Art In Life

Michael Magrin

I strive to create compelling paintings that reveal the eternal power and divine nature of God.

Michael Magrin holds an undergraduate degree in biological premedical illustration and a masters in secondary science education. He paints primarily Colorado skies with oil on Belgian linen. 

Michael says he finds his conviction and inspiration from Psalm 19:1, which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim His handiwork.” He is drawn to skyscapes in an attempt to reflect this conviction. 

What does art mean to you?

Painting is a conviction. It isn’t something that I hold, rather it is something that has a hold on me. I strive to create compelling paintings that reveal the eternal power and divine nature of God and want people to have a strong emotional response to my work.

Describe your medium and your subject matter.

I try to look at our Colorado skies from a unique perspective of fresh as well as ancient respect. This passion drives me to use the highest caliber materials to produce museum quality oil paintings that will value with time. 

The daily newness of the skies reminds me that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. These are the stories I love to paint. My desire is that my commissioned paintings might evoke a response that strengthens over time as they anchor a room, becoming a conversation piece and perhaps an heirloom. I love the commission process. To paint with someone in mind and to share in the telling of their story is one of my favorite parts of this calling. 



Behnaz Ahmadian

Art is how I meet new people, new friends, new opportunities that allows me to grow and challenges me to learn new things.

I was born in Iran and at age 8 moved to the United States with my family. I grew up in Abington, Pennsylvania. My mother passed away from cancer when I was in college, and after I graduated my father and I moved to Denver to be with my brothers. I worked as an interior designer and, after my son was born, I sold my children’s art. I then started painting and drawing and eventually started getting commissions, which embarked my art business and creative path. My mother, who was a fashion designer, is my motivation and is the one who always inspired me to be creative. With each piece that I create, I hope to share the feeling of love and joy my mom worked so hard to nurture in me as a woman, artist and designer. Currently I live in Highlands Ranch with my very supportive husband and my artistic 9-year-old son.

What does art mean to you?

Art means everything to me. I get to express and communicate my emotions and ideas. It’s very crucial for me to be able to self-expression myself and be able to escape from every day. Art is how I fit into my surroundings. It’s important for me in this fast-paced world to stop and look at my surroundings, take notice in the details in life and objects, take my time to stare and appreciate all the intricate details in life. For my art, I want the viewer to get up close and stare at all the patterns and shapes and to feel a sense of satisfaction and energy.



Kenny Berndt

Creating art through metal signs means I can express myself and create legacy for a family or business.

Kenny Berndt lives in Parker with his wife, Brooke, and his black Labrador, June. After a nine-year journey, he and his wife are expecting their first child. He comes from a military family and served in the Army National Guard for six years in South Dakota before settling in Colorado 20 years ago. 

What does your art mean to you?

I started Black Dog Metals in April 2019. I felt the pull to start something that was my own and that gave back to veterans and our local community. Honestly, what started the metal sign idea was seeing a sign from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia store that my wife liked. I thought to myself, "I can make that!” So I taught myself. Creating art through metal signs means I can express myself and create legacy for a family or business. We also give a portion of our proceeds to a non-profit that places service dogs with veterans. 

Metal is something I like to work with because of the different layers required to make a finished piece. There are so many layers to the process. And what I like is not every piece is the same. They are all unique.

What do you hope for with your art?

What I hope for with my art is that we are able to make a true difference with our charity partners by giving back to them as much as we can and our customers have a piece of work that will be a legacy for them and their family. It truly has been an awesome challenge getting this small business up and running, allowing me to be creative as well as give back to our charity partners. I do look forward to the day I can scale this business enough to hire on other veterans. 


Lauren Zavala of Zavala Bespoke

With my art I hope to contribute to art being seen daily. I think wearing art on clothing, wallets or bags is so unique for so many people and can be so incredibly personal to each and every person.

Lauren initially founded Zavala Bespoke as a passion project after finishing her master's degree in decorative arts in London and moving back to Colorado. After it started gaining traction, she says, she shifted to full time at ZB. She now lives and paints in Boulder.

Describe what art means to you. 

Art means just about everything to me. I went backpacking after high school when I didn’t know what to study in college. It was then that I discovered a deep love of art. I then started studying Art History at CU Boulder where I studied abroad in London for a semester. The more I studied and experienced art, the more I loved it, which is why I quickly moved back to London to pursue an MA in Art after graduating. Seeing so many artists and their work, past and present, in London and studying art throughout history is inspiring and has always pushed me to want to create.

When I get anxious or stressed, I have always needed to create, be it watercolor, charcoal, acrylics, etc. I was writing my master’s thesis in London when I discovered leather-based paint. I thought it was an incredibly fun way to be able to wear and appreciate art, and so I made gifts for family that year including a leather jacket for my boyfriend. So many people started asking about his jacket that I started Zavala Bespoke for fun. And now here we are!

Talk about your particular medium and subject matter.

I use a combination of paints on my pieces. The paints I use are made for leather, meaning when the leather bends or stretches, the paint doesn’t chip or crack. Painting on luxury goods, it is extremely important to me that each piece is made to last for years to come. Each design is a collaboration between myself and my client. Some clients have specific ideas or pieces in mind whereas other clients give me the reigns and leave designing up to me. I paint in a pop art style with impressionistic influences typically. My favorite designs are those that come from nature in some way like insects, skulls, lips, and florals. 

What do you hope for with your art?

With my art I hope to contribute to art being seen daily. I think wearing art on clothing, wallets or bags is so unique for so many people and can be so incredibly personal to each and every person. That is my goal working with my clients is that each person gets a piece that is totally unique to them and that when friends or family ask about it, they have a story on what that piece means to them. 



Olive Moya

I don’t want (my art) to only exist in a gallery or museum setting to be viewed by those who generally venture into those types of spaces.

Olive Moya grew up Southern California and currently lives and works in Lone Tree. She received her BFA from Otis College of Art + Design in Los Angeles in 2011.

What does art mean to you?

Art is everything. It’s how I relax, and it’s how I recharge. It’s how I process my emotions, release frustration and find meaning in the world. It’s how I share myself with others. When I travel, the first thing I want to do is experience art (and food, my other favorite form of art!) I wouldn’t refer to my need to create as a burden, but more of a privilege. I think most human beings have an inner need to think creatively in some capacity and haven’t found their way of utilizing it. I feel lucky that I have a strong drive and ability to do something so personally fulfilling.   

Describe your medium, especially your murals.

I create work that I describe as “abstract storytelling.” They’re bold graphic colorscapes with defined edges, line-work and movement that reference my background in illustration and lettering. For me, they represent a push and pull between intuition and control.

I started painting murals for that reason. I don’t want it to only exist in a gallery or museum setting to be viewed by those who generally venture into those types of spaces.

What do you hope for your art?

I want it to be seen and hopefully create meaning for anybody out in the world. There’s something special about knowing others might feel ownership over what I make, like how people feel ownership over music they love. That they will walk past that wall in their neighborhood every day and feel like it’s theirs. 

I can’t wait to keep progressing in that direction by conquering bigger and more public spaces and more challenging concepts.



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