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Thought-Provokers: Peoria

Phoenix has always had an artistic soul. The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous debt to the arts community. Supporting local art is something we care deeply about and we’d like to do everything we can to help the local arts community thrive. Unfortunately, too often media attention is monopolized by corporate interests and tabloid gossip – but culture doesn’t come from a focus on celebrity breakups it comes from a focus on the arts.

Below, you’ll find some incredible artists from in and around Peoria that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Brittany Gentile

I knew I wanted to be a photographer at that moment. Once in high school I took some photo classes and really learned that I loved taking photos of people more than anything, I wanted to tell their stories – or create a story through photos. After high school, I was able to go to college and get my B.A. in Digital Photography. Read more>>

Ash Lemus

My first instrument was a small red drum set, which I received when I was three or so. I played along with Ringo in all the those Beatles films. Five to six years go by, and my interest in playing music sparks up again. The Beatles continued heavily influencing me as well as Devo and Nirvana. Read more>>

Shana Oh

I stumbled into photography when I was finishing up my life sciences degree. I had a free slot to take an elective class and decided to take photography to alleviate the stress from my life sciences degree. After finishing that, I jumped into and finished up an A.S. in Photography Professional Practices at Fresno City College in Fresno, California. I found a photography program at Northern Arizona University and trekked my way over to Flagstaff. Read more>>

Amy Nichols

As I grew older, though, fear of rejection and the realities of making a living kept me from pursuing my dream. That changed on New Year’s Eve, 1996. While studying abroad, my husband and I celebrated Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland. At midnight we watched fireworks over Edinburgh Castle, sang Auld Lang Syne…then promptly found ourselves being crushed in a crowd of 300,000 people. It was terrifying. And life changing. Read more>>

Dennis Cooley

It wasn’t until about 18 years old when I first even paid attention to books written by J.R.R Tolkien and similar authors, but when I did, I fell in love with them all. Epic fantasy was a whole new world that had opened up to me, one I did not know I had always wanted. 14 years later, still loving it all, and never losing the connection I have with those stories, I tried my own hand at writing. Read more>>


I first began painting in watercolor outside a classroom setting as a preteen when my Dad had a friend who he wanted to get back into art as a means of overcoming a loss and took my siblings and I along. With a limited palette, Dad instructed us as we painted en plein air in a local canyon most weekends that summer. From there, I chose painting and commercial art classes in high school, with additional post-secondary classes and additional workshops later on. Read more>>

Kiara Ortega

My story started five years ago. I was inspired by getting my own photos taken by a local photographer for my engagement. I went home that same day after having my photos taken and I bought my first camera the Canon T3i off eBay. Upon getting my first camera, I had no clue how to use it. I had no idea that there was even a manual setting on a camera like this. Read more>>

Danielle Cooley

I always loved art and creative endeavors, so I decided to go to school for graphic design in college and see how it went. If it didn’t work out, I thought I could always pursue my other dream of being a makeup artist. I ended up falling in love with it right away. I went on to do projects on the side and then became the main graphic designer for a church. Read more>>

Christina Valles

I enjoy creating all types of art, but writing has always been my favorite. Growing up I was a huge reader, and I believe that’s where my love for it began. I was in awe with how something as simple as words could make me feel as if I were in a different dimension. I wanted to be able to provide that feeling for others. Read more>>

Alex Grey

I started drawing about as soon as I could grip a pencil, and I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist. When I was little, I spent a lot time slathering watercolors on sopping wet paper and drawing Star Wars characters. I drew my favorite characters and wrote stories. For school career days I went wearing a paint smock and happily clutching a bunch of paint brushes. But school was tough, and eventually I was bullied away from drawing. Other kids picked on me for keeping to myself and sketching, and for being a bit of a geek. Read more>>

Rob Forrer

I started at a shop called stay true tattoo, I learned much about my trade from many well-endowed artists and I can’t appreciate them enough, from there I worked at three other shops constantly trying to better my artwork and my tattoo ability, today I work alongside some of the most respected artists in Arizona and the world. Read more>>


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