Meet the Artists

Shannon Celia

Award winning California artist Shannon Celia uses oil paint, palette knives, brushes & the inspiring California seaside to create her vibrant, contemporary coastal vignettes and Americana inspired pieces that burst with color, texture and light. 

"In awe of nature, I am most inspired outside and particularly fond of water, boats, flora and fauna. Often, I experience feelings in terms of color and gratefully, I am able express this in my work."


Hessam Abrishami

**Hessams cottontail is on display at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Born in the city of Shiraz, Iran in 1951. Hessam discovered both his love of art and his own talent for painting when he was 15 years old. As a result he became almost obsessed with painting. Hessam brought his artistic interpretive view to the cottontail project. Hessam’s Conejo Cottontail was inspired by the evolving nature of animals. 

"Modern sensibilities have made animals more human like. Pets and animals world-wide are trained to perform and humor us with tricks like circus animals. We expect them to evolve with us like fast paced machines and technology. As we anthropomorphize them, dress them, train them for our convenience we pull them with us in a more human direction that is less humane - pulling them away from their true animal nature. "                                                                    - Hessam Abrishami


Ann Krasner

Art of the Tango

In the past, especially back in Moscow, Russia where I was born, I often noticed that I have the different vision of the world. I am extremely thankful that I found the way to share this special beautiful world with others.  In my paintings I show the world of common things surrounding us; scenes of everyday life; the beauty of simplicity.  I enjoy bringing together exuberant colors and careering sensibility, humor and sadness. This new world seems so simple at the first glance but so complicated at the same time. I was lucky to share my artwork in numerous museums and galleries around the world.


Wendy Jann & Jen Sutman

Coniglio al Tramonto

**Wendy & Jen's cottontail is on display at the Shoppes in Westlake Village, CA. In front of the TIFA Chocolate & Gelato.

After long time friends and tennis partners, Wendy Jann and Jen Sutman learned of the Conejo Cottontails project, they quickly decided to work together.  They pooled their talents with Jen's keen eye for color and Wendy's skill in plaster.  The two decided to decorate their cottontail in lime plaster in the Fresco style of the Old Masters while capturing the colors and beauty found in the sunsets and terrain of the Conejo Valley. 

The next time you see a cottontail nibbling at your flowers with the glow of the sunset on his back, they hope you think of their sculpture, "Coniglio al Tramonto" (Rabbit in the Sunset). 


Fran Engel

Miss Poppy

  "Having traveled to 49 of our 50 states, I saw Miss Poppy as a California beauty pageant ambassador.  I wanted to evoke our state's diversity and beauty by incorporating some of its most iconic, and my favorite, images--from her Hollywood Bowl cottontail, to a Santa Monica lifeguard station, to our world renowned vineyards and poppy fields, to starry-eyed sunglasses with California citrus flip-flops."

- Fran Engel


Maria Antonia Juliana Carillo de la Guerra

 Maria Antonia Juliana Carrillo de la Guerra, 1786-1843; was the wife of Californio Jose Julian Antonio De la Guerra y Noriega, or El Capitan, commandant of Santa Barbara 1827-42. His portrait is on her necklace.  They held the 1/2 million acre land grant containing Rancho El Conejo. They’re buried in the church crypt at Mission Santa Barbara and their house, Casa de la Guerra, is an historic landmark of Santa Barbara.  

For myself, I’m a multimedia artist, museum and university visual arts instructor and children’s book oral history author and illustrator. I’ve spent several years living in Belgium and France as a museum copyist and landscape artist.  I have a studio at the Santa Monica Airport where two cows for the Madonna Inn will be getting dressed in time for Cow Parade SLO.


Robin Tripaldi

Somebunny Loves You

Los Angeles area artist, Robin Tripaldi works in encaustic, mixed-media and acrylic.

Her contemporary abstract paintings have been exhibited at both the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and Chaffee Community Museum of Art as well as, select juried exhibitions and solo shows.  Her work has appeared in print publications and is in private collections nationwide.

Robin spent many years working in interior design field and for the Skirball museum in Los Angeles before deciding to pursue her art career full-time.  She is very active in the local arts community; she is President and co-founder LaxWax Art – the Los Angeles chapter of the International Encaustic Artists – and was formerly on the Board of Directors for Buenaventura Art Association.


Sharon Riley

"Art has always been important to me.I painted as a young child and was selected in my Junior year of high school to attend summer painting classes at Chouinard Art Institute LA. That was the impetus to continue my exploration of different art mediums at CSUN and CLU, from which I earned a Masters in Education and Minor in Art. Sharing my enthusiasm for art with children has been a gratifying part of my life and I have had the opportunity to teach art in public schools, the Santa Barbara Art Museum, education department, and the Fowler Museum.  Working on the Public Art Conejo Cottontails Project gave me an opportunity to artistically emphasize the Oaks in our beautiful landscape; a subject I found very fulfilling. It seemed natural to me to visualize the Conejo Cottontail encircled within the oaks making it's home under vast, spreading branches. The word "Enchantment" inscribed on the rabbit has a history in literature for children and adults through fairytales, myths and folklore. "Enchantment" inspired my imagination to work with mixed media materials to mosaic the rabbit. I used hand cut stained glass, gold smalti, ceramic leaves I created in my kiln and several colors of paint for an ethereal expression. Presently I work in my studio mosaicking sculptural pieces and imprinting textural plates onto clay."


Judy Koenig

Rosie

"My painting career started when I was four years old, sitting on my neighbor's canvas covered swing, painting the flowers in her backyard with my watercolors. This has culminated in earning a Master's degree in Art from CSUN. Since the early 90's I have traveled around the country, participating in high-end outdoor art festivals, showing and selling my watercolors, oils and pastels. For the past twenty years I have been teaching watercolor painting from my home studio in Simi Valley, CA. Painting roses on my Conejo Cottontail "Rosie" was a natural extension of my passion for flowers. I also hope that the additin of butterflies, ladybugs and bees will be enjoyed by children and families who meet Rosie."


Sheila Fein

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"As a fine artist, I create works with all types of mediums. My work is in private collections across the US and abroad. Day-to-day I teach art to private students as well as run two figurative drawing workshops called People Sketchers (Hillcrest Center for the Arts) and Imaginings Sketch (Artist Studio). This is where I practice drawing the human figure and let my imagination fly. From fantasy portraits, to fantasy pop art, I combine the literal with my imagined world to create my imagery.

Painting the Conejo Cottontail was an amazing experience and I loved adding people, places, local color and animals to the Cottontail creating a roadmap of Conejo Park life. 

Whether, I am creating a painting for the joy of creating or using my craft to illustrate a book, I seek to work without the critic on my shoulder. Following the voice inside has led me to this wonderful and fulfilling dual career." - Sheila Fein


Eliza Day-Green

"The concept behind the Rams Cottontail was to create a vibrant piece that celebrates the return of the Rams to their home in Los Angeles, CA.  I wanted the design to have movement and vitality and to that end I created significant points of visual interest from top to bottom.  Whichever angle you view “Touchdown Rabbit” from, you will see images that have significance for the Rams team.  I felt it was important to reference the historical journey of the team so I included one player in a retro blue and yellow uniform and one in the new uniform.  For the sake of longevity of the piece, no identifying numbers or characteristics were given to the players.  Instead I wanted to represent the players as timeless warriors with face guards reminiscent of dueling knights or gladiators.  The LA skyline with its high rises, palm trees, Hollywood sign and the Memorial Coliseum which is currently the Rams home field, are unmistakable. One of the main design elements is the large Ram rising from a graffiti style font as fireworks explode around it in celebration.  As we move up to the Rabbits ears we see a tonal sunset ending at the tip with the constellation Aries the Ram and the large “R” logo of the team.  Moving back down to the large feet of the Rabbit, I created a whimsical game play on one paw and a graphic football on the other."
                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Eliza Day- Green