Photo: Monte Moore is the exclusive artist for The Mandalorian Collection for Thomas Kinkade Studios.
By Jessica Gonzalez
Artists from throughout Arizona, the Western United States and even the world will transform the desert of North Scottsdale into Arizona’s premier venue for collecting fine art during the 10-week Arizona Fine Art EXPO beginning Friday, Jan. 14.
Attendees can meet the artists, watch them in action and learn about their journey, inspiration and techniques at one of the 124 patron-friendly studios featured during the event.
The Arizona Fine Art EXPO runs from 10 am to 6 pm daily through Sunday, March 27, under the “festive white tents” at 26540 N. Scottsdale Road, on the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Jomax Roads, next to MacDonald’s Ranch.
Season passes cost $12; season passes for seniors and military are $10, and children under 12 are free. Parking is free.
Throughout the 10-week event, patrons can enjoy watching artisans sketch in pencil, charcoal and pastels; sculpt and fire clay; chisel, carve and shape stone; scratch and etch on porcelain and clay board; and saw and carve wood sculptures. Artists will also paint in all media; stain and etch gourds; design lost wax casting; design and create jewelry; and assemble mosaics.
Art is for sale during the event, named Arizona’s “Best Place to Buy Art” two years in a row by Phoenix Magazine, and commissions are welcomed.
Three of the artists featured in this year’s event include jewelry artist Zac Kothrade; painter, illustrator and sculptor Monte Moore; and fused glass artist Laverne Thorpe.
Zac enjoys creating jewelry to compliment the human figure. His designs use bold, simple lines to highlight the interplay between jewelry and the elegance of the human form.
Originally a wildland firefighter, Zac was finishing his final year of a bachelor’s degree program in parks and recreation at Northern Arizona University when a chance metalsmithing class changed his life.
He fell in love with the medium and began pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in fine arts. While working as a bench jeweler, Zac always desired to be more creative with his skills. So, after six years as a repair jeweler, he founded Zac Karen Jewelry. This will be his fifth year with a studio at the Arizona Fine Art EXPO.
Zac’s experience as a bench jeweler taught him to design pieces that are high quality and comfortable, simple yet elegant. His work is designed to be durable and wearable, with earrings that are light and pieces that have finished edges to ensure they won’t wear out or be uncomfortable.
“My pieces include a lot of organic lines that I witness in nature, in the growth of a tree branch or the line of a river or horizon,” says Zac. “I like the random patterns found in the creative process of nature.”
A professional illustrator and artist for nearly 30 years, Monte is the exclusive artist for The Mandalorian Collection for Thomas Kinkade Studios. His day job includes watching every episode of the Disney+ show multiple times. Viewing the first time to enjoy the show and take notes, a second time to watch for the most iconic scenes or images from the episode and again while he’s painting.
Monte creates a 22-inch by 31-inch size painting for each episode of The Mandalorian. He’s currently painting his way through Season 2.
Born in Phoenix, Monte grew up on a 30,000-acre cattle ranch in Idaho. He spent summers working with his dad on the ranch and acquired his love of art from his mom, who is a fine artist herself.
His interests and artwork range from the highly realistic westerns he’s best known for by Arizona Fine Art EXPO patrons to pop culture paintings, graphic novels, custom automotive work and even sculpture.
A fused-glass artist, Laverne creates vibrant glass sculptures with bright primary colors. According to Laverne, she designs her pieces to make herself happy and make other people smile.
Laverne’s work ranges in size from wearable pendants the size of a quarter to large standing sculptures more than five feet tall.
She has been an artist her entire adult life, beginning with ceramics before moving into jewelry design and eventually finding her current passion for glasswork.
Since 2009, Laverne has been passionate about stopping human trafficking. She took a life-changing trip to Ghana, where she met children rescued from labor slavery. As a result, she now donates 25% of all her glass sales to agencies fighting human trafficking.
For more details about the Arizona Fine Art EXPO and its participating artists, call 480-837-7163 or visit ArizonaFineArtEXPO.com.
Jessica Gonzalez is a public relations and social media specialist.