Hot & Dusty Artist Biographies


Doug Giles:

Picture taken: Fire Wave, Valley of Fire 2018

Over the past several years I have been exploring of America’s National and State park and have currently visited 25 National Parks. I have fallen in love with the southwest and at the same time have taken to photography and attempting to capture the beauty of these landmarks and places around us during my adventures. I frequently hike the National Park in southern Utah and Nevada and on this day was able to capture Fire Wave and it shadows in a way that jumped out to me and shows the diversity and beauty in something as simple as the rocks.




Virginia Lucas:

I was born and raised in Lebanon, Tennessee. In 2012, I moved to Birmingham, Alabama to begin my master’s degree at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. It was during this time that I began to focus more on macro photography. I had the opportunity to co-direct a field school in Transylvania, Romania in the summer of 2015, and I began focusing on landscape photography. In 2015, I moved to Las Vegas to pursue my PhD in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology.

After moving to Las Vegas, I have had the opportunity to really focus on my photography. The beauty of Southern Nevada and the western United States in general is just inspiring. I have been fortunate to have such amazing landscapes, wildlife, and night skies to shoot. I have been able to shoot wildlife in Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, desert landscapes in Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona, mountain landscapes throughout the west, and the western United States has some of the best night skies anywhere. Photography has become such a big part of my life, and I will usually have my camera with me or just wish that I did.

This photograph was chosen because I think that it captures the beauty of the Southwest in an iconic skyline. I chose black and white because I love how those photos will have such contrast while being incredibly dramatic. When standing and gazing at those formations in Monument Valley, you can feel the history of the place and begin to understand why those formations have such importance to the people there.


“All in the eye of the one holding the camera”

I’m a photographer that loves to shoot everything and anything. I am always on the journey of capturing the past, present and future. Every image is a small miracle, frozen in time. Whenever I aim my camera there is a story to be told. I enjoy combing tools and techniques and imagination to create memorable photographs. It is exhilarating to capture a moment in time, being intrigued by color composition perceptions and much more.



Nicholas Kiyoshi Yamashita, Photgrapher/Artist

Nicholas Yamashita began doing photography while in college at Southern Utah University. He took photography classes and began doing film photography classes and developing film in the college darkroom lab. He took the classes to learn how to do photography for Forensic Science (his concentration for Criminal Justice Degree) mainly to understand how to take photos at crime scenes. While in the college classes, he grew an appetite for the free expression of photography and got big into landscape subject matter. After college, he started doing model shoots, portraits, and started learning Photoshop and Lightroom on his own. Photography became his second love behind martial arts which he now teaches classes for as a 3rd Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo.

Nick resides in Overton, Nevada where he finds plenty of outdoor photography but thoroughly enjoys traveling around to National Parks and State Parks taking photos.


Photography – My Essential Creative Tool

Jana Ward

Photography, although not generally my final product, is an essential part of my creative process. As an extra set of eyes, it helps me assess the truth about what I do. Everything I create passes through the camera lens – usually several times – before it is accepted as complete. Because of the instant response from a digital camera, I suspect it is a major tool for most artistic creators and frequently a required marketing product on its own.

In the first years of this millennium, I became a new resident of Moapa Valley. Like most newcomers to desert life, I saw things that were very different from anywhere I had previously lived – wet places like Seattle and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I discovered that the things that fascinated me were things that had long been accepted as normal and not so fascinating to long time residents. My fairly new-fangled and low-res digital camera and I went out to capture those images.

There was a secondary motive in photographically capturing those visual moments. I needed subjects for a watercolor class that I was attending with my mother, Marie Runnion. She was a long time and well respected artist in the community and told me that I could not paint from another person’s photograph. I had to take my own pictures. This requirement changed my photographic process from “snapshots” to “artistic studies.” I had to consider a focal point, composition, and light. The change in purpose greatly improved the final results.

Those motivations led me to two initial major actives:

  • In 2006, I put my photographs into a one person show at the Lost City Museum titled “A Place Called Home” which captured those things in Moapa Valley that we frequently miss acknowledging in our busy drive by lives. Two of those photographs can still be seen in the annual Chamber of Commerce produced “The Moapa Valley Visitors’ Guide”.   The photograph that I have chosen for “The 2020 Hot & Dusty Invitational” is from that 2006 show. It is titled “Dressed for Winter”.   • Many of photographs that I intended to turn into paintings soon became photographic cards for The Valley of Fire State Park gift shop. For several years, I wandered through the Valley of Fire, photographing its wonders and printed those photos onto thousands of gift and note cards.

Over the years, photography has evolved in my life. Now, it has become more functional and less the intended end result – actually becoming more essential to my artistic journey.

Currently, my primary artistic ventures include silver-smithing, gourd art, sculpture and an occasional encounter with a paint brush.

I authored and published a book titled “Artist Lost / Heiress Denied – The True Story of Hertha Furth” for which I did all the photography of her art. Another book that I wrote and published digitally with Radio Shack in the 1990s, will soon to be re-published in print. This book, originally published as “Search for the Sea”, includes photographic and sketch illustrations by me, as well illustrations by friends and family.

My artistic motto isn’t exceptionally original but is extremely important for every artist/creator to remember:


Bobbie Ann Howell: Inspired by the Nevada Landscape, Bobbie Ann describes her unique and spectacular art in this way:

“My cut paper artworks employ a combination of methods and materials I use in drawing and sculpture. The graphite and silverpoint drawings used in my art are cut away with a knife, revealing the negative spaces to create the shapes and shadows. My Ideas are also derived from the vast array of elements found within the Nevada environment.” She said.

Bobbie Ann Howell is a native Nevadan. Bobbie Ann attended school in Indian Springs and Las Vegas. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Abilene Christian University, Abilene Texas. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Drawing from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Ill.

Howell has served a variety of arts organizations, she was Director of Education for the Nevada Institute for Contemporary Arts, manager and educational coordinator at the Rio Hotel & Casino’s Treasures of Russia Exhibition, exhibition from the Peterhof Museum in St. Petersburg Russia, and Clear Channel Corporation’s Titanic: The Exhibition and for Nevada Arts Council as Community Arts Development Program Associate. An opportunity to develop cultural programs for a new City of Las Vegas, facility led her to become Cultural Center Coordinator at the East Las Vegas Community/Senior Center. She also served as Exhibit Designer for the Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada.


Chris Zurbas:








Kayla Doty: