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Check out Gary Phoenix’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Phoenix.

Gary, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been an artist and photographer since high school and achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Arizona University. Shortly thereafter I opened an art gallery in Flagstaff; unfortunately, the economy was bad in that era, and it lasted less than two years. Over this time I’d been married and was raising a family, and that reality forced a change – to support them, I became a software engineer, and I put my art aside for the most part.

Eventually, this new career brought an opening to return to photography in earnest. I received an overseas assignment to Europe in 1999 and spent the next five years working in many countries there. At the same time, this opened up a great opportunity to travel, explore, and photograph like crazy. It was still in the film days and, while I enjoy that medium, it was very expensive, and I was limited; still, I’d created a great film portfolio. Digital technology was finally good enough that, shortly before I left, I acquired my first digital camera and was able to visit Venice, Italy during Carnevale. Digital opened a huge opportunity to capture almost unlimited images at a very low cost – I came back from Venice exhilarated!

Returning to Arizona, I jumped into the art scene by participating in an annual Phoenix Art Detour event. Shortly thereafter, I met and joined with a group of very talented artists at the photography-based cooperative gallery “Gallery 8”. It was a fantastic time together, and we inspired one another to greater heights. I also traveled more extensively – Japan, Australia, the Caribbean, Alaska, and more (Venice Carnevale again) were added to my portfolio. The Gallery 8 members eventually dispersed, and Davin Lavikka from our group opened a commercial gallery in Scottsdale. After a few years, the economy again took its toll, and he downsized; I’ve not been directly associated with a gallery since then. I’ve been continuing to expand my work, and have been in various shows within Arizona.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do, why, and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Although I studied many of the arts in college, I specialized in printmaking, incorporating photographic processes in intaglio, silkscreen, and lithography. My love is photography and, while most of my work is straightforward or slightly enhanced, the advent of Photoshop allowed me to transition those printmaking styles into graphic images. I’m too eclectic in my work to specialize in one or two styles – I’m all over the map with whatever catches my interest – portraits and candids, travel, cityscapes, landscapes, graphic & abstracts, modeling work, as well as a little commercial… and sometimes magic. I do the work for my own and others’ pleasure, and to inspire others – other artists inspire me greatly, and thus it goes round and round. Sometimes I seek out and create images, while sometimes they serendipitously come to me. All I ask is that you enjoy what you see if you can.

How can artists connect with other artists?
Yes! Look for opportunities in the greater Phoenix area – involve yourself with Art Detour and Art Walks, talk to all of the galleries and pop-ups, and bring your portfolio in hardcopy or on tablet/iPad. Ask to participate in ensemble shows. Sit with other artists during these times and at these locations, and just brainstorm, and be inspired. Make friends – get your name around. A hard thing for some artists (like me) is if you’re a natural introvert; that’s hard in the art world. Try to overcome those tendencies through intimate conversations and build friendships. Maybe start through social media and the artists you find there. Often, if your work is inspiring, you’ll find champions that can help you along the way. Don’t give up. Keep making art ALL THE TIME. Take advice freely; don’t be hurt by honest criticism – it’s your greatest tool to get better and better and better. Doors within the community will open. It worked for me and the friends we made – it can work for you!

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can find my work online through my website garyphoenix.com, on Instagram as “garyrphoenix,” and occasionally at locations throughout Arizona. In a very few short years when I retire from engineering, I’ll be able to significantly expand my reach, and you’ll see me out there more often. In the meantime, if you’re associated with a gallery, a restaurant, or other venues, and would be interested in my work – or would be interested for yourself – you can contact me at gary@garyphoenix.com. Thanks!

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Gary Phoenix

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