Terry Pisel Discusses His Arizona-Inspired Exhibition "Valley Of The Sun" at Practical Art

Photographer and artist Terry Pisel returns to Practical Art this month with his unique method of manipulating photographs, both digitally and by hand, with "Valley Of The Sun."

This is Pisel's second exhibition at Practical Art in two years. His previous exhibition in March 2011 was called "Chicago," and was a collection of altered images of the Windy City.

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Phoenix New Times recently talked with Pisel about his upcoming exhibit.

What sparked the idea to create this collection?

As an artist I find Phoenix very hard to capture due to the fact that I live here and places that used to seem amazing have now become commonplace and are now overlooked in search for the next place or the next thing to make this city great.

This collection is an attempt to look at Phoenix with fresh eyes and to reintroduce the city that we all know and love with images that capture some of our more unique features set amongst its biggest asset, the skies.

What was the process in making this collection?

I like to work both digitally and with paint to complete my pieces. My process often begins with digital alterations to the photos such as adding or removing features, adjusting composition, and correcting light and color balances.

On the canvas, I like to use layers such as newsprint and gold leaf under the images to create depth. For instance, in the Valley of the Sun series I used different metal leafs collaged in the medium to symbolize the light that comes from the sun in an attempt to give the light more of a presence in the piece.

You are an Arizona native. What is it about Arizona that keeps you here and inspired?

I have always been inspired by the skies in Phoenix. Whether the sky is bright blue, cloudy and grey from monsoon storms, or a colorful evening sunset, I look forward to seeing what the skies will be every day. And this is why I looked to the sky for my main source of inspiration for my latest series "Valley of the Sun".

"Valley Of The Sun" will show through the end of November and Practical Art co-owner, Lisa Olson, couldn't be more pleased to have him back.

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Taylor Brooks