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Pulling the Forest Along the Road: Darren Petersen and Diana Markessinis



Darren Petersen and Diana Markessinis
November 5, 2016 through January 15, 2017
Opening Reception: November 5th from 7-10pm

Pulling the Forest Along the Road is a collaborative work of HOPE Center for the Arts artist Darren Petersen and mentor artist Diana Markessinis. Developed through a year-long collaboration, this exhibition is the embodiment of an ever-evolving dialogue through cardboard and paint between two artists exploring what it is to be human, to create, and to understand one another. Their work together culminates in the creation of thirty-two individual sculptures and sound installation, a forest of unique and quirky individuals.

The artists wish to thank the various individuals who contributed along the way – collaborative visionary Lisa Lo Russo, sound and video team Sarah Breucrop & Brian Aquino, and all the teachers and students from Hope Center for the Arts – their assistance made this forest come to life.


Darren Petersen is an engineer at heart, who loves to tinker in the studio, building imagined worlds out of cardboard, masking tape and paint. The artist often works by bouncing ideas off of passers-by, developing relationships that reveal as personalities within his creations. His love for the social interactions his pieces encourage is one of the many characteristics that make Darren so engaging as an artist. True to the restless spirit of an artist, he is always seeking to realize his visions, to make them “real.” Through his process he creates visual poetry with his use of humble materials, the immediacy of crude construction, and technological interventions.

Diana Markessinis is a Santa Ana based sculptor and fabricator known for welding organic forms out of salvaged metal. She received her Masters of Fine Art from California State University, Fullerton (’07) and her undergraduate degree in sculpture from West Virginia University (’03), attending special workshops at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, France and the Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine. Markessinis work is currently installed at the Newport Beach Civic Center Sculpture Park, the Los Angeles Arboretum, Park Santiago Nature Center in Santa Ana, and The Artist Village in downtown Santa Ana. Other projects include Ten Feet along the LA River, The Rails for Trails Sculpture Garden in West Virginia and private residences throughout Southern California. The artist has received awards and grants from The Hoff Foundation (2009) and California State University Fullerton Art Alliance (2006).


Hope Center for the Arts is an Orange County, CA based multi-faceted fine arts program for adults with intellectual disabilities designed to serve individuals showing talent, interest or motivation in the arts.


This exhibition is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and realized through HOPE Art Lab, the HOPE Center for the Arts visiting artist/mentorship program. HOPE Art Lab seeks to expand the art practices of artists with and without disabilities through artistic exchange and socially engaged projects.

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