1 Mar 2009

Artisan of the Week, Neil Collins of Studio23tucson

Happy St. David's day everyone! This week's Artisan of the Week is Neil Collins from Studio23tucson. This mightily talented chap makes paintings, sculptures and really cool tables. So go grab a slice of bara brith, a daffodil and invite Tom Jones round to help celebrate all things Welsh whilst you cast your eyes over the following article.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
Hello, I am self taught artist Neil Collins, living in Tucson, Arizona. I have been oil painting for about 12 years and working with metal for about 6 yrs. I also create handmade, fine art furniture. Each piece of furniture is truly one of a kind. There is nothing else like it any where. It is an exciting collaboration between my partner, ceramic artist, Christina Devine, and myself. Our work together (usually tables) are made up of Cristina's hand made ceramic tiles and my welded steel.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
I think my first and strongest inspirations toward painting came when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My step father had a huge record collection of rock music and I loved going through them to stare at the fascinating works of art on their covers. They were so creative and mesmerizing! As for welding, I had the opportunity to work at a motorcycle junkyard when I was 22. Staring at all of those interesting metal parts and pieces all the time just seems to make you start to think about sculpture.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
My favorite part of the creative process comes after I have the concept for the piece figured out and I am just involved in the process of making it happen. When there is nothing really to think about and I am really engaged in the activity of the creation... the work. I must also admit that my other favorite time is when I sell a piece of art. Yes, cash! When some one gives me money for my work I feel like that is the most true and concrete form of compliment that can't be denied. It shows me beyond any doubt that they really love the piece.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
One of the hardest parts of making art, for me, is deciding what to work on. I come up with so many ideas that it can be torture some times choosing which one to make and which ones not. Some days my head is spinning with inspiration, but I can only do so much.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 year's time?
Next year, I just expect to be further along. I try not to set specific goals for myself, but rather just keep moving ahead. Making the art, exploring my ideas and continuing to put it out there. If I had to focus on something than I would have to say that in a year from now I would like to have my work in a few more physical art galleries.

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I would have to say that I got the best advise from a friend when I was hired to help him remodel his house. He told me to repair some plaster in the wall. I said "I've never actually done this, myself". He told me that the only way that he had ever learned anything was by jumping in there and doing it. Then he just left me to it. After that I've found out that there seems to be no end to what I could figure out with a little confidence. It sure beats waiting until I get around to taking some official class on how to do something.

7. Could you name artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I would have to recommend www.deviantart.com The amount of genius artists on there is mind boggling! Then I would say my best friend Bryan Crow, he is also a painter/metal worker. We are always talking with each other about our art and marketing ideas. It's very cool to have a good friend to bounce stuff off of.

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
I think that sauerkraut is one of the best kept secrets in the sandwich world. Just a little bit of it can turn an ordinary sandwich into something exotic.

Thank you Neil for taking the time to tell us a little about yourself and your artworks. Readers if you have been inspired by what you have seen, Neil has given me a list of more places you can see his work:-

Neil's main website is:

Here are more places to see Neil's work:

I've spent many a happy hour looking through these sites. I confess I'm a big fan of Neil's and Christina Devine's work. The colours and forms just draw me in. Just stunning!


  1. Great interview! Love the artwork, it is filled with so much expression!

  2. Wow..love it! His work is very bold and original!
    I can relate to the too many idea-head spinning moments!

  3. Amazing artwork, love the drive thru gates.

  4. Absolutely stunning work! Loved reading the interview.


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