A Tale of Two Galleries
Studio West and MudPie make art accessible to all
The Valley of the Sun has a rich history of making local artistry accessible to the masses, from Southwestern desert paintings and Zuni pottery to Hopi textiles and Spanish tinwork. But isn’t it just as important for Arizonans to have accessibility to worldly works – Old Masters, Impressionism, Asian Art, contemporary, abstract – or connect with art we create from our own experiences? Galleries throughout the greater Phoenix area offer glimpses into every corner of the art world, but there are gems to be discovered that take it even a step further – and each of their stories is about helping you connect with your own.
In Anthem, two art studios, StudioWest and MudPie, are venturing out to expand the artistic experience for locals and nationwide visitors alike, and they may even help you tap into your inner artist.
StudioWest has offered Anthem locals easy access to reproductions of legendary artists’ work from within a unique mixture of categories – think American Art, Impressionism, Asian Art, Audubon, the Old Italian Masters, even vintage nursery rhymes, magazine covers, and Santa Claus art.
Primarily an online studio and high-end giclée printer, StudioWest got its start about 20 years ago by reproducing art by the Old Masters for schools to use in classroom instruction, specifically the Great Hearts Academies in Phoenix.
“The schools use classical art to support the literature they teach,” explains owner Douglas Spurlock. “They decorate halls with images of Old Masters, so we reproduced most of that art for them. That’s how we ended up having this huge catalog of about 1,500 Old Masters’ images, and we’re selling that art as far away as Austin, Texas, now.”
From there, owners Douglas and Camille Spurlock continued to handpick dozens of artists for the gallery, including American Masters like Thomas Cole and Impressionist pioneer Claude Monet, as well as Vincent Van Gogh and Botticelli.
While visitors can choose to visit the workshop and see how the reproductions or custom printing works, much of the creative appeal at StudioWest is connecting with the art in the online gallery that turns into eye-catching reproductions in a home or working space.
However, StudioWest doesn’t just focus on household names. The Spurlocks work with local up-and-coming artists in all types of media – oil painters, pastel artists, fabric artists, photographers – as well as anyone who wants to turn a photograph into a piece of art.
“One of the things we specialize in is that we can take current art of even an iPhone photo and enlarge it, then print it on pretty much anything, like a canvas, photographic paper or fabric,” Camille Spurlock says.
As an artist and graphic designer herself, Camille has a knack for relating to an artist’s needs and wants, and it’s imperative that the equipment at StudioWest keeps up with industry standards to produce high-quality scans for reproduction, enlarge smart phone images, and restore artworks and photos.
From working on art that dates back hundreds of years on canvas to just yesterday on a smart phone, the Spurlocks say they recently worked with several artists that continue to surprise and delight with refreshing perspectives.
“We’ve been working with artists like R.C. Gorman’s Estate (renowned Navajo artist and Taos icon), and Garrett Etsitty, who is an extraordinary Navajo artist,” Camille says. “He combines modern with new, the traditional Navajo with a New Age twist.”
Of course, if you’re looking for a more interactive studio with a new twist (a cocktail one, at that), another modern way of connecting with art can be found at MudPie Studios.
This Anthem studio has been a go-to for aspiring artists – or at least those wanting a taste of the art life. Founder Jen Long was a former special education teacher who purchased the studio six years ago on a whim.
“I found out it was for sale, and my mind raced. I’m not an artist, and it’s been a crazy adventure,” Long admits. Since then, the studio has been dedicated to bringing arts to the community; visitors of all ages can walk in at any time and try their hand at creating some art.
The large studio is focused on a social, educational, or relaxing experience, catering to individuals, families, groups or events like girls’ night out or birthday parties. Adults and young kids can choose figurines, mugs, plates, jewelry boxes, animals, piggy banks and more off a whole wall of fired ceramics and pottery (ranging from $2-$25), or a stretched canvas. Then they can paint and take their piece with them that same day. Each week offers various classes, including a Cocktails and Canvas class (artist-instructed and BYOB) and Cookies-N-Canvas, a brush-to-canvas class for kids with step-by-step instruction. Art, sketching, painting, and sculpture instructional programs average about six weeks and can be joined at any time. MudPie even offers activities like jewelry making, glass fusing, and custom T-shirt screening.
“What sets us apart is that we don’t charge a studio or painting fee, and we also offer same-day pieces,” Long says. “And we continue to offer even more for customers, including bringing in brush bar painting, hopefully this fall!”
Whether you’re looking for a new way to view traditional art, or a way to channel your own creativity, these two studios offer a way for you to tell your own story.
42407 N. Vision Way, Suite 105
4220 W. Opportunity Way
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.