Yatika Starr Fields, an artist currently in transition from New York City to Los Angeles, made a stop in Phoenix for the early March mural event Paint PHX to create Sonoran Waltz a new mural on 16th Street.
Fields, a friend of local artists Thomas "Breeze" Marcus and Douglas Miles, was visiting his home state of Oklahoma and found that the timing was right for a drive to Paint PHX to paint his first mural in Arizona.
"The timing of Paint PHX with the Heard Market was a good time to kind of have fun and get my work seen in Phoenix," Fields says.
The mural, located on Calle 16 at 2202 North 16th Street at Arizona Carpet Care, is Fields' abstract interpretation of the atmosphere and "feeling" of being in Arizona.
Although he says he normally wouldn't title a big mural, and allow viewersto interpret the work in their own ways, the name Sonoran Waltz was inspired by the desert's sun and the feeling Fields got while painting the mural.
"On the second day I was painting and I was pretty sun-beaten at that point. It had been a while since I had felt the sun like that. Then looking at the mural, there is a harmonious joy to it. It's fast but not so fast, and it can be slow, which is like the waltz," Fields says.
The mural took 26 hours to paint, and Fields worked after dark with lights illuminating the wall.
When he works in a studio environment, Fields uses oils to paint, but he created the mural street-art style, using spray paint and exterior house paint as the base.
"I used house paint with rollers and rolled big geometric forms, and laid all spray paint over it," Fields says. "Whether I'm in a studio or working on a large wall, I use layers until the final piece is revealed."
Instead of making a plan for his pieces before painting them, Fields prefers to just go with the flow.
"I don't like putting expectations on myself. I usually like to work from what I'm feeling. I take in the atmosphere where I'm at, the colors, and that gives me a lot of leeway," Fields says.
With his paintings, Fields says he seeks to create new worlds that intertwine the contrasts between "nature and the urban environment," resulting in abstract pieces like Sonoran Waltz.
Another medium that Fields worked with in the past is black and white photography. He explains that a difference when taking photos is that he is capturing the beauty he finds, while, when painting, he is creating it.
Although he still enjoys taking photos, Fields is currently dedicating his time and career to painting.
"There is a lot to be investigated and it's a lifelong journey with painting. It's learning how to paint and how to evolve with painting, whether its on a large wall and figuring that puzzle out, going into the studio with oils, being patient with drying time," Fields says. "There is a lot to be learned from that."
See more of Fields' work at www.yatikastarrfields.com.