Mesa mixed-media artist in state’s largest studio tour
November 12, 2018
By Sue Kern-Fleischer
Mesa resident Rob Stenberg will exhibit and sell his original mixed-media paintings during Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour, Hidden in the Hills.
A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, the free, self-guided tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, November 16, to Sunday, November 18, and Friday, November 23, to Sunday, November 25.
Now in its 22nd year, Hidden in the Hills features 174 artists in 44 private studio locations throughout Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale.
This is Stenberg’s third year participating in the tour, and he is excited to be one of several guest artists at Studio No. 12 “High Desert Creations” in Scottsdale, hosted by jeweler Kathi Turner.
A Michigan native, Stenberg grew up loving art and athletics. He credits his uncle, a talented oil painter, with fueling his passion for art. But it would take nearly two decades before he decided to pursue a career as a full-time artist.
“I worked for a big health care company and traveled to many developing companies in the Pacific Rim to help set up hospitals,” Stenberg said. “I experienced so many different cultures, and I believe that experience is evident in some of the designs I create today.”
He moved to Arizona in 1994, and while he was successful in his job, he felt he was missing something. He started painting rocks and creating gourd art, and then in 2000, he took a leap of faith, quit his job, and began working full-time as an artist.
“I didn’t make the decision until I saw a quote on the back of a business card that said, ‘Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do,’” he said, adding that he still carries the business card with him today.
A self-taught artist, Stenberg will exhibit and sell new work from his industrial, abstract and Southwest series of mixed-media paintings during the art tour.
“I like to experiment and push myself to improve my techniques,” he said. “Lately, I’ve been using porcupine quills and perforated metal. I’ve also been mixing sand into paint to give it a different look and texture.”
It’s labor-intensive work, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Probably the biggest challenge for me is to be patient,” he said. “It’s like when you’re shooting a free throw in basketball. You can’t overthink it. You just have to let it flow.”
Maps can be downloaded from hiddeninthehills.org, or by visiting the Sonoran Arts League, 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, Suite 144, at Stagecoach Village in Cave Creek. For details, call 480-575-6624.