Artist Spotlight

January Artist
- Darlene Ritter -

Darlene Ritter

After teaching for 40 years, it feels so good to create on my own terms. As a child, I wanted to be an architect and I loved playing with blocks. I had a whole room full of blocks that I did not have to put away. So I played with geometry. You will often see geometry in my work. I see geometric shapes everywhere and they often show up in my work.

I had fabulous art teachers in school. One particular art teacher that I had for several years really influenced me. He told us over and over again, “We invent, we create, we do not copy, we are artists.” My work is all about creativity. To this day I cannot allow myself to copy. My creations are made with a focus on the elements and principles of design.

I have a master’s degree from California State University in Los Angeles. Along with teaching many classes to educators on how to teach art education at the university level, I have also written several books for teachers on how to teach art to young people. I received many honors as an art teacher and was selected Elementary Art Educator of the Year for the fourteen western states.

I am now a docent for the Phoenix Art Museum and love to lead student tours focusing on math and art.

My art has been on display in many Phoenix/Scottsdale area locations and I have had several one-woman shows.

December artist

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Shona Longoria was born in Montana but moved to Joseph city Arizona at the age of 9.

When Shona was a teenager her family moved to the other side of the “train tracks”. It was there watching the trains pass by, that she fell in love with spray paint and the old school writing of the late ’80s.

When Shona finally picked up a rattle can, the boys teased her so badly about making the paint “run”, that she put down the can and did not touch it again for 27 years, at least not until she fell in love with spray paint artist Jules Demetrius in 2016.

Unfortunately, Jules had been diagnosed with 4 types of stage 4 cancer before they met.  Knowing that he would be worth the pain of losing him,  Shona and Jules immediately started a life together.

After seeing her love for the spray can, Jules insisted that Shona learn how to paint. Although she resisted learning,  she did insist on helping him save energy with every painting he did for the next 7 months and was always there assisting Jules somehow. Usually shaking cans.

After Jules passed, in order to avoid the silence, Shona started shaking cans again. In order to smell the spray paint in the air again, she started painting. Painting leads to stenciling, where Jules had given very detailed lessons before his passing.

Eventually, Shona’s survival techniques, turned into profit when she accidentally sold her first painting. By the end of Shona’s second year painting, she had secured 3 exhibitions. She sells an average of one painting a week. Although she does not have a website, she does have an Instagram page and can be followed @isprayflat

This exhibit was curated by Philip Talarico of Downtown Artists Collective