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Mission Fed ArtWalk Announces 2023 Featured Artists for  39th Annual Festival, April 29 & 30, 2023
Jan 18, 2023

Mission Fed ArtWalk Announces 2023 Featured Artists for 39th Annual Festival, April 29 & 30, 2023

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For Immediate Release

San Diego’s Little Italy will come alive with artwork from around the world, including eight featured artists who demonstrate a strong dedication to the arts

SAN DIEGO, January 18, 2023 – Mission Fed ArtWalk – the largest and longest running fine art festival in Southern California – announces this year’s Featured Artists for its 39th annual event, taking place Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30, 2023 in San Diego’s Little Italy.

The weekend-long premier arts and culture event showcases every medium of art including painting, sculpture, glass work, photography, fine jewelry and more. Mission Fed ArtWalk has selected eight Featured Artists, from the 250-plus exhibitors. “With so much artistic excellence represented at the festival, choosing just eight featured artists was not easy,” said Curt Brooker, show director. “We are proud to introduce these eight which represent some of the best and brightest at the April show.”

This year’s Featured Artists include:

Carlos Vargas | Photography
Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Carlos Vargas grew up experiencing the dazzling colors of the Caribbean which became the inspirational palette for the bright hues in his photography. Continuously interested in the “mechanical arts” like architecture, automotive and neon, he began documenting vanishing mid-century art-forms, including architecture, neon signs and classic cars. Currently hailing from Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley has a very robust Mid-Century vibe, which is evident in the architecture and cars, add to that palm trees, snowcapped mountains, and the movie star history, and you have a magical place with amazing photo prospects. “Photography is my passion, obsession and fixation,” said Vargas.

Jen Duran | Watercolor, Acrylic, Ink
Jen Duran of San Diego is an abstract realist painter, working with watercolor, acrylics, and inks. Through her artwork, she explores themes of self-discovery, freedom, and authenticity. Most of her work is made to evoke emotions and lead the viewer to reflect on themselves, free from expectations. ArtWalk was Duran’s first introduction to fine art festivals seven years ago, and she hopes that collectors are “connected with a piece in such a way that they’re always able to gaze and stare at it and have that moment that they felt when they first collected it.”

Mac Hillenbrand | Wood
Mac Hillenbrand is a native San Diegan, now calling Carlsbad home. He first began his technique sanding decks and painting fences as a tradesman, later studying traditional marquetry wood inlay. A full-time working artist for the last seven years, with his own gallery, Hillenbrand’s biggest inspiration is the ocean and natural forms. His work is “designed to promote wonderment and contemplation of the cosmic parallels throughout nature.” He has had the honor of winning many awards including “Best of Show” recognitions, but “what makes a beautiful idea beautiful,” he says, “is the relief or reconciliation it yields its beholder.”

Melissa Marquardt | Mixed Media
Melissa Marquardt is a self-taught mixed media artist from Encinitas. Her specialty is abstracted waterscapes and landscapes, influenced by the California coast and estuaries. Marquardt enjoys playing and exploring with various mediums and describes herself as “an abstract artist whose intention is to create works that transport its viewers to a place of calm and serenity.” She works with acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media, finding inspiration in nature among the Southern California coastlines. She has a deep connection to the horizonal line, which she finds “keeps her grounded.”

Mieko Anekawa | Acrylic
Mieko Anekawa is an acrylic, impressionist painter. With rich expressive colors captured in her paintings, her work explores the excitement of combining naturalism and emotion into an organic collaboration. She’s lived in Japan, New York and now calls La Jolla home. Her work has been in galleries in Chelsea, Tribeca, Queens, and Brooklyn, and she’s had international exhibitions in Amsterdam, Belgium, Canada, England, Osaka, and Tokyo. Since moving to Southern California, her mind has engaged with San Diego’s diverse botanical universe, which has given her an extra unique perspective of art and nature. Her biggest inspiration is nature and animals.

Nic McGuire | Glass
Nic McGuire dreamed of being an artist since he was a kid, growing up in Encinitas. The act of conveying the world through visual images and materials intrigued him. Throughout his childhood, and later college, he honed his skills with new techniques. His medium: art glass and metal sculpture. His style is derived from ornate Venetian patterning combined with whimsical modern impressionistic forms. He hopes offer intrigue and a sense of fascination and wonder for his collectors. Currently, he is working on multiple series’ of feathers and modern abstract designs at his studio in San Diego.

Nobe Babayan | Bronze
Nobe Babayan is a bronze sculpture artist. His style is contemporary with a side of whimsy. Based in Los Angeles, Babayan creates sculptures that motivate people to reflect upon the important elements of life. Continuously inspired and motivated by his family, he hopes that people are also able to see some of the influences that he sees within his work – love, fear, history, fantasy, dreams, struggles, and even pop culture and movies of his childhood, such as King Kong and Cleopatra. The thing that he loves most about creating art is that it affords him the opportunity to meet people and share his passion for expressing myself through this medium.

Veronica Leiton | Oil
Veronica Leiton is an abstract surrealism painter working in oil on canvas. She currently hails from El Paso, Texas, after living in Mexico for 27 years. She believes “in the music of the universe, its melody and silence. In the opposed systems like cold and heat, light and shadow…unit and variety are the cornerstones of universal harmony and artistic expression.” Throughout her 38 years as a professional artist, she has exhibited in 155 solo and group exhibitions in most of Mexico and the U.S., such as Art Expo NY, Spectrum Miami, Art Santa Fe and Art San Diego; in Cuba, Chili, Greece, Austria, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Switzerland and at the Carrousel Gallery at the Louvre Museum in France, as well as the XII Florence Biennale in 2019. Additionally, Leiton has published four books of her work. Her artwork can also be found at the Chilean Embassy in Greece and the Museo Casa Redonda in Chihuahua.

Mission Fed ArtWalk attracts 100,000 art collectors and visitors from all over the country to purchase art from established and emerging artists during the two-day festival, located throughout San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

The event will run from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00pm on Saturday, April 29 and 10:00am until 5:00pm on Sunday, April 30. Attendance is free. For more information on ArtWalk and its programs, please visit

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