Professional Judges

Art & Soul of the Magic Valley is proud to have 3 distinguished judges as part of our contest this year.


John Taye

John Taye received a BFA at the University of Utah and an MFA at Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County.  He is a Professor Emeritus at Boise State University where he taught for 33 years. Taye taught a variety of drawing, painting and sculpture courses there, and workshops at numerous other schools.

Taye has had over two dozen solo exhibitions throughout the West, and he has shown in many invitational and juried exhibitions throughout the country. His work has been shown at the Newport Visual Arts Center, Coos Bay Art Museum, Maryhill Museum of Art, Boise Art Museum, Herritt Art Museum, Salt Lake Art Center, Springville Art Museum, Kimball Art Center, Bountiful Art Center, Museum of Church History and Art, Tempe Arts Center, Mesa Cultural Center, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Oklahoma Art Center. University galleries that have exhibited his work include: Boise State University, Idaho State University, College of Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University, College of Southern Idaho, Utah State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University, and California State Los Angeles. Taye is a Fellow in the National Sculpture Society, New York City, and has exhibited his work there in numerous shows since 1989.

Taye’s artwork has been featured in several publications, including American Artist, Drawing, Sculpture Review  and Fine Woodworking. He has received awards in exhibitions of the National Sculpture Society, Salt Lake Art Center, Springville Art Museum, Museum of Church History and Art, and the Degas Pastel Society.  His work is in many private and  public collections regionally.

Taye draws inspiration from a number of artists and periods, from Dutch still life and landscape painting through French Impressionism. The mood of his work is peaceful and reflective. His paintings explore the subtle harmonies of color found in the human figure, the natural forms of still life, and the rural Idaho landscape. Recent paintings juxtapose still life, figure and landscape imagery. Taye also creates figure sculpture in bronze, from small scale gestural pieces to life size commissions, and he carves figure and still life arrangements in wood.


Danny Edwards image

Danny Edwards

Danny has been a sculptor for 31 years, creating work for collectors all over the world. His sculptures can be found in the halls of presidents and dignitaries, including the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan and corporations, banks, universities and private collections. His 17-foot tall “Elk Monument” and 32-foot long “Elk and Bear Monument” are famous Jackson Hole, Wyoming landmarks.

Danny specialize in wildlife themes, both desktop sizes and monument bronzes. He is also well versed in the human figure and does extensive research on each subject he sculpts. “It’s all about Beauty!” he says. “We all try to absorb a little beauty everyday.  We look for it in a sunset, a song, music, a beautiful woman, art, a mountain stream etc.
Since God didn’t create any junk, we can find beauty everywhere, if we will look for it.  My goal, my desire, my passion as an artist, is to bring out that beauty with clay or on canvas.  I enjoy sculpting wildlife because our emotional connection with them is so pure. It doesn’t seem to get all tangled up with human ideologies. They are what they are. Every animal has a certain spirit about it, and a certain way he carries himself; a particular gait in his walk. And each animal leaves a pretty distinct footprint. My job is to somehow bring out some of that emotion for the viewer. When people view it, they don’t always feel the same emotion that I felt when creating the piece, but if it stirs some sort of emotion in them of peace, majesty, elegance, ruggedness, or some other emotion, at least I have brought something out of their soul and they have experienced beauty.  Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and when we are touched by real beauty, in whatever form, we will never be the same.”

Danny also enjoys sculpting authentic Native American subjects. He depicts these first Americans in fluid motion scenes that capture the danger, emotion, and excitement that they must have experienced.

He also enjoys themes of historic significance. For example, his authentic rendering of the Silver City stagecoach and six horses that ran between Winnemucca, Nevada and Silver City, Idaho back in the 1870’s. He loves to tell the true stories that inspire the sculptures.

Most all of Danny’s sculptures are limited editions. They usually are limited to under 50 pieces in the bronze editions, which makes them a real attraction to serious collectors.

Danny is a devoted family man and enjoys any opportunity to be with family, especially if it is camping, hiking, or exploring in the mountains of Idaho. Danny’s wife, Lynda, has been his cheerleader and business partner for all of the 45 years of their marriage. She is also his coach, bookkeeper and critic. They are a wonderful team together. They both share a great faith in God and love this wonderful country we call America. They are both heavily involved in gospel music. Lynda is an accomplished pianist and Danny plays the bass guitar.
Educational Highlights:

1965 – 1968 Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa Idaho;  Art and Religion

  • 1968 – 1976 Independent Business Owner
  • 1970-1975 Real Estate Appraisal assistant for tax purposes
  • 1976 – 1980 Owned and operated Dande Wood Manufacturing. Designed all the furniture designs.  Managed plant and Marketing with 40 plus employees.
  • 1980 – 1994 Danny D’s Furniture Store-owner manager of all operations.
  • 1984 – Present:  Sculpting, oil painting and foundry manufacturing of fine art pieces 

Notable Commissions:

  • Commissioned by national retail marketing firm, Legends, Inc., to create 25 sculptures for national distribution.
  • Commissioned by The Federal Bicentennial Commission of the United States Constitution to sculpt an eagle commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution.
  • Commissioned by the American Bar Association to do an eagle sculpture.
  • Commissioned by the Idaho Centennial Commission to create four sculptures representing Idaho heritage.
  • Commissioned by businessman, John Bertie, to create a six-foot long rendition of six horses and a stagecoach, sculpted exactly one-tenth to scale of the actual Silver City stage, entitled Run to Silver City. The sculpture depicts a significant segment of Idaho history.
  • Commissioned by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to create three separate editions as a fund-raiser for their foundation.
  • Commissioned to create a life size eagle in three metals-bronze, polished stainless steel and 24 carat gold.
  • A larger than life-size monument bronze elk installed in front of the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula, Montana
  • Commissioned by the Walker Center in Shady Cove, Oregon to create a nine-foot monumental sculpture of Christ and three lambs.
  • Commissioned by Ron Boehm, Oregon businessman, to create two 1 1/4 life size mountain lions.
  • Created the enlargements for six of the monumental buffalo that will be a part of the Dunbar project in South Dakota for Kevin Costner.
  • Created enlargements for two 1 1/2 live size fighting elk planned for West Yellowstone.
  • Commissioned by The National Elk Refuge, The Bridger- Teton National Forest, The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, The Teton National History Association, and The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, to create a 1 1/8th life size monument of a bull elk, cow elk and grizzly bear. They were installed in front of the Jackson Hole Visitor Center in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, June 2000.
  • Commissioned to create a larger than life-size Pony Express horse and rider for Transbox Systems, California
  • Larger than life-size grizzly bear for The Big Bear Campground, San Bernardino National Forest, California
  • Monumental larger than life-size bronze eagle at the Oklahoma University business department
  • Created an elk sculpture edition to be used in fund raising for the Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife, Idaho
  • Commissioned to do a monument bronze elk for the new sculpture garden at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho
  • Commissioned to create a special horse sculpture edition for Stallion Energy, Houston, Texas
  • Numerous monumental sculptures for private individuals across America
  • Commissioned to create a monumental sculpture of a Bull Elk to be installed inside the Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  • Commissioned to create a larger than life-size sculpture of a sheepherder, his horse and gear, the sheep dog and eight sheep for Entrepreneur Bill Jones and  the Hagerman Historical Museum, for the City of Hagerman, Idaho to represent the generations of sheep herder families that centered in that area in times past.
  • Commissioned to create a seven and one half foot sculpture of Christ as a center piece for the campus enlargement and development project at Northwestern Nazarene University, in Nampa, Idaho.




James Blankenship

Professor of Art Emeritus Boise State University,  MFA Otis Art Institute, MA Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Art Education Utah State University.  Studied at the Art Students League of New York.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST:  I grew up in a military family and my decision to become an artist was not an easy one.  However, at critical time in my young life, I realized I had to follow my love of art.  My family moved to Utah and I attended high school, Weber Junior College, and Utah State University.  I graduated form USU with a BS degree in Art Education.  After my military service, I began teaching secondary art in Ogden, Utah.  In the summer I began a graduate program at BYU.  Later, I was offered a teaching fellowship and earned my Master of Arts Degree at BYU, followed by studies at the Art Students League of New York under scholarship.  After a year of study in New York, I returned to Utah and resumed teaching high school art.  Three years later, Hawaii called and I was offered a teaching position at BYU Hawaii where I lived and taught for three wonderful years. I then decided to study for an MFA at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles under the GI Bill.  Upon my graduation with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis, I returned to teaching high school and Junior College art in California.  At the end of three years, I was offered a position as an
assistant professor of art at Boise State University.  I was now back in the Intermountain West again.  My family was happy and I was overjoyed.  My major emphasis at Boise State was in teaching studio courses in drawing and painting at the undergraduate and graduate level.  I retired as Professor Emeritus of Art after 29 years at BSU in 2006.  It has been a most rewarding experience to have taught art for 46 years and to have passed on and shared my love of art with my students.  I still continue to paint in my McCall studio and perhaps my best work is yet to come.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT:  As far as a personal style, my works seem to develop over a long period of time.  Always asking questions, always searching, continually working, and your style will find you.  My subject matter can be: the landscape, model, abstraction, or a kind of painting that combines abstraction with realism.  I like to work my imagination into these forms to achieve more of a personal voice in my images.

SHOWS: National and Regional juried shows in painting, printmaking, and drawing, including invitational shows in Japan, Hawaii, Norway and Denmark.

PROFESSIONAL:  (Elected to membership).  Life Membership of the Art Students League of New York, Los Angeles Art Association,  Los Angeles Printmaking Society,  Honolulu Printmaking Society, Professor of Art Emeritus Boise State University.

One thought on “Professional Judges”

  1. Delighted that local master artist Danny Edwards will be one of our judges! Danny did some bronze casting for me many years ago…fortunately he did not make the casting of my Hemingway bust entered in the competition and is exhibited at the Twin Falls Library. Otherwise he might have to recuse himself!!!
    Hope the work meets your approval, Danny.

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