Frank Ybarra

Written by Dolores Tropiano Category: Arts Issue: February 2012


Blending bright colors with a Neo-Cubist bent, Ybarra’s lighthearted paintings reflect his Hispanic roots. Many vividly depict moments from his childhood spent near Washington and 32nd Streets. In “Fresh Tortillas,” you can almost inhale the scent of his mother’s baking.  

Some of Ybarra’s work will be showcased in concert with the Arizona Centennial Commemoration – a statewide, multi-event celebration that runs through the end of 2012 – including “Imaginary Canyon,” “Mission San Xavier del Bac,” and “An Arizona Legend,” a portrait of Sandra Day O’Connor. Each reflects his knack for nailing the nuances of Arizona.

“I am a native, and my style captures a certain way of looking at Arizona,” says the north Phoenix resident.

Ybarra, 53, remembers drawing on brown paper bags as a toddler and always wanting to be an artist. He studied graphic design at Arizona State University and worked at Samaritan Health System before quitting his day job. In 2005, Ybarra battled Stage III colon cancer, but that didn’t curtail his creativity. He’s been featured at ASU Art Museum and at the Joan Cawley Gallery, 7135 E. Main St., Scottsdale. Visit him on April 21 at the gallery or online at ybarraart.com.