Photo courtesy of Randy L. Barton
Artist, dancer and owner of Winslow’s newest art studio, PNDT DZRT art boutique, Randy Barton showcases his signature breakdancing moves in front of an eight-foot mural he created during the Winslow Arts Council Ink Fest this fall.
By Nolan Madden
Greek philosopher Plato defined art as the imitation of nature, until photography transformed that definition in the 19th century, and abstract art later overturned the entire notion that art was about representation in the 20th century. Art meant skill early on, but conceptual artists elevated ideas over execution. So, what is art?
Randy L. Barton may have figured out the answer. The 36-year-old Winslow-born Native American artist and owner of PNTD DZRT art boutique was introduced to graffiti art and b-boy street art at the age of 6.
After his public works gained recognition locally over the years, he began to freelance for other regional businesses, which he says led to a unique art installation opportunity.
“The way it happened was I painted a guest room mural at the Nativo Lodge hotel in Albuquerque in August of this year; the owner then asked me to do 76 more paintings,” he explains.
Barton says the reception was the beginning of a whirlwind year in his career, but love for family spurred him to bring his passion for art back to his home community.
“I came back to Winslow for my daughters. They’re in high school now, freshman and sophomore, so these are very important years. Just to make it as an artist I have to travel everywhere, but I have to be here for them,” he notes.
Barton celebrated the grand opening of his boutique Nov. 20. Of the venture, he relates, “My art career had slowed down and I had just enough ‘juice’ to make it happen. With Winslow being Winslow, I decided to open a gallery here and, hopefully, bring people to me.”
Barton still travels extensively and made his annual trip earlier this month to the 2015 Art Basel in Miami Beach, a renowned series of contemporary art fairs staged each year in Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach and Hong Kong that connects premier galleries and their patrons, and has gathered the international art world for the past 45 years.
This October, Barton was invited as artist in residence and live presenter at the independently organized TEDxTucson conference at the University of Arizona to celebrate and educate on Native American culture.
A week prior, he took 30 minutes of his time during the Winslow Arts Council’s inaugural Ink Fest to discreetly craft an oil painting commissioned by TEDxTucson as a stage backdrop for the event.
“I just decided to paint it live at the Ink Fest. I didn’t do it inside the plaza because there wasn’t enough, space. I don’t think they realized I was going to do a mural, and I didn’t want to detract from the Ink Fest,” he recalls.
“I painted it in the back near the restrooms, so anyone who walked by there got to see the show. I paint really fast, so I was pretty much done in 30 minutes. I tried to extend my time for the audience, so I painted the entire eight feet by eight feet in an hour,” he said.
A hip-hop aficionado, the multidimensional Barton also offers workshops in audio and expressive art forms, including turntable poetry and b-boying, also called breakdancing, a style of street dance that took pop culture by storm during the mid-1970s–and this in addition to neo-contemporary fine art, limited edition wearable art, mural production, graphic design and full-color print consultation. He plans to soon add sculpture and jewelry making to his growing repertoire.
“I still b-boy, I still compete, I still judge competitions. I competed and won at the ArtBattles festival last year, but this year I went just for inspiration and to connect with other artists,” says Barton.
Commenting on the current Winslow cultural renaissance, Barton expressed, “Winslow and this whole area is cool, it’s kind of like a little beach town. People just need to switch the frequency.
“I really just want to inspire people. With music, art or anything, if people haven’t seen it or don’t know about it, you have to bring it to them and teach them, to be an inspiration. That’s how art is.”
PNTD DZRT art boutique is located at 200 E. Second St. Hours are 12 noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visit www.pntddzrt.com for more information.