Frank Ybarra captures memories and landscapes that ‘define Arizona’

Local artist Frank Ybarra captures the picturesque scenes of the southwest through his art, displaying images of the desert landscape, Grand Canyon and his childhood home in Phoenix.

Ybarra’s paintings are colorful and geometric, showing the beauty within everyday life. He gains inspiration from his surroundings and from his childhood.

“The pieces are about the neighborhoods, primarily Mexican families,” Ybarra says. “You can see everyday snippets of life. I did a piece of a kitchen at breakfast time… and one of a woman hanging up laundry on a clothesline.”

Landscapes are a common theme in his work. The bright oranges, yellows, purples and reds of the Arizona sunset are shown in his paintings of the mountains and wild. He says he focuses on the deserts north of Phoenix.

Ybarra also paints portraits, like the one of his dad leaning against a truck with a big smile on his face. His father passed away in 1999, inspiring him to paint the portrait in his honor. A bright, shiny trumpet stands out in the painting, resting in the air above his father’s head. Ybarra plays trumpet, and he says adding the instrument was his tribute to his dad.

It’s not common for Ybarra to create pieces that are also political, but it does happen. One painting shows a boy smashing a pinata. If you look closely, you can see that the pinata is actually made of brick and is meant to represent the proposed border wall. Ybarra says it’s not typical with his work, but he wanted to share what he thought of the wall.

Ybarra’s work can be found in Terminal 3 of Sky Harbor Airport in a collection of paintings titled “Stories from a Local Community.” His work is also displayed at the southwestern art gallery Casa de Artistas in Scottsdale. For more information on Ybarra go to

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Frank Ybarra, painter

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