James Stanford

Headshot of artist in front of gallery


Who are you? I am James Stanford, I’m a 70 year old artist, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. Who was your biggest influencer? My oldest brother graduated from the University of Nevada with a degree in fine art in 1953. Although he was 18 years older than I, he became a great influence on me. I made up my mind at an early age that I would become an artist too. I grew up surrounded by all of my brother Jerry’s art work, his charcoal studies of plaster casts, his life drawings, and his paintings and sculptures. His work was a true inspiration to me.  What marked the beginning in your digital art career? In 1986, I formed my own graphics studio. It was through this transition that I discovered digital art. I started the first graphics studio in Las Vegas to make the transformation from traditional skills to Macintosh computers. By 1987 we had abandoned chemical typesetting and copy cameras and had entered the world of Photoshop and Illustrator.  I had been using my camera to gather images that I thought I might someday be able to incorporate into my paintings. Without realizing it, I had built up quite a body of photographs. By 1993, I began to concentrate on the digital montage. Soon I discovered that there were many ways to print my digital montages. What artistic themes did you want to focus on? Through my progress as a practitioner of Zen Buddhism I soon discovered what I wanted to explore. Mandala had always interested me. I loved exploring mirrored images. Symmetry had been so difficult to create outside of the copy camera. So, I began to explore the forbidden and formerly impossible world of Perfect Symmetry. Infinitely repeatable patterns became a metaphor for Indra’s Jeweled Net, an ancient description of this holographic universe that we discover when we look within ourselves. Where do you look and what do you look for when creating your images? I realized that it was all happening right in front of me. This self-awareness helped me to overcome all doubt.  Why not examine what is close at hand? Las Vegas, my home town, was certainly worthy of exploration. What better place to explore Pop Culture than in this city of neon signage? And, where better to explore oneself than the Mojave Desert? What is it like to be a Nevada Artist? Well, being an artist in the State of Nevada can be a challenging and very lonely endeavor. I realized in a very practical way that Nevada artists needed more venues to show their work. I have spent my life not only making art, but I have also devoted myself to serving my art local community. In the early 90’s I began to pour myself into helping the newly formed Contemporary Arts Collective in Las Vegas. I can truly say from experience that there is no greater joy than helping other artists to create a more nurturing environment for the benefit of all artists. We Nevada artists need more places to show our work. I think that there is a paucity of space dedicated to performance, installation and alternative work. We need to work harder to help each other out. Most importantly, Las Vegas now needs a major art museum.

abstract art of circle with various colors
abstract art of square with patterns
Abstract art of circle with color and patterns
Square abstract of colors and patterns

Shelby Grauberger

headshot of artist Shelby Grauberger


Shelby Grauberger is a UNR graduate with a Master’s degree in World Languages & Literature. She teaches at UNR in the Core Humanities department and Spanish department, and in her free time, she loves backpacking, cross-stitching, and going to Burning Man! Recently she has been focusing on writing more, especially poetry. What’s one weird thing about Shelby? She won’t eat hot food! Check her out on Instagram @seegrauberger.

Naomi Devore

picture of Naomi Devore


Local mixed media artist Naomi Devore works out of the Potentialist Workshop in downtown Reno creating pottery, paintings, glass carvings, poetry – if you can think of it, she can do it. Working at the Potentialist has definitely expanded her artistic horizons, and she hopes to continue producing art for the Reno community. When she’s not in the studio, you can find her playing with her band Cat Stanley as a vocalist. Check out more of her art at naomidevine.wordpress.com, or on Instagram @trash_nymph.

artwork of abstract cat
artwork of chickens and a dog
artwork title Human Nature
artwork of pink truck traveling on a road
artwork of Chinese archtiecture

Sophia Harrigan

Headshot of Sophia Harrigan


Sophia Harrigan is a Cali-native and a junior Computer Science major at the University of Nevada. She’s been interested in photography since high school, and is the cover artist for the most recent edition of Brushfire!  She hopes to continue pursuing photography and integrate it into her future computer science career. Sophia is very excited to be our first Artist Spotlight of 2018.

abstract artwork of flowers
artwork of water droplet
artwork of peacock feathers
abstract artwork of plants through reflection
leaf artwork

Melanie Perish

Headshot of Melanie Perish


Melanie has been submitting to Brushfire since 2010, but has been interested in poetry for as long as she can remember. She used to work here at the university for Alumni Relations, which is when Joe Crowley suggested she should submit. Melanie draws inspiration for her poetry from women’s writing workshops that she attended in New York City in the 1970s. She’s extremely active in the recovery community, and she enjoys hiking, fishing, and snowshoeing in her free time. Her favorite quote is “While writing is solitary, thinking is collective.”

Featured Work: Wheels

Driving, driven. Bartleby the Scrivener knew and like him,
I would prefer not to and yet I do and know and do
again. Drive, driven. Like Chicago pols: Drive early; drive often;
even the dead drive and we do drive dead: dead-heads, dead-headed
for gardeners and herb connoisseurs alike. It’s better, we’d say,
than driving dead drunk, but it wasn’t. Driving, driven. Under the influence
we drove in droves – not just under the influence of substances, but under the influence
of not-substances, of the insubstantial, of concepts, the concept of crossing or the cross.
We put the trans back into transubstantiation of the soul, of the sole artist or the soul
artist. Is there any other kind? Yes: the sold artist. Drive, driven.
Behind the wheel of a sedan, a compact, a sub-compact, a trans-compact contract
that may delineate the conditions under which we drive or thrive or we survive
despite the obvious driving we do in hazardous conditions –
not only rain, sleet, hail and dark of night – as any driven creature.

Katera Neil

Headshot of Katera Neil


Katera, aka Kat Neil is a Junior Fine Arts major here at the University of Nevada. In her free time Kat stays busy coming up with new art projects or wandering around San Francisco with her boyfriend. Her favorite coffee shop is Bibo’s and she loves that Brushfire is a part of this university! Kat believes that everyone should pursue their passions freely, regardless of what people think.

drawing of a person near a table
self portrait drawing at a table
artwork of a flower shop
pieces of pie artwork

Nathaniel Benjamin

Nathaniel Benjamin portrait


Nathaniel Benjamin is a senior Printmaking major with a Philosophy minor ready to graduate this May! Aside from art, Nathaniel loves riding his bike in his free time. He loves the permanence that Brushfire gives art, and he loves that its audience is so diverse. He is having an exhibition of his work on Thursday March 9th, from 6-8 PM in the Student Galleries South (Jot Travis Building) and would love for you to come. Free food, drinks, and amazing art! Who’s down to go?

Am I you artwork
She sees artwork
Trying to stay positive artwork
Full frame artwork
Letting go artwork
Knowledge black artwork