Local Artist Jeff Zischke Opens a Charming New Gallery in Scottsdale
At Scottsdale’s Zischke Gallery, art, creativity and coffee are among the offerings.
By Nora Burba Trulsson | Photography by Chris Loomis
Owner and main artist: Jeff Zischke
Opened: August 2022
Size: 1,300 square feet
Location: 7172 E. Main St., Scottsdale
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., noon-9 p.m.
Phone: (480) 815-2929
Background Valley artist Jeff Zischke has a rep for doing high-profile public art pieces, including his 23-foot-tall, 40-foot-long, stainless steel horse sculpture at Scottsdale’s WestWorld; the 50-foot-tall spire created for the City of Peoria and, most recently, his illuminated “SunDrops” installation, suspended over the water during November’s Canal Convergence in Scottsdale—his third time participating in the long-running art festival. Also in Scottsdale, his abstract human figure sculptures animate the lobby of W hotel, and you can see his seed-pod sculptures along the trail of George “Doc” Cavalier Park. And he’s not done yet—upcoming projects include sculptures for new apartment communities in Chandler and Scottsdale. But the Michigan-born polymath and one-time high school art teacher has done everything from painting and furniture to nightclub and restaurant design—including Axis-Radius and Zen 32. “I can’t be an artist who does the same thing over and over,” he says. “I like to experiment with new things, new mediums.”
Gallery Concept “People know me for my big public art projects,” says Zischke, “but I also do a lot of smaller things, such as tables, lighting, small sculpture and commission work. The gallery lets me showcase all those things.”
Location, Location, Location The new gallery takes its place along Main Street’s historic gallery row, known for its Thursday night ArtWalks.
The Transformation Zischke did all the buildout himself, converting what was once a skin care and cosmetics retail space into a cool, airy gallery. “I lucked out with the original wood floors and high ceilings,” he says. “It seemed destined to be a gallery.”
What’s in Store Among the offerings are Zischke’s paintings, tables, chairs, light fixtures, sculptures large and small, a porcupine quill set, wooden coasters and his signature “Groovebots,” whimsical desktop character sculptures. Smaller items are displayed on bookshelves—literally, shelves made out of books anchored to a wall. “I put as much effort into designing small things as I do massive installations. It’s all about design.”
Price range $5 for 3D-printed pinky rings to $1.15 million for a painting influenced by Picasso’s “Guernica.” “Obviously, I’m not that interested in selling that piece,” he laughs.
Made to Order Commissioned work by Zischke is also available, either inspired by pieces that are in the gallery or new creations designed for a specific space.
Don’t Miss Zischke’s desert bonsai, ceramic bowls filled with clipped arid-region miniatures, such as tiny boojum trees and pale desert salt bush.
Not a One-Man Band Zischke’s also invited Arizona friends to showcase their work, including sculpture by Lyle London, surrealistic landscape paintings by Linda Storey London, ceramic tableware by Christiane Barbato, jewelry by Pat Hill, handcrafted soaps by Geraldine Gyger and Galeana39 home scents by Curtis Parham.
Coffee Spelled With a ‘Z’ The front of the gallery features Cafe Zolador, a small coffee bar, which specializes in Zortados—a portmanteau of “cortado” and “Zischke.” The pour-over coffee comes complete with a fictional, illustrated backstory of one Alejandro Zuga, a character inspired by Zischke’s travels to Spain, Portugal and Puerto Rico. You can read Zischke’s book on the mythical Alejandro while you caffeinate. “Even coffee is an art project for me,” he says. “It had to have a fun story behind it.” The coffee, cloth filter and a Zischke-designed filter stand are also available for purchase, as are tea blends.
Make Yourself at Home Part of the gallery can be booked as a private meeting or event space, surrounded by art. With a full commercial kitchen in back, plans are also afoot to serve Sunday brunch on a 16-foot-long Zischke-designed table.
Instagram-Worthy Zischke’s floral mural forms the backdrop to a shaded patio outside the gallery’s entry. “It’s a magnet,” he says. “People are always posing for photos out there.”