Many of Wilhoit's door photographs are mounted on doors, and pictures of bicycles are attached to bike frames. This framing device brings the photographs to life, and it also creates a visual contrast between the picture subject and the object on which it's placed.
Although he has photographed bicycles, he's best known for his door theme. Wilhoit said that when he travels, he tries to capture a landmark of the country he is visiting. For example, if Wilhoit was in Paris, he might try to capture a picture of a door with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Wilhoit gained an appreciation for photography through travel, particularly an Africa Camera Safari, a 12-day tour of animal viewing. He said that photography is currently his hobby, but it's certainly something he wishes to pursue full-time after he retires.
When choosing roughly 500 photographs for the Riverssance festival - most of which are shot on 35-millimeter color film - Wilhoit tries to avoid selecting pictures with people, because he wants the focus to be on the object he is photographing, he said.
He added that he prefers to photograph things rather than people because the subject of the photo - what interests him the most - might be lost. For example, if a door is photographed with people in the background, the attention might be focused on the people rather than the door, Wilhoit said.
The artist also said he finds Riverssance to be a wonderful place to present and sell artwork; he enjoys it because it's a juried festival, it's well-organized, and it has a "great atmosphere."
Woodworker Tom Voss has found Riverssance to be his primary source of advertising since 1991.
Because his work is furniture, he doesn't have the opportunity to display it in venues such as art galleries. But Riverssance has generated enough business and word-of-mouth that he doesn't need to advertise his benches and tables.
Voss' business is commission-based, so he needs to create pieces specifically for Riverssance. He said he'll have eight or nine works on display at this year's festival, and those will take him roughly 48 hours to prepare.
"If someone sees a particular furniture piece that they like, then they will put an order in for it," Voss said.
He said that what makes his woodwork stand out is a clean look and a sharp finish. Voss said that he especially enjoys Riverssance because it's well-run and he makes good contacts.
Building little boats to float on the river inspired Voss to work with wood at a young age. Voss, who lives in Davenport, decided to pursue woodworking full-time around 1988, following 33 years of employment with Blackhawk Films. Before that, woodworking had only been a hobby.
Voss said he gets a lot of personal gratification from building things.
Although he works mostly on commission, Voss said he likes the freedom his woodworking gives him: "I can now do my own thing, which allows me to enjoy my work."
The desire to paint, said Corrine Smith, started at age seven. In fact, she said, it was probably always inside her.
The Rock Island-based artist has turned that youthful inclination into a career, with her bold abstract compositions positioning her as one the Quad Cities' most prominent artists.
Smith will once again be showing works at this weekend's Riverssance festival, with roughly 40 paintings for sale.
After getting her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Southern Illinois University, Smith continued to follow her passion for painting, getting a master's degree from the University of Kentucky.
Smith said the biggest challenge in her artistic career is the "discipline to keep painting on a daily basis." The artist described her work as "abstract and personal" and "expressive," although she had difficulty explaining how her feelings and states of mind manifest themselves in her paintings.
Smith's paintings/collages, primarily using acrylics, are full of shape and texture. Most paintings feature brown, black, yellow, and white prominently. Although certain colors dominate her work, the paintings are distinctive through their different approaches.
"My subject matter is a combination of organic and geometric form," Smith writes in the artist statement on her Web site (http://corrinesmith.home.mchsi.com). "The blending of the two reveals ambiguous spatial relationships within a composition. ... My largest source of applicable information is from the preceding painting." That lends her body of work coherence.
"I am interested in the play between form and space, and I often reverse the positive with the negative," her statement continues. "Rendering the dimension of organic and geometric form is the underlying structure of my work. ... The use of opposites can create a dynamic quality revealing high contrast and tension."
Riverssance, Smith said, is a great event for artists because "it's organized, and a lot of contacts can be made through the festival."
She added that she typically brings her newest paintings to the event, but that she's never sure what, if anything, will sell. Sometimes her most expensive work gets sold; other times, nobody buys anything.