Arizona artist spotlight: Wayne Sumstine

Published: 01/28/2022
Updated: 05/06/2022

Meet Tucson-based artist Wayne Sumstine featured in our virtual art exhibit ‘The Ties That Bind’

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

What is not to love about being an artist in Arizona? I go to sleep at night contemplating what new adventures in creating visual art that I might undertake when I wake. I dream art. Regularly I wake up in the middle of the night and take notes for ideas to paint. I literally get up out of bed every morning to do art. It keeps me busy and interested in being alive. It keeps the heart pumping, the juices flowing and the mind clicking. I love to take risks with art and I even relish the failures from which I learn as much or more than I do from the successes. In that respect, failure is not only an option, but one to welcome. Art is a life of perpetually observing exploring and learning.

I currently work mostly in acrylics because they dry so quickly in the arid desert. This allows for almost instant changes, additions and/or corrections while painting. I like a quick fix because the ideas for new things often come fast and furious, and delays in getting them out could be frustrating. There is plenty of time for meditating on notions and the bigger picture when the brushes are not in hand.

I love the endless days of Arizona sunshine which bring sharp colors and subtle details directly into my sight and thus my way of thinking and being. My fascination with the ecological diversity of Arizona is renewed daily, from north to south and east to west, from the Grand Canyon to the Sonoran Desert borderlands, from the Colorado River to the White Mountains. Where else on earth do you have this much variety compacted into a region?

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

In many ways art doesn’t just play a role in community, it is community. It defines community. It binds ideas and people together. It tells our stories, it inspires reflection, it forms the webbing of life. People are filled with passion, anger, beauty, wonder, despair, romance… all the emotions that need to be expressed. That need is what it means to be human. Art is perhaps the healthiest conduit for releasing emotions and translating them into forms to be appreciated. Those who are denied that conduit, must find an alternate way to release those emotions or explode.

What is your favorite art venue/event in the Greater Phoenix area?

Elaborating on one or even a few art venues is uncomfortably reductive. The one I like most is the one I am experiencing at a given moment. The permanent collections at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum are at the top of the list for me. Their contributions are immeasurable.

The annual art walks in Tucson, Tubac and Scottsdale are just as exciting and surprising, where one can get exposed to the works of well-known and novice creators alike. However, if I were stranded on a deserted island and could have but one art venue located there with me, I think it would be the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. With world renowned shows and the permanent collections of Ansel Adams and hundreds of thousands of categorized photos available for research purposes, it may be the finest photographic museum in the country. In any event, it is certainly the finest I’ve had exposure and unlimited access to.


For more information about purchasing any of the artwork included, contact Wayne Sumstine directly: | Wayne’s website


Color Blinds painting

Color Blinds
Medium: Acrylic Painting
Dimensions: 24” x 18”
Price: $6,200





June on Route 66, Acrylic Painting

June on Route 66
Medium: Acrylic Painting
Dimensions: 18” x 24”
Price: $6,800




Sea Ania – Flower World, Acrylic PaintingSea Ania – Flower World
Medium: Acrylic Painting
Dimensions: 18” x 24”
Price: $6,200




Out of Chaos Came a King, Acrylic PaintingOut of Chaos Came a King
Medium: Acrylic Painting
Dimensions: 12” x 16”
Price: $3,400




Visit ‘The Ties That Bind’ to see nearly 100 original art pieces by 40+ Arizona artists