Artistic Synergy: The Art Collective

Writer Lynette Carrington

Arizona art collectors and aficionados are undoubtedly familiar with the dozens of galleries and working studios throughout Old Town Scottsdale. Three gallery/studios, Quan’tum Art, Inc., Leslie Sandbulte Art and Blink Gallery have created a unique art gallery and studio partnership that combines a vision of artistic appreciation, business acumen and good, old-fashioned friendship. All three are located steps off Main Street and west of Marshall Way in an area known as the Courtyard.

Quan’tum Art, Inc. is co-owned by artists John Gleason, Jacque L. Keller and Suzanne Larson. Ingrid Donaldson owns Blink Gallery, and Leslie Sandbulte owns Leslie Sandbulte Art.

Keller explained, “These are the artist-owned spaces that participate together in managing events and more. We do help each other cover our spaces—like when Leslie is gone, we keep her space open. It’s just the best way to run an art business.”

Gleason, Keller and Larson all create their own art, frequently collaborating by combining techniques within one piece of art.

Jacque Lynn Keller—Quan’tum Art, Inc.

Keller has been painting since the age of eight and became a student at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Youth Studies Program. After attending University of Toledo and Arizona State University School of Art, she began painting professionally, specializing in animal eyes, animal portraiture, trompe l’oeil and commissioned artwork.

“Our consciousness addresses the sameness in our lives and replaces it with diversity, analysis and hopefully, action by the sheerness of adjusting an attitude,” explains Keller, who is a signature member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters. “Hopefully my art has that effect.”

John Gleason—Quan’tum Art, Inc.

Sculptor John Gleason radiates energy and excitement in everything he does. He is enthusiastic about his own art and about the unique working relationship at Quan’tum Art, Inc. Gleason says, “For 20 years, Jacque and I worked out of my home in Chandler, but we got to a point where we wanted and needed to grow. We’ve been in this spot for four years now.”

The galleries and studios of the Courtyard are a point of pride for Gleason. “It’s like a little dream. I watch people come up the sidewalk and their faces just change. It’s a haven here, just slightly off the street, but there is a great vibe of creativity and support. Visitors get the surprise of seeing art being made in these spaces every day.”

He recognizes the needs of artists to have their time working in solitude, yet embraces the chance to collaborate and support other artists.

More than 20 years ago Gleason found some 100-year-old copper foil used for roofing material. Although he hadn’t been interested in visual arts, it piqued his interest. “In working with the foil and discovering what I could do with it with chemicals, heating, torches and acids, it just sparked something in me and it never went away,” Gleason explains. “Twenty-two years later, I feel like I’m beginning to master making things out of copper.”

In his own artistic style, Gleason utilizes a variety of materials for his sculptures, including rocks, reclaimed wood, bullets, costume jewelry, a man’s tuxedo and an infant’s onesie.

His whimsical sense of humor shines in many of his pieces. “My work is sort of orchestrated chaos,” he says.

Suzanne Larson—Quan’tum Art, Inc.

As one of three owners of Quant’um Art, Inc. Larson is an integral part of the gallery, sharing her deep joy of creating art and sharing her vision with others. She says, “If you look at my art and smile or find a peaceful moment, we have all been transformed.”

Her assemblage pieces reveal interpretations of wild animals engaged in human pursuits of happiness, revealing the very nature of human beings in a unique and whimsical way.

“I bring my three-dimensional sculptural vision to the glass medium, often fusing form and function,” says Larson, who also has a background in veterinary medicine.

Larson works in a variety of media, including clay, metal, assemblage, glass torch work and kiln-formed glass. “Weaving glass allows me to present the visually impossible. By entwining glass, I show the power and beauty of contrast.”

Ingrid Donaldson—Blink Gallery

Ingrid Donaldson owns and operates Blink Gallery. She left the corporate world in 1995, earned her MFA from Arizona State University and currently serves on the faculty of jewelry and metalsmithing at Scottsdale Community College. “I’m a metalsmith, so we’re trained from minute gold granulation all the way to large steel sculpture,” says Donaldson. “We know how to blacksmith and weld, and we know the entire gamut of metals.”

The artist’s style embraces and incorporates the natural world in many ways. Donaldson explains, “Used as decomposers, lichens, fungi, algae, and molds are organisms that are first responders in the natural healing process. They are inherently critical to our success as they begin to break down toxins, absorb and transmute pollutants, and biodegrade contaminants. Using these sustainable biome networks as the inspiration for building my sculptural forms and larger installation environments, I bring attention to the theories of bioremediation and mycoremediation.”

Donaldson relocated to the Courtyard of Old Town Scottsdale after having been in downtown Phoenix. “People who come here are buyers and are interested in seeing and buying art.” In addition to running her on-site gallery, she also teaches students in jewelry making and small-scale sculpture.

Leslie Sandbulte—Leslie Sandbulte Art

Leslie Sandbulte is a fine art painter who creates in a style heavily inspired by both French impressionists and Japanese woodblock prints. Her portraits and figure studies have intricate attention to form, shape and design.

Sandbulte says, “I’m not concerned about the light hitting a person in the painting, like a formal French or Spanish impressionist would. But I do care about shape, like a Japanese woodcut.”

Leslie Sandbulte received her undergrad degree from the School of Art and Architecture at the University of Southern California. After earning her credentials for both secondary and elementary education, she went on to teach art.

Sandbulte has had her studio and gallery in the Courtyard for three years, after having relocated from Seattle. She waited on a list for a space there for a year.

“We’re working artists and they have created an atmosphere that everybody supports. Everyone is so uplifting to one another,” she explains. She particularly likes that all the artists in the Courtyard look out for one another and cover each other’s studios when it is lunchtime, or if there is an errand that needs to be run. She adds, “As artists, we don’t compete, either. There is a sculptor, a painter, photographers, a jeweler and a modern artist. We’re all doing something different.”

The collaborative effort of the Courtyard artists is aimed at attracting more visitors and collectors to their specific section of Old Town Scottsdale in a fun and friendly manner.

Keller says, “In our lives and in our businesses, we have a of couple rules: We reserve the right to serve everyone, and be kind. We have that signage on our doors. It goes a long way in making a happy existence.”

Quan’tum Art, Inc. is located at 7077 E. Main Street, Suite 16, Blink Gallery is located in suites 11 and 12, and Leslie Sandbulte Art is in suite 15.

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