It started with a passion that grew into a dream. That dream quickly became a reality for Phillip and Gabi Payne, artists and owners of Desert Mountain Fine Art Gallery in Scottsdale. The husband and wife duo opened an art gallery in the Kierland Commons as a unique place for the community to buy, appreciate and study art.
Phillip and Gabi have been married for 11 years, after wedding young at the age of 19. The pair met in high school and bonded over similar interests. Both are very creative minded and have experienced similar artistic lifestyles throughout their youth. Phillip, like his famous father, is skilled in bronze sculpting, while Gabi uses a palette knife and oil paints to bring her creations to life. Phillip believes that Gabi’s artistic goal is to “approach without fear, be bold and create something beautiful.”
“We’re kindred spirits,” Phillip likes to say, “We both love reading, traveling, languages, studying cultures. Both our parents encouraged self-education. The only person who decides what is important is you.”
The couple first began working in Santa Fe, New Mexico where they met collectors and participated in many tent shows. As young and talented artists, they set a goal to open their own art gallery before reaching age 30. They moved to Phoenix in December 2015 and decided that Scottsdale was the perfect place to build their nest.
Desert Mountain Fine Art Gallery opened right on schedule and the young couple reached their goal. The gallery is unique in that it not only showcases their talented artwork, but is also a studio gallery, meaning they paint and sculpt on site for visitors to watch. They also offer a variety of classes and workshops that are available to all levels and artistic skillsets.
“Art is a journey to learn about ourselves,” said Phillip, “and the medium in which we work makes us aware of our environment and allows us to look at it differently.”
Their Wine and Painting class promises to be exciting. It is geared towards adult beginners; its goal is to expose even the uneducated artist to art. It is believed that those who are knowledgeable of a subject appreciate it more than those who are not educated on the topic. Our American culture as a whole is less appreciative of fine art today simply because they aren’t knowledgeable of its context.
“We want to make art accessible to our community so the average person can feel connected,” said Phillip. “We want this to be a place where art becomes part of their culture. People here are important to us. We want them to thrive.”
Kids classes will also be offered, currently for ages 7-12, but can vary depending on client demand. These classes are designed to stimulate the right side of the brain, known as the creative side. For young artists, this includes colors, observations and perspectives. Each class will offer tidbits of information to stimulate the brain and will feature its own lesson, rather than a continuation of material class to class.
Also starting in September, on the first Friday of every month, the gallery will host a special event featuring food, wine and live music to unveil their latest creations. They will tell stories of their work including specialized descriptions. Tickets will be sold on their website for advanced purchase.
“The art world is where I feel most at home,” said Phillip. “Sharing this dream together with Gabi has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. We are constantly creating new relationships with people. Our art is a part of their lives and their culture. That’s really the heart and soul of where I get my drive from. If I wasn’t able to sell my work and get it into other homes, I wouldn’t do it. It’s not an internal drive. Without others, there is no point. Our gift is a good deed for others and our community.”
For more information, visit desertmountainfineart.com.
Written by: Rebecca Zaner
Rebecca Zaner has written many stories throughout the valley and enjoys having the ability to share community news, journeys and achievements. Holding a Bachelor of Music, Rebecca’s favorite place to be is the stage. Having been a singer all her life, Rebecca is now in pursuit of a professional performing career, singing opera and musical theatre (rebeccazaner.com). Also an avid photographer, Rebecca owns a photography business, Rebecca Kaye Photography (rebeccakayephoto.wix.com/rebeccakaye). She enjoys the natural beauty of Arizona and can be found spending her free time exploring and traveling with her family.