SUPERIOR, Ariz.- Running out of gas in this historic copper-mining town 12 years ago may have been one of the best things to happen to painter Chuck Davison.
“I was looking for studio all across – ran out of gas in Superior and met Lyn Heglie. Sure, I was familiar with the town – but this time I ended up staying; captivated by the beauty of this area – the mountains, and topography; birds, animals and desert vistas. Scenery here rivals Sedona, but with a smaller population, quiet, and real estate that remains affordable even to artists. I realized I could live here and maintain business and art contacts in Phoenix, where I’d lived for 25 years.”
Davison is among a half-dozen artists now based in Superior who will open there homes and studios to visitors as part of the Dia De Colores art festival Oct. 20. Drive Superior’s Main Street and a few of his outdoor murals give a preview of his work.
“My style has been described as contemporary southwestern; and signature elements include mixed media and ‘found objects’ such as fabric, beads, and stones that are incorporated in my paintings – as well as unusual solvents and paints to heighten color. Working a graphic design company made me pay attention to color trends and how they’ve changed over time; people have moved away from the earth tones and pastels that were so common two decades ago – and as an artist I find it particularly freeing that I can experiment with more variety and vivid color–buyers’ appreciation for this style of work opened that door.
Among my favorite local elements are rusted metal objects, locally-mined copper – and oxidized copper-related minerals such as chrysacolla that have their own unique hues of green and blue.”
Murals around downtown Superior include a herd of horses, the face of the sun, petroglyphs, abstracts – and a vivid prickly pear cactus on an exterior wall of Porter’s café which announced the town’s recent prickly pear festival. By far his most prolific subject has been Indians – paintings inspired by the ancient hoodoos and spires of red rock just a few miles uphill and alongside highway 60 through Queen Creek Canyon.
“First time I drove that stretch of road back in the 1990s I was awed by the cliffs and towers of stone – so many of them anthropomophic with heads and faces. I was inspired to paint Indians, and I’ve probably completed several hundred over the years.”
Davison’s work has been exclusively represented by the Wilde Meyer Gallery on Marshall Way in Scottsdale since 1988.
See examples on his facebook page (search keywords “charles-davison-artist”) or email Davison via firstname.lastname@example.org
His Lime Street home-studio will be open to visitors on Dia De Colores Oct. 20 from 10am-3pm; during the day several of his works will be sold at auction to benefit local charities.
IF YOU GO….
What? Dia De Colores Art Festival
Where? Superior, AZ; about 45-minutes drive due east of Mesa
How Much? Tickets for the self-guided art studio tour are $10 and raise funds for the chamber of commerce
Other events? Dia De Colores includes plein air painters capturing scenes downtown, a variety of artists displaying and selling from the Senior Center, a car show downtown, live music at Porter’s Café, and meet-the-artists reception from 4-6pm.
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