Roger Kull celebrates 30 years as an artist

CAVE CREEK – You probably remember being warned the first time you visited an art gallery, “Look, but don’t touch!” Roger Kull quickly dispels that caveat by encouraging you to touch his work.
Roger KullRoger is an accomplished, internationally recognized artist known for his unique, sculpted, Southwestern, three-dimensional, Fine Art Leather paintings. His sculpted leather genre is Native American pottery, portraits, western, landscapes and historical recreations. Each piece is original, one of a kind.

It’s fascinating to watch Roger work. Using a saddle maker’s knife with a ceramic blade he deftly cuts the freehand image into the leather. The sculpture effect is created using a clay modeler’s spoon. The entire drawing and sculpting process is done by hand. When the leather is dry, the details are painted using dye. The final step is to apply the protective coating that allows his work to be touched.

Although Roger has long-term relationships with several galleries that show his work, he and his wife Judy Durr, best known for her still life oil paintings, enjoy traveling together. When they are not busy working in their Mountain Studio in Cave Creek they attend shows all over the Southwest and beyond.

“You can’t beat the shows,” Roger admits. “When you present your own work, you are much more likely to be successful.”

Shortly after his family moved from Pennsylvania to the San Fernando Valley in 1950, he was instructed by his parents to accompany a friend of theirs to her evening art class because she was afraid to drive in the dark. It was the first time he had seen leather work done the traditional way.

The first leather piece he created was a gift for his mom at the age of 10. It is an incredibly detailed piece depicting two cowboys drawing their guns on each other over a crooked card game, framed by an intricate leather braid called Spanish lace.
Fast forward 20 years. Roger held double degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering and was working for IBM. His boss praised his art work while talking with his clients, so Roger began doing commission pieces during his tenure at IBM.
Roger’s passion for art finally drew him away from the computer industry when he moved to Arizona in 1979. “It’s a pleasure to be in the business,” said Roger. The love of the art, the camaraderie and a willingness to work hard translate into 30 years as a successful full-time artist.

He works closely with his clients to compose commissioned pieces and will consult with them on the subject of the piece.
Roger offers this advice to those who ask about becoming a full-time artist, “If you want to work and you have something to offer, you can do this.”
A man of wide ranging talents, Roger is also the author of a delightful book, “Lightning Struck My Family Tree” a collection of 34 short stories about his childhood experiences. Readers will laugh until their cheeks hurt. Every story is from a realistic, but humorous perspective, with love and wisdom uniquely his.
For more information about Roger, his paintings, upcoming shows, galleries featuring his work and “Lightning Struck My Family Tree” visit his web site or call Mountain Studio in Cave Creek at 480-595-2443.

Photo by Shari Jo Sorchych