An Introduction to Phoenix Art

Art (noun) – the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.

Art comes in many forms:

Art is a whimsical Chihuly.

Art is a sloppy finger-painting hung upon the fridge.

Art is a bespoke, double-breasted Italian suit.

Art is a pair of selvedge denim that haven’t seen a wash since last Spring.

Art is a symphony, blending sounds with expert synchrony.

Art is an LSD-fueled drum circle, barbarically-beating in the depths of Joshua Tree.

Art is a reservation at Dorsia.

Art is a greasy 3am slice, slipping in-and-out of a blackout.

Art is clean, craft cannabis tailored to a patient’s needs.

Art is visiting the plug for a zip of loud.

Art is aged in century-old barrels, filled in a crystal decanter, and poured over stones.

Art is an ice-cold IPA after a shitty Wednesday.

Whatever art is to me, you, or that one smelly dude at work – art is.

At The Deli, not only do we hope to unveil all of the impeccable talent in Arizona…we want to show it off.

Interesting exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum? Let’s make a Saturday out of it.

Know of a new ramen spot up the road? It’s a date.

Underground techno rave in the industrial district? Hit our line.

Let’s face it. You’re sick of doing the same shit every week.

We’re gonna discover Phoenix, together. This is our naughty little secret.

To help get you started, here are a few places we find local Phoenix art.

Roosevelt Row Arts District

333 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, Arizona 85004

You’ve heard of First Friday. Yeah, it’s cliché…basic – wait, you thought it was cool? Shit, my bad.

Really, though..these Friday nights are an essential step to getting your toes wet in the sea of creativity Phoenix offers. Round up the squad, nosh a lil, and mill around. If anything – to say you’ve done it.

Now, let’s turn it up a notch.


bratwurst stuffed pretzel Short Leash Hot Dogs
Bratwurst Stuffed Pretzel from Short Leash Hot Dogs


Our best piece of advice is simple: park your car on Roosevelt and see where your feet (or eyes, ears…nose) take you. There are a grip of dope murals within a stone’s throw of one another, so it’s not difficult to start. 


Murals behind Carly's Bistro in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Carly’s Bistro
Bob Marley painting at Revolver Records in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Revolver Records
Tribute mural to Margaret Kilgallen by Carrie Marill on Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Tribute to Margaret Kilgallen by Carrie Marill
Mural by Lalo Cota on Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Roosevelt and 2nd St. by Lalo Cota


This vibrant piece (above) by Lalo Cota, reminiscent of a Jimmy Neutron brain blast painted in psychedelia, is a particular favorite of ours. Cota recently opened a small gallery, MoVida 602, in the RoRo (Roosevelt Row) District, adding a fresh dimension to the block alongside Carly’s Bistro and Golden Rule Tattoo.

To round it off, these Roosevelt spots have our nod of approval:

  • Revolver Records – because you just bought a record player from Urban Outfitters, we know
  • Short Leash Hot Dogs – them wieners is tasty, my dudes
  • Roosevelt Growhouse – nothing says “maybe the World isn’t so fucked after all” like growing vegetables in a metropolis

Don’t question. Just trust, fam.


1100 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

It might sound sketch to loiter in a hotel, and in 99.9% of cases, it isn’t recommended. The FOUND:RE Hotel is different. Opened in 2016, this 105-room accomodation resurrected the once abandoned building on Park and Portland.

A project of Habitat Metro visionary Tim Sprague – the hotel greets you with art before walking inside.


Ear sculpture by Ronna Nemitz outside the FOUND:RE Hotel in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
“Listening” by Ronna Nemitz


The FOUND:RE’s gorgeous, deconstructed space is filled to the brim with Phoenix work. And, who’s there to warmly-welcome you in the front door? A giant painting of a naked…well…you can find that out for yourself.

There are multiple gallery spaces. There’s a one-way mirror in the ground floor bathroom, for the voyeur in all of us. Every single guest room contains pieces from Arizona artists.


Paintings by Bobo Yo at the FOUND:RE Hotel in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona
Paintings by Bobo Yo


Is this a genius ruse prompting people to spend 105 unique nights? Most likely. But, I mean, you’re thinking about doing that now…so it kinda works.

It’s not all walls and paintings, though. FOUND:RE curator, Mike Oleskow, seeks to mesh multiple disciplines in symbiosis. From live music and poetry readings to community events and fine-dining – the hotel has quickly become a beacon for our desert: a massive city with a fiery personality.

Phoenix is an infant in the grand scheme of things, but the FOUND:RE is doing a fine job of nurturing our sprawling hell-hole into a place we can truly be egotistical about.


A series of art installations in the bar seating area of the FOUND:RE Hotel.
Bar area at the FOUND:RE Hotel


Cartel Coffee Lab

225 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

Cartel isn’t just any come-and-go coffee shop. Sure, you’ll find a medley of the traditional scenarios playing out, every time you walk through their doors: awkward first dates, group project seshes, and napkin sketching. As a wise soul once said, “whole lotta mood boards going on in here”.

But, what makes Cartel different? The infectious energy. Some attribute this unavoidable detail to the signature cold brew – but I think it’s something more. They foster an environment of chaotic comfort.

This aura is achieved by the stylish baristas who delicately-craft specialty beverages, and the unique music selections ranging from Björk to Nickelback, but what really tickles our whiskers is the local art littering nearly every wall.


Photo and Installations by Jake Hines (@_jakehines on Instagram)


Ty Dahlstrom, an art student at Arizona State University, curates pieces for all of Cartel’s Phoenix locations. She noticed the barren walls, working as a barista in the Sky Harbor location, and saw an opportunity for students to exhibit their work.

“I look for art that’s being created by the community surrounding each store,” Dahlstrom says, “Cartel is meant to be a place of community, and a big goal of mine to further that [feeling] is by curating work from artists in the area. Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe are all diverse areas, so it’s cool to see what artists blossom in each”.

Artists featured in Cartel gain invaluable exposure simply from the amount of traffic in and out of the shop. Some even sell their work to customers.


Painting in Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, Arizona.
Painting by Ryan Gentry (@rgeezers on Instagram)


Cartel’s walls are constantly rotating, much like their selection of imported beans, but there is one nook that seems to garner a considerable amount of attention – the restroom.

In the loo, you’ve got your bases covered: promo stickers, shit talk (hehe) and philosophical ramblings.


Piece of artwork found in Cartel's bathroom in Tempe, Arizona.
Found in Cartel’s restroom


One piece resonates with me, in-particular, though…a heated debate over the plastic waste coffee shops are producing. Through many visits to the John, this bit has affected my daily choices. Seemingly insignificant banter caused real change…and that’s tight to me, because The Deli wants to dig through every piece of the Arizona puzzle.

I’ll leave you with this: head to Cartel, order your coffee in a glass cup – and if the caffeine permits – melt for a sec. There’s cool shit to look at.

Art One Gallery

4130 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

There is no place that affects the way I view art more than Art One. From the streetwear I gravitate towards, to the ink needled into my skin – I’ve been inspired by this shop for nearly all of my 23 years.

Kraig Foote, the gallery’s owner, can recount times I was shorter than his knee, running around, trying not to touch things. The crazy thing? Touching is not only allowed – it’s recommended.

Stacks of hollow-core doors are scattered across the floor, used as substitutes for expensive canvases.


Stacks of paintings in Art One Gallery - Scottsdale, Arizona.
Paintings in Art One


Visitors are prompted to not hold back and flip through them. You can even find Foote bumping into a piece or two as he shows clients around the space. “I want people to not feel like they’re in a gallery,” Foote proclaims, “Touch things. Talk. It’s OK not to buy something and leave”.

While art may seem like a hoity-toity circle of intellectuals to some, it’s never been about the money for Kraig. The economic downturn in 2008 even forced Foote to find refuge in a warehouse, building a shower out of a horse trough. Why such extremes? Art One was incepted with an impressive vision.

One day, Foote saw students dumpster diving for supplies near work, and it donned on him that the art scene wasn’t all nude sculptures and ritzy soirees. After a night of overindulgence, he woke to a surprise on his bedside chalkboard – a scratched note he didn’t recall writing: Open Art Gallery for Students.

Through the help of generous benefactors, Art One was born in 1993. In its nearly 25-year history, the gallery gives students a venue to showcase their work, while raising money for programs across The Valley.

Kraig openly admits he knew nothing about art, previously pulling fabrics for interior designers at the Arizona Design Center. He tells students, ranging from elementary age to college graduates, “I don’t know how the fuck you make it. Educate me.” Surprisingly – nothing in the shop is attributed to Foote’s personal taste.


Sculpture of a nude body with traditional Japanese tattoos at Art One Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona.
OK…maybe some nude sculptures – at Art One


The gallery curates art people want – from the stark sculptures of Bryan Tubbs to the playful paintings of Luster Kaboom. “I want people to see what’s happening in Arizona. Holy shit there’s some great talent,” Foote asserts, “I mean – there’s nothing wrong with buying a piece from a guy in California. But, why not check out what’s in your own backyard first?”

There’s even work by artists with intellectual disabilities from The Autism Academy and One Step Beyond, Inc. If the gallery runs out of space? Students always come first, and non-students get the boot.

When asked for his recommendation to starting a brand new collection, Foote advises, “do not buy big, shop around, and don’t let anyone tell you what you should like”.


Painting of a roadrunner by Will Beger in Art One Gallery - Scottsdale, Arizona.
Painting by Will Beger (@willbeger on Instagram)


If you’ve made it this far, we hope you’ve learned at least one thing. You might be thinking – “Well that was fucking stupid, I’ve been to all 4 of these places, 34 times a piece, to be exact!”

We’re not experts, and we don’t hope to be. We just want to shed light on what’s happening in Arizona for those who care. Know of something we should feature? From rooftop bars to comic book shops, we want to scope it out.

Drop us a line

~ Thanks for stopping in ~


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