Emerging Artists | Schio, Ben, Nicholas

Spring is Coming by Iren Schio, painting, southwest art.
Spring is Coming by Iren Schio

By Margaret Brown, Bonnie Gangelhoff

Iren Schio

Iren Schio was born in Switzerland but has lived in New Mexico for the past 20 years working as an artist. Her specialty is monotypes to which she adds collage elements and colored pencil to build up layers of texture. Schio’s abstract compositions are created “to make you feel good,” she says.

Schio traces her artistic roots to her childhood. “I’ve always been interested in drawing, painting, and cutting and pasting,” she says, “It’s a natural part of my life.” At 16, she attended the Arts School of Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, Switzerland. After graduating, she spent a year traveling in France, Italy, and Greece, collecting small objects found along the roadsides which she incorporated into her artworks.

Schio just finished building a new studio adjacent to her home and is beginning work on a new series of three-dimensional pieces created with found objects. Schio’s works can be seen at Martha Keats Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. —MB

Inlayed silver bracelets and earrings and gold bolo ties by Arland Ben, jewlery, southwest art.
Inlayed silver bracelets and earrings and gold bolo ties by Arland Ben

Arland Ben

Arland Ben makes an impression on a piece of sterling silver, around the loop of a gold ring, on the slight curve of a bowl. His silverwork also makes an impression, as evidenced by the large number of commiss-ions he does yearly. People call from across the country with requests for bracelets, earrings, rings, and overlayed sterling-silver bowls. Using petroglyph-inspired motifs, Ben designs and crafts jewelry that reflects his Native American heritage.

The New Mexico resident grew up on the Aneth reservation in southeastern Utah. “When I was younger we didn’t have electricity or TV,” Ben says. “It forced us to use our imaginations.” He learned silversmithing from his brother-in-law; other tricks of the trade he has come to through trial and error. His work can be seen at Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Packard’s, Santa Fe, NM; Blue-Eyed Bear, Sedona, AZ; Dancing Bear, Evanston, IL; and Rewards, Austin, TX. —LB

Surf, Gloucester, Mass., by T.M. Nicholas ,painting, southwest art.
Surf, Gloucester, Mass., by T.M. Nicholas

T.M. Nicholas

As a boy T.M. Nicholas learned about the artist’s life at the side of his father, well-known painter Tom Nicholas. The youngster watched his dad paint and traveled with him to museums, galleries, and West Coast workshops with legendary artists like Millard Sheets. Today the younger Nicholas lives in Essex, MA, and is known for his snowy landscapes, but he also makes regular forays to California where he paints the breathtaking scenery of  Carmel, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe. At 35, Nicholas has established himself as an accomplished landscape and still-life painter, but he is not content with the status quo. “The main reason I started painting was to fulfill my own talent,” he says. “No artist knows how much talent they have inside them. The only thing we artists have control over is how hard we work. So I paint seven days a week, and I will be working at being a good artist until I die.”
Nicholas is represented by Pogan Gallery, Tahoe City, CA; Tom Nicholas Gallery, Rockport, MA; Argosy Gallery, Bar Harbor, ME; and Vixseboxse Art Galleries, Cleveland, OH.  —BG

Featured in “Artists to Watch” June 1999