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'Knight of Color' returns to Taste of Vail

CREATED: 2007-02-16 01:38 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

'Knight of Color' returns to Taste of Vail

America's premier wine and culinary festival again inspires
masterpiece by renowned Russian-born artist Anton Arkhipov

VAIL, Colo. (Feb. 16, 2007) - With his proven flair for bringing our greatest pleasures to life on canvas, the "Knight of Color" is returning to the Colorado High Country this spring for America's premier wine and culinary festival. Organizers of the 17th annual Taste of Vail, April 11-14, announce "Once Upon a Time Over Vail," a painting by Colorado's Anton Arkhipov, is the event's official artwork.

"Romance, food and wine, skiing and après-ski - that's our culture here," says the Russian-born painter and sculptor, known for using symbolism as part of a fantasy. "It's a good tradition."

Arkhipov, with a studio in Denver, is no stranger to Taste of Vail, having been invited to premiere his first festival-inspired painting, "Enchanted Journey," here last year. Sales of signed prints, posters, T-shirts and other items emblazoned with the image were wildly successful, far outselling those from previous years. He says this year's masterpiece - a 44 inch by 61 inch acrylic and oil on canvas - is more specific to Vail, and to Taste of Vail.

"It's a fantasy about a couple in love driving through the mountains to go skiing. They see a chef flying overhead with food and wine, so they follow him to Taste of Vail," Arkhipov explains. "It truly is the greatest escape imaginable."

As with his other works, symbols have great meaning in "Once Upon a Time Over Vail," Arkhipov says. A lit candle in the chef's pocket, for example, represents "spirituality, the continuation of life"; the '55 Buick convertible is "iconic for the American spirit"; wine is for "creativity"; and the food, of course, "represents Taste of Vail."

Known as the "Knight of Color" in the art world, Arkhipov was born into a family blessed by generations of artists. His father, a well-known Soviet dissident, was a great influence, introducing his son to the world of art at an early age. Showing early talent and drive, Anton graduated with honors from the prestigious Surikov College of Fine Art in Moscow, all the while hearing stories of freedom and dreaming of being an American. His "dream came true," he says, and for many years now he has enjoyed an artistic freedom in America that he never takes for granted.

"Embracing life sets us free," says Arkhipov. "Creativity starts when basic survival is met. We enter the realm of creativity through love, through celebration, through being enthusiastically and fully in life."

Taste of Vail itself is a natural inspiration for Arkhipov, as it celebrates the rich lifestyle, fine dining, prestigious art galleries, fashionable shops and phenomenal skiing that have made the Vail Valley a world-class, year-round resort. The festival was created in 1990 by a group of local restaurateurs as a marketing event to showcase the resort's world-class restaurants. Now the internationally famous destination boasts more than 21 Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants, the most of any resort community in the United States. Many of them are among the nearly three-dozen Vail Valley restaurants that participate in Taste of Vail every year.

The 17th annual Taste of Vail will feature perhaps the finest and most diverse selection of participating wineries to date, tapping a preliminary list of 54 wine producers from around the world to pour the best they have to offer. Wineries from France, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and Italy join a large contingent from Oregon and, of course, the Napa Valley, Sonoma County and the central coast of California. Such high standards over the years have led to the Taste of Vail's being ranked as one of the top three arts-and-entertainment events in the United States, in terms of quality, by the 2006 Luxury Brand Status Index events, conducted by the New York-based Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com).

Arkhipov's original paintings "Enchanted Journey" and "Once Upon a Time Over Vail" are for sale and on display now at Masters Gallery, 100 E. Meadow Drive, in Vail Village. This year, the gallery offers only 20 numbered prints of the latter, each signed and embellished by Arkhipov himself, for $2,995; another 15 one-of-a-kind artist proofs, in which the artist will personally customize the Buick's license plate for the buyer, are available for $3,295.

Arkhipov, represented by San Francisco-based Frest & Royce Fine Art, says he wants to be more active during Taste of Vail this year, promising to be available for several poster-signing opportunities throughout the festival. In addition, Masters Gallery is offering a special showing of a large body of his work on Friday, April 13, from 4-8 p.m.

"It's a must-stop," says Rayla Kundolf, the director of Masters Gallery. "Don't miss the chance to come meet the artist, be one-on-one with him and see a great body of his work up close."

Taste of Vail also is a charitable nonprofit organization. Since its inception, the festival has contributed more than $330,000 to Vail Valley charities; and in 2005, in conjunction with Ritz-Carlton, the Taste of Vail donated $23,000 to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund.

For more information on Arkhipov and his painting, "Once Upon a Time Over Vail," or to buy a limited-edition print, visit www.mastersgalleryvail.com or call 970-476-0600. For more information about Taste of Vail, or to buy tickets, visit www.tasteofvail.com, e-mail info@tasteofvail.com or call 970-926-5665.

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