The first American art

Shea Stanfield

“Rock art is the first American abstract art…my goal is to build a link between contemporary and prehistoric art.” Charles Huckeba.

Local artist Charles Huckeba has made a name for himself nationally and internationally with his bold, multi-textural contemporary interpretative paintings of ancient rock art of the Southwest.

Born San Antonio, Texas, Huckeba and his family relocated to the Mojave Desert area in California just before he entered high school. His father was an accomplished artist in the media of pen and ink and wood sculpture, but his talent remained in the area of avocation rather than vocation throughout his life. Huckeba would take that family talent and run it over the goal line into an extremely successful artistic career.

Huckeba attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. While completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he was introduced to the influence and guidance of well-known contemporary painting artists Gary Brown and Larry Rivers. Huckeba continued his studies into graduate work with a focus on creating paint layering and texture techniques, which have become his signature style in his painting over the years. On his way to becoming a full-time independent artist in his own right, Huckeba worked as a commercial illustrator, art director and graphic designer and a gallery owner in Prescott.

In 1997, Huckeba and his wife, Jill, decided to leave their 30-year residence in Santa Barbara behind and relocate to Prescott. One of the draws to the Northern Arizona was the open landscapes and a rich heritage in Native American influences, specifically the presence of undisturbed rock art sites. Huckeba works from two different studios – one in his home near Route 66 and the other in his Huckeba Art Gallery in downtown Prescott. He considers himself fortunate to have built a successful painting career since 1993. His success is, no doubt, attributed to his continuous quest to develop new and innovative painting techniques. Ten years ago, Huckeba created ChromaTextures, an original acrylic assemblage technique, which accounts for nearly half of his current body of work today. Each new commission is an invitation for him to push the limits a bit more on this very versatile technique.  Huckeba exhibits in natural history museums in the western United States and on the east coast at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. He also enjoys an enthusiastic and loyal collector base across the country.

The public will have an opportunity to meet Huckeba, ask him questions, watch him work and take home a magical masterpiece of their own during Arizona Fine Art Expo which runs through March 22. It’s open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is on the southwest corner of Jomax and North Scottsdale Road.  

Huckeba will be back to work at Huckeba Art Gallery, 227 West Gurley Street in Prescott from April through December. His work can also be viewed on Instagram #chromatextures and on Facebook: Charles Huckeba and Huckeba Art Gallery. For further information, contact Huckeba by email at charlesnjill@yahoo.com or call the gallery at (928) 445-3848. For more information on the Arizona Fine Art Expo, go to www.arizonafineartexpo.com.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield on flowingquill@yahoo.com.