Tag Archives: art

Q&A: Artist Whose Isolated House Appears in Our February Issue

Where is This 0214The house featured in Where Is This? in our February issue (pictured) might look familiar if you’ve ever driven north on House Rock Valley Road toward Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. It probably doesn’t look as familiar as it does to Simone Sellin, though. That’s because she lives there.

The house sits at the corner of House Rock Valley Road and U.S. Route 89A, and Sellin, a seasonal Grand Canyon river guide and an artist in a variety of media, lives there with her husband, Tim. After the February issue hit newsstands, an acquaintance of Sellin’s contacted us to say he knows the house’s owner. From there, we reached out to Sellin via email to ask a few questions about her home and her work.

Q: What did you think when you saw your house in Arizona Highways? Did it take some adjusting to people stopping and photographing your home?
A: We were pleased to see the photo in Arizona Highways. People have been stopping for years to take pictures and talk about the house’s history.

Q: How long have you been living at your home, and how did you end up there?
A: I moved to Arizona in 1989 to work as a river guide in Grand Canyon. After that first river season, I was looking for a place to live and came upon the little rock house, which was badly in need of repair at that time. It has been an ongoing project ever since.

Q: You have no phone service; what other luxuries do you and your husband forgo?
A: Aside from no phone, we also do not have running water, though we manage to deal with that fairly well. We have a large water tank that we fill as needed. We have a shower that runs off a battery system. We are also getting ready to install a composting toilet; in the meantime, we have a decent outhouse.

Q: What is your day-to-day life like?
A: My work in Grand Canyon is seasonal, so the off-season is spent on home-improvement projects, hiking, cross-country skiing, plenty of cooking and, of course, art. We have dogs, a cat and chickens, and they keep us busy, too.

Q: Tell us about what you do as an artist. Does your environment impact your work?
A: My art is heavily impacted by the Canyon and the plants, animals and birds that share it with me. I work in watercolors, hand-painted boxes in enamels and hand-carved block prints. Some of the prints I sell as greeting cards, and other larger prints I frame with hand-punched tin frames.

Q: Where can people find your art?
A: My work can be seen at the Rafters Gallery at the Rocking V Café in Kanab, Utah.

— Kirsten Kraklio

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Grand Canyon Celebration of Art Gallery Closes Monday

Kolb Studio and Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon | Courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

Kolb Studio and Bright Angel Trailhead, Grand Canyon | Courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

The fifth-annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art is just about wrapped up, but there’s still time to participate. The event, which has been going on since September, raises money for the Grand Canyon Association, Grand Canyon National Park’s official nonprofit partner. Through Monday, January 20, participating artists’ works are on display at the Canyon’s Kolb Studio, where you can view and purchase pieces.

Admission to the gallery is free with park admission. And on Monday, the last day of the exhibit, that’s free as well!

To see what’s available for sale and find out how to purchase a piece, click here.

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An Arizona Highways Exclusive Interview: Mark Lipczynski’s “Where the Bodies Are Buried”

In March 2012, Arizona Highways sent photographer Mark Lipczynski on a mission to photograph cemeteries in every county of the state. He not only came back with a spectacular portfolio for our October 2012 issue, he also landed an opportunity to exhibit his work at monOrchid art gallery in downtown Phoenix.

We asked our interns, Sean Logan and Danielle Grobmeier, to interview Lipczynski about his must-see exhibit. What you’re about to watch is the final product. Needless to say, Sean and Danielle … you guys rocked it.

Lipczynski’s photographs will be on display through November 30.


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Friday Fotos: Lovely Shades of Green in Arizona

Tom Corey | Grand Canyon

Tom Corey | Grand Canyon

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” — Pedro Calderon de la Barca


By submitting photographs to Arizona Highways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or other social networking sites, the photographer grants Arizona Highways electronic rights. No financial consideration will be paid to anyone for publication on the Arizona Highways blog or Website.

By publishing a photographer’s work to its blog, Arizona Highways does not endorse the photographer’s private business or claim responsibility for any business relationships entered into between the photographer and our readers.


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Q&A With Arizona Artist Merrill Mahaffey

Courtesy of Merrill Mahaffey and DesertDesert Caballeros Western Museum

Courtesy of Merrill Mahaffey

Longtime Arizona artist Merrill Mahaffey is showcasing his latest solo exhibit, The Art of Merrill Mahaffey: Upstream Downstream, through December 15 at Desert Caballeros Western Museum, in Wickenburg. We talked to Mahaffey about this show, and below, in his own words, are his thoughts about the exhibit, his love of the West and what inspires him.

Tell me about your upcoming exhibit. What is Upstream Downstream? And how did this collection come to be?
Upstream Downstream is a metaphor for my life and my journey/adventure to find my road as an artist. My work is so often about water and erosion and the forms we see upstream and downstream. The collection is an evolving narrative of my work for the past three decades.

You’re clearly in love with the West — why the fascination with the American West? What draws you to the area?
When I was 8 years old, on a government field trip to what is now Dinosaur National Monument, I recall sitting on a rock around the campfire with my dad and four biologists. One was a herpetologist and collected gray desert lizards with an eight-shot Iver Johnson revolver (out to about 10 feet, he seldom missed). He filled formaldehyde liter containers with the remains of the poor reptiles. (It’s OK; there are still plenty who are descended from the survivors.) That particular night we sat around the campfire discussing the “Wild Bunch,” who might have used this very same camp, and we talked about Tom Horn and his guilt or innocence, surrounded by the Zane Grey-style ponderosa pines. The West is where I was, where I grew up, where I live. I am fascinated by other places as well, but this is where I am.

Is there a favorite area in the West that you love to paint?
Marble Canyon. A Grand Canyon river trip starts at Lees Ferry, Arizona. From there every mile is surveyed downstream to Lake Mead. Downstream from the ferry 50 miles is deep in the walls of Marble Canyon. At that point the river is also 3,000 feet below the South Rim. It is a section of pure rock formations and river water. Sandy beaches are campsites, no campfires.

Talk to me about your style. How would you describe it, how has it evolved and what makes a “Merrill Mahaffey” a “Merrill Mahaffey?”
My work is firstly representational. It is my view of nature. As one can see in the Desert Caballeros exhibit, it has an evolving narrative. The subjects I choose, I hope to be truthful and evocative. When a middle-aged, intoxicated mining engineer saw my Morenci mine painting in a Santa Fe gallery, he became tearful. I had exceeded my goal. My work claims to be realistic, but is multi-faceted, layered with symbolic gestures. It is based on simple geometric composition. Elemental forms combine with gestural forms to describe often-majestic subjects. The big message is erosion, water runs downstream. This journey is my artwork. I use heavy textures to refer to earth, then overlay with transparent colors, which define the colors of light. Time of day is a signature of my realist work. You can see, it’s all very simple.

What are you most excited about in terms of this upcoming exhibit?
Before this exhibit, I was able to visit the Freeport-McMoran mine, in Bagdad. I am learning about Northwestern Arizona, and I loved seeing the inside of the pit. Gravity (fluids) engineering is the essence of all landscapes. Mining is a form of erosion. I came back really inspired to paint the terraces within the pit; you will see this in the show.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’re especially proud of?
“Marble Canyon.” This is the classic descriptive view of the deep part of Marble Canyon. It is the most recent in a long series of renditions of morning-evening depictions. The geologic layers are mirrored in the river, and the dramatic colors suggest that at this place one can experience an ultimate view of nature. This is what might be termed a formal painting.

What’s next after this exhibit?
In January 2014, there will be Water Journey With Water Media, at the Trinity Gallery in downtown Phoenix. I will feature mostly large works on paper with some sketchbook-sized imagery. I start my watercolors with big tools and finish them with little tools — real little.

Fore more information about Desert Caballeros Museum, call 928-684-2272 or visit http://www.westernmuseum.org.

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Check Out Local Artists At Work This Saturday

Courtesy of Shemer Art Center and Museum

Grab your painting smock and come on down to the Shemer Art Center & Museum in Phoenix this Saturday, August 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a day of family fun. There will be on-going artist demos, “Make n’ Take” projects for both adults and kids, raffles and plenty of artwork for sale at the museum shop.

The Shemer Art Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Phoenix and Arizona residents by fostering an appreciation of the arts through classes, seminars and exhibits.

Artist Demonstrations
Oil Painting by Sue Hunter
Watercolor by Julie Gilbert-Pollard and John Erwin
Dry pastel by Donna Stenger
Drawing by Elliot Everson
Printmaking by Larry Nisula
Photography by Michel Sarda
Ceramics by Alan Jones
Artful Marketing by Ann Parker and David Tooker
Family projects by Christy Puetz

Make n’ Take Activities
10:00 a.m. – noon
Printmaking with Larry Nisula (Studio II)

11:00 a.m. – noon
Painting with Sue Hunter (Gallery 1)

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Hand-Buidling Ceramics with Alan Jones (Studio II)

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Drawing with Elliot Everson (Gallery 2)

Win Raffle Prizes
Raffles prizes will be given away every hour! Prizes include… a free stay at Royal Palms Resort, $25 gift certificate to Arizona Art Supply, photography books by Michel Sarda, and a coffee gift pack.

Register For Classes
View the Fall/Winter Catalog and register that day to receive a 10% discount on all classes and workshops. You will also receive a raffle entry for a stay at the Royal Palms Resort with registration.

 Information: 500 E. Camelback Roadk, Phoenix; 602-262-4727; http://www.shemerartcenterandmuseum.org

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