Indigo Verton
Indigo Verton
photography by Peter Scanlon

Red Door Salon

Indigo Verton, 33, painter, photographer, hat maker, ex-cabaret star, bartender, and self-proclaimed hippie child is one of three artists working in Red Door Studio on Grand Avenue.

Why "Red Door": The door was red when we moved in, so it was a no-brainer.

The deal with her own name: My mother had a hard time getting pregnant, and there were all these miscarriages, so my father decided that what she needed was some peace and quiet, so they moved to Morocco and lived on the beach in a tent. Apparently, indigo was the color of the ocean while she was pregnant with me.


Verton's work is up at Paulina Miller's, 817 North First Street in Phoenix, through December. Call 602-307-9643 for hours.

Where she's shown: The Paulina Miller Studio Gallery, Perihelion, Paper Heart, and here at Red Door.

The appeal of painting nude women: I like breasts. My paintings always seem to have to have one huge breast and one huge nipple on one side.

The response to her nudes: It seems like, unfortunately, when I put clothes on my nudes, they get more attention. I've gotten turned away from a few galleries because of my nudes.

Other talents: I got into photography a couple years ago in Belgium. I was living there for four years. I was in a gallery where you had to have two disciplines, so I was going to make marionettes, and then I realized it was so incredibly hard. Photography's much faster. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

The theme of her photos: I love cabaret. I was in the cabaret in Belgium. I was making the costumes, thinking, "Yeah, there's really material here."

And then there's the hats: Right now I'm absolutely in a hat-making mode. I'm trading the nudes for hats. We have to get on this brigade to get people to wear hats again. You just become a different person in a hat.

Favorite color to paint with: I'm addicted to using red. When I think of the cabaret, I think of red curtains and a plush, sexy, sultry environment.

What she misses about Belgium: The atmosphere. I miss walking all over the place. The winters are as long as the summers are here, so you have your seasons.

What she likes about Grand Avenue: Galleries are popping up everywhere. It's an epidemic. A good one.

What she doesn't like: We always get mistaken for prostitutes because the prostitutes are such bad dressers.

Her favorite city to live in: New Orleans was probably one of my favorites for debauchery. It's beautiful -- absolutely gorgeous -- and the people are as drunk as they are extreme -- all the time.

If she had a time machine, she'd live: In the '30s or '40s in Europe. I really like the frills and the cancan. There's nothing better than a woman in a fluffy skirt and feathers in her hair and long stockings.

What she does with her down time: When I'm not making hats and painting and doing photography, I can just look out the window with a cup of coffee for hours and hours and hours.

More on her hippie history: I was raised in a van. People ask me where I grew up in San Francisco, and I just answer, "Wherever we could park." I grew up with Santana playing in our backyard.

What's playing in her backyard now: I like schmaltzy French music -- it brings me back -- but I also like Tom Waits to kick me in the butt every once in a while, and Dolly Parton, just because she's fantastic.

What we wouldn't expect: I'm a real tomboy. I definitely like plastering and fixing electricity and that sort of stuff. When I was growing up, I always wanted to work in a hardware store. They know me at Home Depot now.

Favorite thing in her studio: This shawl my mother found in Belgium. She told me when I was younger that it was made by Spanish monks, but I don't think that's true.

Rituals while she works: Drinking and smoking, that's absolutely necessary.

Drink of choice: Moscato, the cheap, cheap white wine. It's really sweet, kind of like a Gewürz wine. Now that I'm not a teenager anymore and can't drink wine coolers anymore, that's kind of my wine cooler.

Why she's not a typical artist: I don't need to be a tortured soul to do my work; that's a crock. If you really want to do this, you don't need a reason.


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