Come January 10, a dedicated parcel of desert in North Scottsdale will become a temporary arts community for the following 10 weeks as the Arizona Fine Art Expo returns to the valley. Renowned artists from across the globe will set up their studios and create original pieces of fine art in what has come to be known as Arizona’s premier venue for collecting fine art.
Celebrating its 15th year, the Arizona Fine Art Expo combines the aspects of a juried fine art festival, the elements of a gallery and the inner-workings of an artist’s studio. Today, the event reaches artists around the globe and provides an outlet for the community to appreciate art and to help educate children about fine art as well. During the Expo, guests have the opportunity to meet the artists, watch them in action and learn about their inspiration, techniques and spirit, as well as stroll throughout an enhanced two-acre sculpture garden, which will feature stone, metal, glass and mixed media sculptures.
When asked how the Expo originally came to be, Judi Combs, founding partner of the Arizona Fine Art Expo, shares, “Actually, Jess Davila (stone sculptor) talked to me about doing a 10-week show for over a decade. It took ten years to make sure I had someone who I could depend on, and it was my brother, Denny Long and his wife, Judy. I approached them and we all chose Scottsdale for the venue as it is well known in the art world.”
The event features 124 patron-friendly artist studios within a 44,000 square-foot space, where guests have a rare chance to meet the artists, see them in action, and learn about their passion, inspiration and techniques. While the fine art show features several local artists, some artists will travel from Israel, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Holland, China, Canada, France and throughout the United States to participate in the show. Part of what makes the Expo so unique is the friendships and community that develops during the course of each show. “The camaraderie among the artists is very special. The local patrons in Scottsdale and surrounding areas love our show and return every year to support them,” says Combs.
Artist Beth Hyatt, who has lived in Arizona since 2002, has been participating in the Expo for more than a decade and loves the family element that is created during each season. “For ten weeks, I’m surrounded by fantastic artists who are like my extended family. Not only do we have fun together, we learn from each other,” she says of the Expo experience. “I’m also grateful for their support. Sometimes, if I’m getting too close to my work, I can ask for and receive honest feedback and helpful suggestions.”
Hyatt is best known for her portraits of people and animals, which focus on faces, but her new abstract work focuses on the female body and motion. “With my facial paintings, I was capturing emotions through the eyes, but now I’m having fun discovering how I can capture emotion through body movement,” she says. “With my faces, I would often include subtle colors that in some ways would appear invisible, and with my fashion series, the figures are not outlined – I create patterns that trick the brain into thinking there is an outline of the figure.” Hyatt will be showcasing her fashion paintings during this year’s Expo.
Prescott resident Charles Huckeba is a contemporary painter who will be showcasing three distinct styles of paintings this year: one that focuses on rock art, another that is abstract, and a third style featuring his Chroma Textures of southwestern animals. A participant in the Expo since the very beginning, Huckeba says, “The Arizona Fine Art Expo provides a platform of exposure like no other…it’s an art destination that gives us a unique opportunity to connect face to face with collectors. We’re not just there to show and sell our work…we’re there to get to know the patrons. It’s a reciprocal relationship. I also enjoy the sense of community and camaraderie among the artists. We sometimes experience ups and downs during the 10 weeks of the show, and everyone is always very supportive.”
This year, Huckeba is set to exhibit a new series of his hand-painted containers featuring the colors of nature…deep burgundies, deep blues and greens with a plant flora theme. He is also drawing inspiration from the Hopi culture, but taking artistic and archaeological license inserting his own style into his paintings of petroglyphs and pottery shards. His will also exhibit his popular “Chroma Texture” assemblage paintings of wildlife and flora on small and medium-sized canvases.
William Daggett, a wood sculptor residing in Paradise Valley, will be showcasing his art for the fourth time at this year’s Expo. “I couldn’t be more excited! The Combs and Longs [show founders/organizer] are experts at setting us up for success and having it all run smoothly for all of the 100+ artists and patrons that are at the show. The 10-week show gives the patrons multiple opportunities to revisit the Expo through special events to see their favorite artists. Wonderful friendships are developed and shared through art.”
Daggett creates sculptures from ancient Juniper. Of his artistic process, he says, “Using multi hand and machine tools, I let the wood tell me what it wants to be. It is a collaboration of what I see and the spirit of what Mother Nature has already given me to work with, bringing it back to life.” For the upcoming Expo, Daggett will be featuring Juniper sculptures including hummingbirds, swallows, eagles, fire, elephants, horses, ocean waves, and abstracts as well as patina and colored bronzes of four of the most popular sculptures including hummingbird, swallows, eagle, and horse.
Throughout the 10 weeks, artisans will sketch passionately in radiograph, pencil, charcoal and pastels; sculpt and fire clay; chisel, carve and shape stone; and saw and carve wood sculptures and fine furniture. Artists also will paint in all media; stain and etch gourds; design lost wax casting; solder and weld jewelry; and assemble mosaics. Art is for sale and commissions are welcomed.
The Expo begins Friday, January 10 and runs through Sunday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily under the “festive white tents” at 26540 N. Scottsdale Rd., on the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jomax Roads, next to MacDonald’s Ranch. Season passes cost $10; season passes for seniors and military are $8; and children under 12 are free. Parking is free. For more details about participating artists or events during the show, call (480) 837-7163 or visit www.ArizonaFineArtEXPO.com.