A former NCIS agent who creates beautiful copper and steel sculpture inspired by nature; a professional singer and former teacher who now expresses her creativity painting and drawing; and a martial arts expert who once worked as a doctor of Oriental medicine before becoming a mixed media artist, creating original pieces with metal, wood, resin, clay, stone and glass — these talented artists, Wesley Hartin, Andrea Krudo and Louis Krudo, not only share a passion for art, they are family members who are participating in the 24th Annual Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour, taking place the last two weekends of November, Nov. 20–22 and Nov. 27–29.
Coordinated by the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills is Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour.
This is Hartin’s second year participating in the popular event. As host of the picturesque Wesley Hartin Art Studio (Studio #8 on the Tour) in Carefree, he will welcome guests to his private studio along with his sister in-law, Andrea Krudo, and her husband, Louis Krudo. Other guest artists, who will be set up outside at Hartin’s spacious studio, will include ceramist Jenifer Oberle, watercolorist Mona Houle and glass artist Jacki Cohen.
All of the artists are eagerly anticipating Hidden in the Hills, particularly at a time when many arts and entertainment events have been canceled due to the pandemic. And while art is a common bond for the three close family members, they work independently of each other, drawing upon their different life experiences and inspirations.
Art is Cathartic for Former Special Agent
Wesley Hartin credits his father, a science teacher and “shade tree” mechanic, for his decision to work in information technology, and later, turn his avocation of working as a metal artist into a professional career. An Army helicopter pilot who served as a captain in Vietnam, Hartin’s skills were so impressive he was recruited to join the Naval Investigative Services (NIS; now called NCIS) as a special agent investigating crimes. He served nearly 20 years on active duty and in the reserves, while in civilian life, he worked as an entrepreneur in the computer and aviation fields.
Since moving to Carefree with his wife, Suzanne, who he also affectionately refers to as his “muse,” Hartin now devotes most of his time creating art in his 1,700-sq.-ft. studio, which he built himself.
“While paint was my first love in art, I like the new challenge of working with metal,” Hartin said. “I admire the warmth of copper, and do work with it, but I have come to appreciate the flexibility and strength of steel.”
Hartin will exhibit and sell a variety of metal sculptures, ranging from agaves, ocotillos and floral designs to coyotes, javelina, birds and mystical creatures, like the Kokopelli. He also welcomes commission work, and past projects have included metal signs, gates and other functional pieces.
Find the details on this annual event and get a sneak peak at some of the participating artists and their artwork in our special 2020 Hidden in the Hills section, beginning on page 29 of the NOVEMBER 2020 issue.