If you’re a Utah native, chances are you’ve already encountered the works of Pixels, Paint, and Prose, even if you didn’t know it. The men behind the name are highly involved in everything from local journalism, to conservation efforts, to projects that involve painting giant fish all over the state. Yes, you read that right—and the murals are awesome. But more on that later. 

What I’m trying to say is that Pixels, Paint, and Prose, both as individuals and as a unit, are hard to miss. Perhaps you were walking through downtown Vernal recently, and spotted a beautiful mural of two cutthroat trout—there you met Paint. Alternatively, you might’ve read the Salt Lake Tribune article last year focused on why you should support Utah’s wildlife crossing program—that was your induction to Prose. Or maybe you saw the haunting and impactful photograph of inversion settling over the valley in another Tribune article aimed at encouraging Utahns to not give up on clean air efforts—that means you know Pixel. 

Then again, maybe you haven’t been introduced to these three hard working artists, writers, and environmentalists, formally or informally. If that’s the case, let me do the honors! 

Who’s Paint, Who’s Pixels, and Who’s Prose?

First up is Pixels—more commonly known as Francisco Kjolseth—who’s “background has always been in photojournalism and documenting the human experience in whatever environment we might find ourselves in.” His career highlights include, among many stunning achievements, being the primary Tribune photographer for a partnership between the newspaper KUED called the Utah Bucket List

Paint—who typically goes by the name Chris Peterson in his day to day life—is, in his own words, a “studio artist with a lot of experience working plein air and teaching students of all ages and abilities. I have worked as a community artist, taught k-6 art, and have adopted a positive, gentle approach to making my own art and empowering others creativity.” 

Lastly, we meet Prose—Brett Prettyman—who worked at The Salt Lake Tribune for twenty-five years before leaving to join the non-profit conservation group, Trout Unlimited. His connection to Holiday River actually “goes back to the mid-90s and my first float of Lodore on a trip for a Tribune story.”

Their shared love of local nature, conservation, and good journalism brought them together, and when the idea arose for them to host a themed river trip, all three jumped at the chance. They hope to bring their unique perspectives and artistic skill sets together in a way that’s harmonious and offers trip attendees ways to engage with the nature around them on a deeper level. I think of their collective talents similar to how Chris seems to think of his varied artistic mediums. “I believe each medium has its own strengths and accompanying mindset,” he said. “And combining multiple mediums has helped me expand my own creative practice.” 

They want to help you expand your creative practice as well, all while floating down the Green River through the gorgeous Gates of Lodore. 

This Year in Lodore

Having three artistic mentors on one trip might sound like a lot, but don’t worry, you won’t be expected to master all three creative outlets. In fact, for Pixels, Paint, and Prose, it’s not about mastery or artistic discipline—there won’t be a pop quiz on color theory or shutter speed settings. 

As Brett explained, “the three of us appreciate, reflect, process, and share our experiences in the outdoors in different ways. ButPower Yoga Lodore Retreat Fly Fishing we also share emotions and meanings in the experiences, particularly in trying to convey to other people our interpretations. We hope to give people on our trip new ways to look at nature and to share it with others through art, imagery, and words.” 

Chris echoed this sentiment, telling me he “enjoy[s] the therapeutic power of making art, and making art about wild things and wild places compounds the potency. And making art about wild things, in a truly wild place is sublime.” 

 Francisco similarly just wants to help people experience the natural world around them in a new way. “My focus for this trip,” he said. “Will be to look at the dark sky and see what reveals itself when we let our eyes adjust and take long camera exposures. With so much light pollution these days, it’s a magical experience to capture the stars and the Milky Way in a place with a really dark sky.” 

On the more practical side of things, trip attendees can expect most of the art supplies to be provided for them, including sketchbooks, a variety of pens, pastels, watercolors, etc. as well as communal cameras. Guests are encouraged to bring their own supplies as well, but Pixels, Paint, and Prose is dedicated to bringing their artistic skills to you, all while you’re peacefully floating down a river in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. 

To learn more about the river rafting trip, as well as the other professional and creative projects Brett, Chris, and Francisco are currently working on, check out the trip page on the Holiday River Website. Otherwise, keep an eye out in your local paper for contributions from Brett or Francisco, or maybe start looking for blank walls in your county that are in desperate need of a black-footed ferret mural (which would be my animal submission, in case Chris was taking requests).






Sawyer Smith WriterSawyer Smith is a Utah native currently residing in St. Louis, Missouri. When she isn’t working as a freelance writer or hiking through sections of the Mark Twain National Forest, she is planning trips in her head back to her beloved state to once again climb on the red rocks and ski down the snowy mountains.



About our facilitators:

Chris PetersonChris Peterson – Chris Peterson is a Utah-based artist and river advocate. Chris worked for 15 years in nonprofit, public and education sectors in diverse roles focused around engagement, conservation science and education He holds a BFA from BYU and an MPA and M.S in Environmental Humanities; both from the University of Utah. He is cofounder of Utah Wildlife Walls, with the goal of installing at least one wildlife mural in each of Utah’s 29 counties. Chris’ work focuses primarily on nature and wildlife as inspiration. His studio and mural work enlist a mixed-media layered process with imagination built into the layers of art making.



Francisco KjolsethFrancisco Kjolseth – Born in Mexico City and raised in both Mexico and Colorado, Francisco Kjolseth gained a love of photography from his father, and has worked as a photojournalist for over 30 years covering news and events from Detroit to Mexico to South America. For the past 20-years he has called Utah home as a staff photographer for the Salt Lake Tribune with a primary interest in covering the outdoors and environmental issues affecting our planet today. That being said, he is happiest in a remote place with a very dark sky.


Brett PrettymanBrett Prettyman started working at The Salt Lake Tribune while a communications student at the University of Utah. During his 25 years at the Tribune Brett covered a wide variety of sports, including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but worked primarily as the outdoors/environment editor and columnist. He left the paper in 2015 to join Trout Unlimited, a national non-profit conservation group, as a national communications director. He focused on three national Trout Unlimited programs: Western Water and Habitat; TU Science; and the Headwaters youth initiatives.

Brett is the author of Fishing UtahBest Day Hikes in Capitol Reef, and Hiking Utah’s High Uintas. He won two Emmy Awards for his work as the writer/producer/host on the Utah Bucket List television program on KUED – two of the trips in the show were with Holiday. He has been a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America since 1992 and is a past board member and president of the organization. Brett won more than 40 OWAA awards, including the President’s Choice Award for a two-part story on Salt Lake climber Kyle Dempster. He also collected more than two dozen two Associated Press awards through the years.

Brett currently serves as chair of the executive board for Reel Recovery, a national nonprofit that provides free fly-fishing retreats for men with cancer, and as chair of the board for the Utah Wildlife Federation. Brett lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Brooke, and three children, William, Lucie, and Owen.