Mesa based artist William Barnhart works from a ‘work of art’ building. His Studio comes complete with a rock climbing wall, sculpture garden, a fireman’s pole, and a VW Bus mounted 12’ off the floor that has been converted to a bedroom which is accessible by a glass catwalk. After the sub-contractors finished the concrete, block and fire sprinklers, Barnhart used recycled glass, steel and majority of other materials to finish the building with his personal artistic flair. His studio is the base of operations for the
artwork he produces including sculpture, painting, mono-prints and of course architecture.
In 2014 William went on a journey with his 1961 fully restored sailboat “Champion” to the Northwest United States. He ended up mooring the boat in the shadow of the Space Needle at a boat slip on Lake Union, Washington and lived there for 3 months while searching the area for artistic inspiration. The products of that epic journey are called “The Seattle Series” and are currently on display at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Multiple layers of bold color are first added to a canvas and then the figures are added in charcoal drawing style. Spare figures emerge from vibrant backgrounds and emotional life is always to be discovered in the special attention Barnhart gives to the hands of each person he paints. William Barnhart’s artwork can be enjoyed both from a distance as well as up close as the thick paint strokes give texture, drip paint adds random shaping and needle thin scratching on the surfaces reveals the multiple layers of colors underneath. These vibrant kaleidoscopes are well worth a trip to Mesa Arts Center on any perfect Mesa spring day.
By LaDawn Lingard