Jerome Inspires Creativity

Jerome is a city that inspires creativity. It is a muse for painters, photographers and other artists who come to live and visit. The appeal of this historic mountain town comes from its spell-binding panoramic vistas, its dazzling light and its community of engaged, working artists.

“This place feeds me. There is so much creativity here,” says Jerome photographer Ron Chilston. Then pointing to a 230-degree view of the Mogollan Rim, he adds: “Oh, my God, look. This is where I go to sleep every night, and this is where I wake up every morning. How can you not come up with images!” Chilston sees his adopted city through his camera’s lens–whether it is a glowing night shot of the Jerome Grand Hotel or the colorful first flowers of spring. He also likes to take his camera and explore the dirt roads that are only minutes away; there are always unexpected visual discoveries. “I love it when people ask me, “Where were you?’” he says.

Photographs are the starting point for Jerome digital artist and poet Patrick Lincoln, who paints with his camera and computer. “I take a photo. Then I sit down at the computer and I try to dig out the painting,” he says. In his poetic, supersaturated images Lincoln captures the softness of the landscape, such as reed-like shacks peaking out of a gulch or old Jerome High School looking like a fairytale village in a dream. “Jerome is ringed in by beauty and awesome views,” says Lincoln.

“Open spaces, vast distances and amazing vistas are all there and smack you in the face.”

Mark Hemleben has been studying and painting Jerome for a dozen years. He captures the essence of his beloved city from many different angles in a way that allows a viewer to respond and interact with his work. “Jerome is like my haystacks,” he says (referring to Claude Monet’s impressive body of work.) Hemleben’s city snowscapes can make you feel cold; his sun-kissed buildings, dreamy; his panoramic overviews, dizzy, as you follow the cascading streets. Often called the plein air painter of Jerome, Hemleben doesn’t let a day go by without painting outside. Jerome is always a favorite subject. “I live in a miniature version of heaven,” he says. “The beauty here is so overwhelming and comes through in the work.”

–by Sylvia Somerville