Arizona artist spotlight: Bobby Zokaites

Published: 12/08/2023
Updated: 12/19/2023

Meet Tempe-based artist Bobby Zokaites featured in our Public Art of Greater Phoenix Exhibit

What do you love most about being an artist in Greater Phoenix?

Phoenix is an epicenter of public art so, as far as what we do, we love being able to create aesthetic marks on the city. This is a wonderful place to be able to contribute; it’s an ecosystem where lots of people can contribute to the built environment of the city. And that’s rare.

What role do you think arts and culture plays in our community as a whole?

Building off of that last point, because there’s such a vast number of people participating, we get to live in a richly aestheticized city. Our studio is often making work with the public, our neighbors. Through the approachability of this type of civic engagement, we then get to collaborate with these communities to create the iconic visual cues that identify neighborhoods.

What advice do you have for artists wanting to get involved in the local art scene?

We don’t really think about it as a scene, we think of it more as an industry or field. While it is important to get out and about, attend openings and professional events, artists here can spend a fair amount of time in their studios; and because we can, we do. Artists in the area tend to be in it for the long haul and so there are a large number of ‘career artists’ in the valley. As millenials, it’s been gratifying to see our participation already span through some different revolutions of ‘scene.’

What famous artist, deceased or living, would you most want to have dinner with, and what local restaurant would you take them to?

I’d invite Isamu Noguchi out stone hunting in canyon country. We might venture down for Phantom Ranch’s famous stew: this stew is rumored to be the best you’ve ever had…but no one knows if it’s really that good, or if it’s because you had to walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to get it.

When you’re in a creative slump, where do you turn to for artistic inspiration?

For my public art projects, a sculpture project in Hawaii, Wailuku Wings, greatly influenced my approach to design research and inspiration. The project team had arranged a 3-day schedule packed with community experts and site visits that provided a huge trove of themes and ideas from which to develop a concept. With this intentional, thoughtful, and high-level guided research we were able to respectfully incorporate elements of Maui’s watershed system, historical woven patterns, and indigenous butterflies into the final sculpture.

Otherwise, my habit is to just get into the studio, even if only for craftsmanship exercises. If it’s summertime and the open-air studio is feeling brutal, I read; I pull a lot of inspiration from literature that could loosely be grouped under the category of adventurism (whether historical or sci-fi, memoir or fantasy fiction). All of the above helps in staying curious, challenged, and motivated.

For more information about purchasing his artwork, contact Bobby directly:

Email | Website| Instagram


A Time Machine Called Tinaja
Metal Sculpture
179’ x 74’ x 19

7304 W Crittenden Ln
Phoenix, AZ 85033

Collaborators: Dig Studio (landscape architecture)
Photo credit: BitterCandy Photo



Sign Remix
Metal Sculpture
20’ x 9’ x 5

E Apache Blvd
Tempe, AZ 85281

Photo credit: Grey Shed Studio



Antonym for a Tchotchke
Metal Sculpture
20’ x 6’ x 2’

S Dorsey Ln &, E Apache Blvd
Tempe, AZ 85281

Photo credit: Grey Shed Studio



Metal Sculpture
16’ x 2’ x 2’ ea. (5 lightposts)

Paseo del Saber & E Apache Blvd
Tempe, AZ 85281

Photo credit: Grey Shed Studio



Visit Public Art of Greater Phoenix to see 30+ original art pieces by 20+ Arizona artists

Editor’s Note: This blog has been lightly edited for length and clarity.