2019 SDDLM Featured Artists
Lucretia Torva is a Phoenix-based artist who has murals displayed on three continents. She paints in a vibrantly realistic style which harnesses the power of reflection, surfaces, texture, vivid color and unique points of view to inspire awe in the eyes of the viewers and encourage them to look more closely at the details of their everyday surroundings. Lucretia was born in Peoria, Illinois, but raised in Scotland and France where she was exposed to and inspired by the great art and architecture of the European tradition. She went on to earn an MFA for the University of Illinois in 1982. Lucretia works on canvas in oil and acrylics as well as in large-scale mural form which has become her passion. She enjoys traveling the world to paint and is available for customized commissions.
Lucinda Yrene, aka “La Morena,” is a self-taught, nationally known muralist and painter residing in Avondale, Arizona. She is Mexican-American with native indigenous roots on her mother’s side, and her work is influenced stylistically and thematically by her rich cultural identity. La Morena’s paintings focus on issues of the spirit, healing, change and empowerment. In 2017, she was part of Wall Therapy in Rochester, New York, O+Positive Mural Festival in Kingston, NY, and has shown in many US galleries across the country, including ChimMaya Gallery in East LA, 17 Frost Gallery in Brooklyn, Tangent Gallery in Milwaukee, El Chante Casa de Cultura in Albuquerque, and The Hive Gallery Phoenix to name a few. Lucinda has also been a guest speaker at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, for a panel titled “La Revolucion: The Legacy of Mural Art in the Southwest, as well as in Rochester at the NY for Wall Therapy conference titled “Art and Social Change at Times of Crisis.”
Tato Caraveo is a native of Sun Valley who has found creative expression in both art and music throughout his life. He began painting professionally 30 years ago, first in the realm of graffiti art and later progressing to studio fine art using oils, acrylics and charcoals. Today, Tato’s work can be found on everything from small canvases to large-scale murals. His highly recognizable, signature style breathes life into colorful characters and landscapes with hints of whimsical surrealism. Tato’s paintings also play with bold, vibrant colors and surreal perspectives to invite and engage viewers whether seen in a private gallery or on a public wall. The development of his unique style was influenced by the work of masters such as Caravaggio, Rene Guido, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Dali. The occasional presence of skeletons and Day of the Dead subject matter in Tato’s work is reflective of his upbringing in the Southwest and his Mexican cultural roots. A fixture of the Phoenix creative community, Tato is the Art and Music Curator at the Lost Leaf, as well as an expert bass player working in his band Sunorus.
Darrin Armijo-Wardle was born and raised in the deserts of Arizona. His work remixes iconic portraits for the purpose of exploring social, economic and political issues. Like work by Kehinde Wiley and Banksy, Armijo-Wardle’s paintings, with dramatic brushwork paying homage to 19th century masters, a gallery of colorful political activists and celebrities, and bold color, turn political art upside down to examine complexity and ambiguity. Darrin is also a musician, and the daily writing of music is an integral part of preparing himself for the visual art making process. His paintings are regularly shown in the Hive Gallery and the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art; he has also shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, Herberger Art Gallery, Etherton Gallery, The Sagrado Galleria and the ASU Gammage Auditorium, to name a few. His large-scale mural work can be found throughout the Phoenix-metro area.
Maggie Keane is a Phoenix-based muralist, portrait painter, sketch artist and sculptor who has been creating since she was a small child in New Jersey. Maggie earned a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Arizona in 1977, and her artistic practice is driven by a strong desire to capture her subjects with as much true- to- life accuracy as possible. Inspired by photo-realists like Chuck Close, Maggie mastered techniques of manipulating focus to create the hyper-realistic imagery that has supported her in an eclectic career of personal portrait commissions, caricature drawing, theatrical scenic painting, billboard and bus painting, mural work and forty years as a Federal Court Sketch artist.
David Morgan is a lifelong artist born and raised in Arizona. He works mainly in acrylics and consistently shifts subject matter in order keep challenging himself artistically. David grew up drawing as the youngest of three in a creative family and was particularly inspired by his father who was an art teacher. At the age of 8, David had the chance to meet and tour the studio of the well- known artist William Ahrendt, an event which greatly impacted him and inspired him to pursue art as a career path. David continued his artistic endeavor through high school and college and at the age of 26 began showing his art publicly in galleries and other available spaces. He currently lives in Mesa and is working on a comic book showcasing his work, as well as that of other local artists.
Tara Sharpe is a Phoenix-based artist whose paintings complicate perceptions of beauty and myth using saturated jewel tone colors in layered opacities. Exhibited and collected throughout the country, her work, influenced most significantly by Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, and Art Nouveau, evolves with a consistent theme: the beauty and darkness inherent in the feminine divine. Tara was formally trained at the Dreyfoos School for the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Fine Art Residency Program at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. After working in New York for over a decade, Sharpe relocated to Arizona where, in 2013, she founded the award-winning project Artelphx (now Artelshow). In October 2015, her solo show Sirens & Serpents opened in Phoenix, and in 2016, she was selected for “100 Creatives” by Phoenix New Times. Sharpe presented her first public art as part of She Tempe in 2017.
Diego Perez is a Phoenix-based artist originally from Coyacan, Mexico. He began painting as a teenager and received his Bachelors from Mexico’s premier art institution, La Esmeralda, which was founded by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and other Mexican artists. Formatively influenced by the Baroque and Renaissance periods, Diego’s work makes dramatic use of light, texture and color to play with the viewer’s perception and interpretations of the world. Humor is central to Diego’s creative process, and he uses irony as tool to question his surroundings, often choosing playful elements, iconic figures, and symbols to construct his compositions. In 2007, Diego was awarded the INJUVE (National Art and Health Award) in Mexico for his painting. In 2014, he won a commission for the National Museum of Science Universum, where he has a permanent exhibition of ten mathematicians’ portraits. The Arizona Republic recognized Diego in their monthly program, Who’s Next, which showcases emerging leaders of several fields under the age 40. In 2017, he won the first place in the exhibition Conceptions Arts in Los Angeles, and the first place in the juried exhibition The Sunniest Place in Earth by The Yuma Art Center.:
Such & Champ
Such and Champ Styles are a father-son art duo from Phoenix, Arizona. Their bold, vibrant and engaging work is strongly influenced by graffiti writing, street culture and comic icons. This intergenerational collaboration meshes contemporary ideas with old school traditions, giving a unique flavor to their artistic style. Father, Such Styles, is a veteran artist with 36 years of experience and work displayed in the Phoenix Art Museum, Tempe History Museum, The Arizona Latin Arts and Cultural Center, The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Chandler Museum, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, The Arizona Historical Museum, the Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art and in various galleries and private collections throughout Arizona. His work has been also featured in several national publications, on film and in television, including design work for Red Bull, FOX Sport’s Super Bowl XXII show and a live billboard campaign for Cocoa Cola. In addition to working on commissioned wall art pieces, Such and Champ work together to teach art workshops which empower young people to artistically express themselves in a responsible manner that positively impacts and uplifts their communities.
Marisa Hall Valdez is a native of Anthony, Texas, whose bold and bright paintings are infused with pop-culture references and witty, whimsical tones. Marisa attended the Art Institute, which brought her to Phoenix where she has been living and working for the past 20 years. Marisa has had several successful solo and group shows and has a mural hanging in the Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s office as part of his personal collection, as well as murals in downtown, midtown and traveling around the valley of Phoenix. Marisa is currently a resident artist at the 11thMoney Industries, where her work is extending into t-shirt design, wood-working, and other creative mediums, including flag design.
Aztec Smurf is a self-taught painter and muralist originally from Mexico. As a child, he was creatively sparked by the colorful murals of Mexico and later, by his study of masters such as Da Vinci, Dali, and Duchamp. Smurf moved to Tempe, Arizona, as a teenager where he continued to perfect his craft. His surreal paintings make use of otherworldly imagery, bold colors and fine detail and are reflective of his Mexican roots. Smurf works on commissioned pieces, exhibits his paintings in local galleries, and donates his time to design and paint murals for Valley schools.
Lalo Cota is one of Phoenix most renowned muralists. Originally from Sinaloa, Mexico
his work draws inspiration from Mexican folklore, desert life and Chicano culture. Lalo’s paintings delight the eye with a world of imaginative cartoonish-surrealism cast in a plethora of bright colors and crisp detail- a realm of iconic low-riders, epic city skylines and vibrant desert landscapes inhabited by lively calaca-characters (skeletons) each with a captivating, signature gleam in their eyes. Lalo has been based in Phoenix for over 20 years and his vibrant murals have transformed several walls in the Roosevelt Row arts district, as well as many others throughout the city. He also has a mural displayed in the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium.
Chris Sanchez is a Phoenix-born painter and muralist who has been creating for over 25 years. Stylistically his work is influenced by comic sequential art, graffiti street art, fine art and graphic design, as well as a deep appreciation for indigenous cultures. Chris utilizes bold colors, geometric shapes, intersecting patterns and overlapping visual imagery to create work that is multidimensional, intriguing and aesthetically inspiring. Through the abstract representation of his own experiences, thoughts, ideas, feelings and visions, Chris hopes to give the viewer a window into a perspective that is different from their own and instill an appreciation of other cultures. In addition to working on solo pieces, Chris often designs, plans and implements collaborative projects with other artists.
Veronica Verdugo-Lomeli is a mixed media painter born in Southern California and raised in Phoenix where she lives today. Her work revolves thematically around Mexican-American and Chicano culture and draws inspiration from personal experiences, memories and cultural traditions she grew up with in the Southwest. Veronica’s paintings are filled with musicians, folklorico dancers, Dia de Los Muertos scenes and Frida Kahlo- inspired imagery cast in vibrant colors. She works mostly in acrylic on canvas and wood, print-making and mixed media art. In addition, she creates digital art, paints murals and works in wood burning.
Rafael Navarro is a mixed media painter and sculptor originally from Mexico City who has been living in Phoenix since 1989. Rafael creates work that is whimsical and surreal in nature, drawing inspiration from his childhood memories of Mexico, his rich heritage and his daily observations. Primarily self- taught, Rafael works in a variety of mediums and incoporates a plethora materials into his work including acrylics, oil, charcoal, graphite, different printmaking methods, wood, steel, copper, ceramics, stone, fabric, paper, lights, and found objects. His critically acclaimed work has been featured in numerous online and print publications and has been exhibited in galleries throughout the valley including, After Hours Gallery with “26 Blocks”, ARTELPHX at The Clarendon Hotel, Legend City Studios in annual Chaos theory exhibition, Modified Arts, Phoenix College, Tilt Gallery and Vision Gallery, just to name few.