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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Imagination is Everything

Albert Einstein observed that "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." In the case of Scottsdale artist John West, he received glimpses of his future, in creativity, years before he arrived in that future. Growing up in Santa Monica, California, West experienced a fascination with "all things creative" due to his insatiable curiosity and willingness to try new things. He remembers, Teachers, throughout the years, introduced various projects into the curriculum, like art projects; each one was an adventure for West. But according to him, "The big break was taking a chainsaw carving class when I was an adult. From there, I took classes in carving, twig furniture making, and welding." However, West's career focus would be teaching junior high and high school Science for 33 years in Beaverton, Oregon, as he raised a family.

The time came to consider adjustments for retirement; the long, dreary, wet winters in Oregon prompted West's thinking about a second home in the Phoenix area. The fact his wife had children and grandchildren in Arizona made the state an easy choice. Scottsdale became the couple's second home 15 years ago, making West and his wife Valerie official "snowbirds" with summers spent in Washington state. The couple's Pacific Northwest home occupies 2 ½ acres, including a studio/woodshop, perfect for West's outdoor chain saw carving projects. He sculpts with clay and fiber as the mediums of choice to accommodate a smaller working area when he is in Scottsdale. To add to the inspiration, West comments, "My wife, Valerie, is an artist, a painter to be exact, so we inspire one another."

"The big break was taking a chainsaw carving class when I was an adult. From there, I took classes in carving, twig furniture making, and welding."

John West's Imagination is on full display in his subjects, be it horses, birds, or any number of wildlife subjects. Colors pop, legs elongated, and torsos are exaggerated with various expressions that gaze back at their admirers. West is a member of the Sonoran Art League in Cave Creek, Arizona, and exhibits with the group during the "art season." www.sonoranartsleague.org He is also a member of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and does sculptures of some of the other members. www.cowboyfastdraw.com. To date, West is actively looking for an exhibit venue near their summer home on Bainbridge Island.

Suppose all of this doesn't keep artist John West busy enough. In that case, he is also a fiction writer, a true example of imagining anything! His two books, "Marshallville" published in 2019, and "Marshallville Revenge" published in 2020, is available on Amazon. West is also active in production work on a CD of his own cowboy poetry. West comments, "I choose art as an expression because I feel I need to create to keep my mind active." He goes on to add, "I am 78 years old, and it excites me to create something people enjoy. Now that I'm retired, I can let my mind take off." No telling what the next glint of Imagination from artist, writer, and producer John West will produce. Stay tuned for the coming attractions!

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