The Gem and Jam Festival is a fully immersive art journey, featuring much more art than just music. The art that weaved in and out of the festival grounds creating an experience like no other. Walking around the campsites were traveling vendors who traded and sold unique works of art that they made. One of the traveling vendors was Kyle Morton who had a fine selection of hand blown glass pendants. I was pleasantly surprised to run into him since I have been following his work on Instagram for a number of years. Another traveling vendor was Lyn Sweetart she was walking around with her sketchbook and a few prints. We enjoyed having her come to our camp to give us a personal art show. She was also live painting at the festival and made the super rad alien painting you can see her holding in the photo below.
At the entrance were gigantic sculptures featuring saguaro cactus and huge crystals surrounding couches. This installation was titled “Sonora” and was designed and created by RedViolet Art. We were pleased by how this installation offered festival goers the perfect place to take group photos. This larger than life exhibit was exceptional for taking photos at sunrise and sunset.
Tents were all around the festival featuring what seemed like an endless amount of galleries. The artwork displayed at these galleries depicting the human connection to music, nature and one another. The art on display was often depicted as otherworldly with elements of space, spirits, and entities. Dozens of artists painted before the crowd influenced by the vibrations of the music. They delicately transformed the tone of the music into art with each stroke brought down upon the canvas. A few of our favorite of the painters were Laura McGowan and John Speaker. Be sure to check out their work online. People danced around the artists to the sound of the music and were inspired by their creativity. The creativity of everyone flowed together like a breath. The artists breathed in the music and exhaled out brushstrokes.
Two vendors that stuck out to us were Colorado Kaleidoscope Company and Geolume. Both of these companies have geometrically inspired products that are a wonder to gaze upon. The kaleidoscopes came in a variety of designs made of wood or metal. I was particularly fascinated by the teleidoscope Binoculars which were a delight to gaze upon the stage lighting with. The Geolume lamps were geometrically shaped polygons that had designs laser cut into them. When the light shined through the cutout design it cast a shadow across the room, projecting outwards honeycomb designs and sacred geometry.
One of the most interesting installments I found at the Gem and Jam music festival was the story of the Enuma Elish which tells the story of the creation of our solar system and how the earth and moon came to be. This story originates from an ancient Sumerian text and it is said that we started out with three gods, the sun, mercury, and Tiamat. The three came together and created Venus (love), Mars (war), Jupiter (land), Saturn (foremost Heavens), Uranus (heavens), and Neptune (creator). At first, the planets were chaotic tugging at gravitational pulls. Another planet named Niburu the avenger orbited opposite of all other planets and tore pieces away from Tiamat’s belly creating eleven moons. As Niburu moved closer the moons were expelled into different orbits, cracking Tiamat into several pieces. Niburu cracked Tiamat in half and her lower half became the bracelets of the heavens and her skull was stuck creating the north wind setting them into a new orbit. Over time this would form into mother earth and her son the moon.
Review by Anne Tighe and Brandon Lopez