaurant and nightlife venue at The Palazzo, guests were treated to static displays of the contemporary urban clothing as well as some living billboards in the form of young men who sported the fashions and posed obligingly for media representatives.


Held on the second floor men’s area of the stylish, a large domed skylight pumped natural light into the spacious area, although the cream colored ceiling held scores of track lights.  The highly polished stone and wood floors added extra sheen, and large columns rose from the ground periodically to lend a classical feel to the space.  This is Barneys New York, after all, the store that Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker believes is a fitting reward for good behavior.  Looking around, you realize what she means.

A giant silver horse greets you at the top of the stairs to the second floor and is constructed of shiny silver clothes hangers, meticulously bent and welded together to form the noble steed.  Must be a “clotheshorse” I remarked, noting that men qualify for that moniker as well.


Amid racks of Armani, Prada, Marc Jacobs and Rag & Bone clothing, the Billionaire Boys Club line appeared fun and youthful, apparel to relax in, or “kick back.”  Colorful T-shirts, zippered hoodies, and thick, dark, denim wide-leg pants comprised a large part of the line, which also includes polos, sweatshirts, knits, suits and shirts; outerwear in leather, down, cotton, and technical fabrics, hats, sneakers, underwear, socks and accessories. Pharrell’s arrival caused a line to quickly form for a chance to have pictures taken with the Grammy award winner.  Attendees included hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and hip-hop artist and actor Common (a Chicago native, as is your humble correspondent).  

Known simply as Pharrell, (accent on the second syllable) the entertainer and businessman, along with collaborator Chad Hugo comprise The Neptunes; the musical duo produce pop, hip hop and R&B music.  Pharrell is also the lead singer and drummer of the funk-rock band, N*E*R*D.  As part of The Neptunes, Pharrell has produced numerous hit singles for various music artists including Beyonce, Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in addition to his own original million-selling music.


As if that isn’t enough, Pharrell also offers a line of shoes (Ice Cream Footwear) to round out his fashion empire.  The young entrepreneur, only 35 years old, seems to be well on the way to becoming a member of his own club.  That’s billionaire, with a “B.”

And that “B” can be found amid the fabulous fashions on the upper level of Barneys New York at the Palazzo Las Vegas.


For Further Information:

Billionaire Boys Club/Ice Cream Footwear

Barneys New York
Palazzo Las Vegas
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV  89109
(702)  731-1986

Palazzo Las Vegas
(702)  791-1800