Michael Carson: Artist

Michael Carson, artist represented by Bonner David Galleries, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Michael Carson, artist, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Michael Carson
www.instagram.com/mcarson1999

Michael Carson’s paintings are pieces that transcend time, with figures that emanate classic cool, in muted colors that give the works an immortal feel. It’s amazing the 42-year-old Phoenix artist is self-taught, since he has collectors from around the world who have followed him since he pursued his professional art career a dozen years ago.

You can see an exhibition of more than 20 of Carson’s works starting this Thursday, November 19, at Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale. The Nefariousness exhibition includes some paintings on metal and runs through December 8.

Carson, who is also represented by Arcadia Contemporary in New York City, talked about what has inspired his latest collection and how he’s made it as a professional artist. You can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

Five years ago, my wife got a job opportunity. She didn’t want to take it, but I was in a spot in life where I needed to move some place. I had that need, that feel for travel, and I was selling out of a gallery in Scottsdale called Bonner David. It seemed like the stars aligned, and we took a chance and moved here in 2010.

I was born in Minneapolis and lived there basically my whole life until moving here. Continue reading

Colton Brock: Artist and Photographer

Colton Brock, photographed on top of Shaw Butte in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Colton Brock, artist and photographer, photographed on top of Shaw Butte in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Colton Brock
www.coltonbrock.com

Colton Brock has made his mark on the Valley’s art scene in a big way, as the creator of several murals throughout the downtown Phoenix area and beyond. The 33-year-old Phoenix resident creates landscape art in a variety of mediums, including photography, and presents his work at a solo exhibition at The Hive in Phoenix, called Location³. The exhibition debuts with a music and refreshment-filled reception Friday, October 16 from 6-10 p.m. and runs through mid-November.

Brock has had several commissions with the City of Phoenix and City of Tempe and has shown at The Lost Leaf and Phoenix Public Library, as well as in Minneapolis. You can currently see his murals at Tempe Farmers Market, at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, and around Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, and he created a public installation at the light rail stop at Mill Avenue and 3rd Street in Tempe.

Brock shared his artist inspiration, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in and grew up in Phoenix and went to Arizona State University, where I got my bachelor degree in art and design, with a minor in religious studies.

My grandfathers were both born in Arizona. My whole family is from here, back to four generations ago, and before then, I don’t even really know where they came from. Continue reading

Michelle Penington: Painter

Michelle Penington
www.michellepenington.com

Michelle Penington‘s paintings are whimsical works full of narratives, often with bright colors bursting through her landscapes and figure pieces. The self-taught artist, a 41-year-old Cave Creek resident, transports viewers around the world in the locales she depicts, and her art often evokes positive feelings with evident passion shining through.

The artist recently had a six-month exhibition at the ASU downtown Phoenix campus library, and she’s exhibiting her work at Desert Broom Library in Cave Creek beginning this September. Those who are interested in her art may visit her studio by appointment (head here for more information), and Penington is available for commissions. Learn more about her inspiration, and hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve lived here almost 20 years. My family moved here from New Mexico because of my husband’s job, and his brother lived out here, so we thought we’d try it. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Dana Point, California. Continue reading

Audrey Thacker: Founder and President of Artisan Markets

Audrey Thacker, founder and president of Artisan Markets, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront, by Nicki Escudero

Audrey Thacker, founder and president of Artisan Markets, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront, by Nicki Escudero

Audrey Thacker
www.artisanmarketsaz.com

Audrey Thacker was a jewelry maker who saw a need for an artist market community in the Valley. She founded Artisan Markets in 2009, which has grown to a twice-weekly Scottsdale market featuring items ranging from metal sculptures to glass art for purchase. The markets are every Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Scottsdale Waterfront, complete with live music to listen to as you peruse the artist offerings.

The 37-year-old Phoenix resident talked more about what goes into organizing the Artisan Markets, and you can hear Thacker name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was attracted to the prospect of good weather, opportunity and affordability. I am originally from Connecticut, but moved to Arizona after living in Hawaii, because I wanted a place where I could embark on my career as an artist. Arizona had everything I was looking for. Continue reading

Kris Rhymes: Artist, aka ChocKolate-Man

Kris Rhymes, artist also known as ChocKolate-Man, photographed in downtown Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Kris Rhymes, artist also known as ChocKolate-Man, photographed in downtown Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Kris Rhymes
www.krisrhymes.com

Art by Kris Rhymes is literally drool-worthy, as the 23-year-old Phoenix resident uses chocolate syrup to create realistic portraiture and creative works. Known as ChocKolate-Man in the art community, Rhymes is featuring 13 Valley kids in his Sweet Kids exhibition this Saturday, May 23, at {9} Gallery in Phoenix from 5:30-8:30 p.m. His subjects entered a competition to be featured, and the ones chosen made it into Rhyme’s second solo exhibition based on their achievements and aspirations.

Besides reaching people with his canvas art, Rhymes is also a professional barber who creates unique styles in his salon work. He also is a motivational speaker as part of the ACT-SO program, sponsored by NAACP, and works with high school students as a mentor of visual arts.

Rhymes talked about his unique medium, why he’s passionate about helping youth, and what people can expect from this weekend’s exhibition, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in south Phoenix and moved to west Phoenix. I went to Central High School and took classes at South Mountain Community College before leaving to pursue my art career. Continue reading

April Howland: Painter and Founder of Howland Studios

and founder of Howland Studios, photographed at Thunderbird Park in Glendale, by Nicki Escudero

April Howland, painter and founder of Howland Studios, photographed at Thunderbird Park in Glendale, by Nicki Escudero

April Howland
www.howlandstudios.com

April Howland brings joy to the Valley with her gorgeous nature- and wildlife-inspired paintings, as well as the pet portraits and commissions she creates that perfectly display the essence of those depicted. Howland has been artistic all her life and turned to painting full time around five years ago. The 41-year-old Peoria resident is represented in Idaho at Gallery Five18 and by Beals & Co., which is putting on her Friday, June 26 exhibition at Hyatt Tamaya Resort & Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

Howland shared where she garners inspiration and why she’s passionate about creating art, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised in Sedona and moved down here to go to college at Collins College. I got my degree in graphic design and never left. I love it here. Continue reading

Fred Tieken: Painter

Fred Tieken, painter, photographed with his paintings in his Paradise Valley home gallery, by Nicki Escudero

Fred Tieken, painter, photographed with his paintings in his Paradise Valley home gallery, by Nicki Escudero

Fred Tieken
www.facebook.com/ArtistFredTieken

Fred Tieken‘s history as a professional musician, record label owner, music producer and design firm owner gives him plenty of stories to tell, but these days, he’s using paint and canvases to spread deep messages through his colorful, illustrative works. The 79-year-old Paradise Valley resident has only been painting since 2010 after retiring from the design world, but he’s already been a part of more than 40 art shows and has a second home and art studio in Venice, California.

Tieken and his wife and manager, Gail, are currently building a home gallery for his and guest exhibitions, as well as special events such as concerts and poetry readings, which they hope to have open by fall. You can check out his work now at Willo North Gallery in Phoenix through Saturday, March 28, in his solo show For the Birds, and he’ll be present for a reception there this Friday, March 20 from 6-9 p.m. He’s also gearing up for a solo show May 19 through June 9 at Agora Gallery in New York.

Learn more about the artist, who has played in more than 3,500 musical performances as a vocalist and saxophonist, as well as owned IT Records, ATA Studios and Phoenix design firm Tieken Design & Creative Services, better here. You can also watch a video of Tieken naming his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My wife Gail and I got tired of scraping ice off the windshield in Chicago, where we had lived for 10 years. We had visited Phoenix and came back one more time and bought a place. We were among the first people to live downtown in a new development, Renaissance Park. We liked it a lot but kept expanding.

When we first moved here, I brought my business here and worked out of my condo for awhile before going to the New Times building in Phoenix after outgrowing it. After we outgrew that, we moved on to Central Avenue in Phoenix two different times and kept growing and needing more room. The graphic design business was really good to us, and we had some Fortune 500 companies we did a lot of work for.

I was born in Meyer, Illinois. Continue reading

Tara Logsdon: Founder of DIE Bearmy and Multimedia Artist

Tara Logsdon, artist and founder of DIE Bearmy, photographed at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, by Nicki Escudero

Tara Logsdon, artist and founder of DIE Bearmy, photographed with her dog, Mixtape, at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, by Nicki Escudero

Tara Logsdon
twitter.com/DIEBearmy

Tara Logsdon feels a unique connection to inanimate objects. Teddy bears found face-down in thrift stores speak to her emotionally, and she rescues them and rehabs them, turning them into beautifully unique pieces of art with her DIE Bearmy teddy bear line. The artist makes one-of-a-kind stuffed animals for people around the world, and the bears have found their ways into the multimedia artist’s exhibitions. She’s made bears for celebrities, and is planning on creating one for actor Jeff Goldblum’s baby.

The 41-year-old Phoenix resident works as a production assistant for Martha + Mary, a venue development company with an arts focus, and at Jobot cafe in Phoenix on the weekends. You can see her bears in her upcoming art installation Bearial Ground at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery in Phoenix February 6 through 20, and you can meet her at the opening reception this Friday, February 6 from 7 to 11 p.m.

Learn more about how Logsdon founded DIE Bearmy, and watch her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I grew up here and moved to Seattle to go to The Art Institute of Seattle. I graduated with a degree in multimedia and a minor in curation. From Seattle, I was moving to L.A. and had all my possessions stolen, and my insurance wouldn’t cover it, so I had to move back in with my parents. My son was 9 at the time, and he wanted to stay here because his grandparents were here, so we stayed. I ended up finding downtown Phoenix and moved into Holgas [artist living space].

I was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, and my parents moved out here when I was 5 years old. I went to Buckeye Union High School. Continue reading

Carlos Montufar: Flamenco Dancer and Instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar
FlamencoPorLaVida.com

Carlos Montufar’s passion for flamenco is evident every time he graces a stage, as his turns, claps, stomps and facial expressions are fueled by a fervor he’s had since he was a child, and that has since made him one of the most prominent flamenco dancers in the Valley. The 31-year-old Phoenix resident studied the classic Spanish dance in New Mexico before bringing his talent back to the Valley, and now you can see him on stage with local flamenco company Flamenco Por La Vida (FPLV) Wednesday nights at Gallo Blanco and Saturday nights at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.

Montufar works as a teacher’s assistant for Madison Rose Lane Elementary during the day, working for the special education department, converting print to braille. He also works as an instructor with FPLV, teaching flamenco Monday nights at 5th Row Dance Studios in Phoenix — find more information here. Read on for why Montufar loves flamenco, and to hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in Monterey Park, California and moved to El Paso, Texas when I was 6. I came to Phoenix when I was 17 to study drafting at High-Tech Institute. I wasn’t a fan of the school, so I transferred to Glendale Community College to get my associate degree in arts and humanities. Continue reading

John Schieffer: Painter and ‘Bearly Escaped’ Author

John Schieffer, Valley painter, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer, Valley painter and author and illustrator of Bearly Escaped, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer
twitter.com/JohnSchieffer

John Schieffer‘s paintings inspire double-takes, as their photorealistic qualities make the images look lifelike. The 42-year-old Goodyear resident crafts colorful works, often modeled after objects he photographs, from dice and jacks, to martinis and toy dinosaurs. Art lovers can view his work at Scottsdale’s Bonner David Galleries, where he is represented and has a special exhibit March 26 through April 6.

Schieffer is also a children’s book author and illustrator, having self-published his book Bearly Escaped, featuring his paintings, in 2012. The book follows escaped circus animals as they interact with the human world and can be found here.

Schieffer talked about what inspired him to be an artist and about his artistic process, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved to Arizona in 2006 from Connecticut. I was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and lived most of my life in Prospect, Connecticut. My wife and I had vacationed out here once and saw the great real estate and loved the climate. We were getting sick of the New England winters, which can be pretty harsh. Continue reading