Diane Best was born in Boston, Massachusetts and studied in the San Francisco area, before moving south to Los Angeles. There, she did commercial artwork for the entertainment industry and commissioned portraits, while pursuing and showing her original work.

The high desert wilderness was her home for 8 years, from where she worked freelance for Los Angeles animation studios (background painting) , but over time shifted her focus to capturing the intense drama of the desert landscape that surrounded her through painting, photography, and moving image work.

 “Seeking more and more remote, uninhabited and overlooked corners of the desert, I am interested in preserving or recording a single incredible moment of converging light and landscape while enjoying the space, beauty and quietness of the desert,”  describes Best.

It also never ceases to amaze me that, as heavily populated and built up as Southern California is, that there still remain these vast areas of open wilderness and desert where you can drive miles and miles of dirt roads, and see no one for days, if you choose not to. The importance of keeping this kind of experience (of being alone, in a meditative state, in unpopulated oceans of desert, actually being able to see and ride ‘off into the distance’) protected and available to the public is an overriding motivation for me in my work – hoping to convey a sense of this to those not  living in the middle of it.” Since I wrote this a few years ago, it has become harder to have this kind of experience in southern California, so I have been diving deeper into the West, and exploring Arctic regions – the ice desert.

Working off of the tradition of the American conservationist artists of the 19th century, Best strives to update landscape painting and film making, utilizing contemporary theories of perception that have been influenced by deep ecology, photography, cinema, digital imaging, and animation.

Now dividing her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Joshua Tree, her work has been profiled in publications including Lifescapes: West Coast Art & Design; Palm Springs Life Art & Culture Magazine; Art Patron Magazine (Palm Springs);  a KCET Artbound documentary about her work, aired on KCET (PBS), Los angeles; and the Telluride Inside.

 

Diane Best’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions throughout the country, including:

solo show at the Carnegie Museum in Oxnard, CA 2009                                                       show at the Southwest Museum in L.A. (part of the Autry Center of the American West) solo show of her “Shack” photographs at BoxoProjects NYC 2010

 

RECENT SHOWS (select)

2018

Palm Springs Art Fair, Boxo Projects, Palm Springs, CA

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, solo show, Telluride, CO

Timelapse Film Festival, Joshua Tree, CA

Desert Icons, group show, Yucca Valley, CA

2014-2017

Taylor Junction Gallery, solo shows, Joshua Tree, CA

Salton Sea Show, group show, Marks Art Center, Palm Desert, CA

Open Desert, photography and music group show, Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs Art Fair, Boxo Projects, Palm Springs, CA

Melissa Morgan Fine Art, group show, Palm Desert, CA

Joshua Treenial 2015 & 2017

Objective Painting, group show, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO

Porch Gallery, solo show, Ojai, CA

Bunny Gunner Gallery, solo show, Claremont, CA

 

 

MOVING IMAGE WORK

 

Oz Arts, film Ubehebe, 2016 Nashville, TN

Music video for Son of the Velvet Rat, Blood Red Shoes, CD/video release show, Furstworld, 2017, Joshua Tree, CA

Exploratorium, music & film show (No Destination piece), 2013, San Francisco, CA

AM FM Fest,  film fest showing of Ubehebe, 2015 Flagstaff Arizona,

Joshua Tree International Film Festival, showing of Ubehebe, 2015, Joshua Tree, CA

Best Shorts Competition, award of merit for No Destination and Ubehebe, 2014 & 2015

No Destination, 3-screen video piece shown at Furstworld, 2014, Joshua Tree, CA

Eco Lab, USC curated show, showing of film Cadiz, 2014, Los Angeles, CA

UCSD Film Event, 2015, San Diego, CA

Joshua Treenial 2017, film showing Singularity, Joshua Tree, CA

Joshua Treenial 2015, films Ubehebe, BA BA, No Destination, with live soundtrack music, Joshua Tree, CA

Timelapse Film Festival 2017, film, Hat Trick, Los Angeles, CA

Timelapse Film Festival 2018, film Singularity, Joshua Tree, CA

Video projections for Reverend Screaming Fingers CD release show, Furstworld, Joshua Tree, CA

Moving Image work screening, with live music by 3rd Ear, CD release show, Furstworld, Joshua Tree, CA

 

Representation

BoxoPROJECTS, Joshua Tree, CA

 

She now splits her time between Studio D, in Joshua Tree, and Santa Fe, NM.

 

TEACHING

Desert Institute At Joshua Tree National Park: drawing class, 2007-2012

Visiting Artist: Waterville Valley Cultural Arts Center, Waterville Valley, NH

Painting Workshops, Waterville Valley Cultural Arts Center, Waterville Valley, NH

 

ANIMATION EXPERIENCE

Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Angry Beavers

Rich Animation, Trumpet of the Swan, feature film

Riverstar Entertainment: The Zoomer Crew’s Firs Christmas, Snails, Dream-Makers, Goofballs

Encore Entertainment: Chuckle wood Critters

 

COMMERCIAL CLIENTS (select)

NBC Television, artwork for corporate headquarters

CBS Records, album cover artwork, Patti LaBelle

Warner Brothers Records, album cover artwork, Madonna

Dell Publishing, book cover, The last of the Crazy People

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, poster design

PBS special Creation of the Universe, artwork

Mayan Night Club, painting installation

Private Music, album cover artwork, Bounce the Ocean

HBO comedy special, Taylor Negron, paintings for music video

NBC TV, Shannons Deal, paintings

This Face You Got, art book

 

Commissioned Portraits for numerous private clients, US & Europe

 

EDUCATION

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

San Francisco Art Institute, BFA, San Francisco, CA

Associates in Art, Van Nuys, CA, animation

American Animation Institute, N. Hollywood, CA

 

MOJAVE: I wake every morning to the vast panoramic desert view from my home & studio, watching the light change and weather roll across the mountains and flat plains off in the distance. This vast space, dramatic weather and light of the Mojave continue to draw me in and move me in a way unlike any other landscape. There is a depth and infinite calmness here (not unlike the ocean), but it is also an extreme environment – intense heat, surprisingly cold winters, brutal sun, pitch-black nights, high winds, sudden calm – with an undercurrent of something else at work. And always the possibility that things could change in an instant.

 

ANTARCTICA, fin del mundo: In today’s instant world, it was amazing to experience the passage of time and travel from another era, with long days on incredibly rough seas, storms swirling around the ship. It was like a trip back in time, to a land full of primitive, emotional beauty, devoid of humans. The Arctic air is pristine, giving the sky a particular kind of clarity. Combined with the low, hard light, this becomes mesmerizing and dream-like.

 

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