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Artist Sarah Hurwitz on the Legend of the Great Canal Monster

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Best of Phoenix hits newsstands Sept. 26. In conjunction with this year's Vintage Phoenix theme, New Times is collaborating with R. Pela Contemporary Art to present "Hot Plate!" It's an exhibition of one-of-a-kind, Phoenix-inspired commemorative plates made by local artists. Leading up to the show's Oct. 4 opening, we're profiling each of the contributing artists and visiting their studios. Today: Sarah Hurwitz.

Sarah Hurwitz has an eye for the little things. And the big things, too. The Arizona native knowns how to capture the details in her illustrations and paintings, but her ability to bring this work to a grand scale is where she sets herself apart here in Phoenix. Earlier this year, Hurwitz turned Eye Lounge into a dreamy collection of oddities in "Everything I have ever wanted to own", which featured portraits of the first 23 American Presidents and a sushi conveyer belt (among other things).

See Also: Hot Plate! Best of Phoenix Commemorative Collaboration Opens Oct. 4 at R. Pela Gallery

Hurwitz works in a studio located off of Roosevelt that doubles as her home. Large sliding doors provide ample natural light for her workspace, which is covered in pens and pencils. When she isn't making art, Hurwitz teaches drawing at Paradise Valley Community College.

What's your earliest memory of Phoenix? Maybe not my earliest but my fondest, was swimming in the irrigation in the summer. It was my Phoenix equivalent to an open fire hydrant, just with more bugs.

What inspired your plate for this show? I grew up close to Encanto Park and would often fish and throw back the catfish that lived in the pond there. Since it is a man made "lagoon" there are large bubbly spots, where I assume, the water gets circulated with air. I was convinced this was the resting place of the great canal monster. A creature that cruised the canals around town and would sleep at night in the park. My plate is based on this "Legend." I'm a firm believer that every big city needs its own urban legend.

Phoenix needs more: More quality bagels!

Phoenix needs less: Checks into cash's and tire shops (or just at least not more).

What's on your plate this fall? I will be in Handmade Riot's one year anniversary show on the 20th at Palabra Collective. Teachin' Drawing at Paradise Valley Community College and sewing up a storm in a textiles class taught by Saskia Jorda, and maybe moving studios, again!

See Sarah Hurwitz's work when "Hot Plate!" opens October 4 at R. Pela Contemporary Art.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.