Arts Column

Design deeper than surface


Steve Jobs once reflected on the concept of design by saying, “In most people’s vocabularies design means surface decoration, a veneer.  To me nothing could be further from the meaning of design it’s much deeper than that.” 

In the world of designer and artist, Cynthia Eral, her design in for interior space involve the senses and expansive imagination.

Cynthia grew up on a small Minnesota family farm in a home built in 1928.  Her world was filled with adventures in the woods, camping by the river, gardening with her grandparents and enjoying the captivating colors and patterns of the changing seasons. 

Her parents presented her with her first oil painting kit when she was nine.  With her mom as a creative example, Cynthia observed her as she managed the updating of their home with modern tastes, while maintaining the warm and charm of its original construction. 

Throughout Cynthia’s childhood she received painting lessons from area artists. She learned patience and new ways of challenging herself with a variety of materials and utilizing  the concept that, “It was ok to be yourself.” 

One of Cynthia’s favorite artists is Jessie Wilcox-Smith. A piece of hers entitled “The Senses: Hearing,” still hangs in Cynthia’s home today as a reminder to enjoy the simple things in life.

The move to Arizona came from an “adventure” Cynthia and her husband created for themselves to “get out of the cold temperatures of the Midwest.”  They set off on a month long motorcycle trip with the goal of exploring the Western United States.

Local artist Cynthia Eral in her Cave Creek studio.

With camera in hand and miles of highway and back roads to travel the couple ended up falling in love with the Sonoran Desert. It wasn’t long before they decided to relocate and start a new life with a much warmer climate and more than 300 days of sun.

Cynthia’s career path took her into the world of design.  Her first position was in visual merchandising and she never looked back. 

The opportunity to become involved with home design in Scottsdale was the catalyst that propelled Cynthia into creating her own art for clients.  The need to customize a home to her client’s personal preferences opened an opportunity for her to pick up her brushes and hit the canvas in very creative ways. 

During the design process Cynthia’s team creates vignettes for clients to view and help them understand the importance of continuity of furnishing and color through out their home and design project.  Over her 30 years of design experience Cynthia has created countless inspirational interiors for her clients homes; containing endless possibilities of creative interest. 

“The connection of art and home décor is powerful.  It creates a mood, a special place, even a destination for the soul.  I want to work with clients to help create personal spaces that are a reflection of their own identities,” Cynthia says about her work.

The painting abilities Cynthia has picked up over the years has allowed her to customize her client’s accent pieces even further with large and small paintings, interior and exterior murals and accessories she collects.  Anything is possible for building that right mood.

A painting by Cynthia Eral titled “Giants Among Us.”

She is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and exhibits her work at the El Pedregal Gallery in North Scottsdale. She is also active with the Desert Foothills Land Trust Events, Plein Air gatherings and Audubon Society events. 

This November, she will exhibit her work in the annual Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour at Studio #18.

Her work is available for purchase locally at Bungalow Furniture, Tierra del Lagarto, Big Bronco, Rusty Shack and The Emporium in Yarnell.  Cynthia also created animal cards to benefit Anthem Pets, which can be purchased at, The Rusty Shack and Tierra del Lagarto.

Cynthia is available for consultations at her studio in Cave Creek by appointment or her website, on Instagram @cindybrushinhand, as well as through the Sonoran Arts League

You can contact Arts Columnist, Shea Stanfield, on her email at: