We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Pugh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michelle, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always been creative and spent my childhood crocheting clothes for my dolls, making jewelry and painting. During my teens I spent every summer in Laguna Beach, California surrounded by art and artists. My creative career didn’t begin until I was in my forties, when I took a mosaic class. That was the start of becoming an artist for me. It became my therapy during a rough time in my life. Art makes me happy and when I can make others feel something too that’s the best feeling in the world.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am at my best creatively when I am surrounded by nature. Most of my art is inspired by the beaches of Southern California where I grew up, or the beautiful Arizona desert where I now call home. I love color and I am not afraid to use it!

I started my career creating mosaic art and jewelry. I have branched out into watercolors, acrylic painting, photography and during the lockdown I started doing digital art. I believe as an artist you are constantly evolving as your life changes. You should never be afraid to try something new and always believe in yourself!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Phoenix is full of so many great places! We would start our day with breakfast at First Watch and fuel up with some coffee and delicious avocado toast. Next, I would take her to the Japanese Friendship Garden, an oasis in the middle of Phoenix. It’s such a serene spot hidden away with a beautiful waterfall and friendly Koi fish. Then we are off to the Desert Botanical Garden to walk the trails and see the diversity of the Sonoran Desert. The desert is more than cactus and rocks and this is a perfect spot to show off what Arizona has to offer.
A must do on the list is the Phoenix Art Museum. There is always something new and exciting there and it’s always fun to see Yayoi Kusama’s Firefly Room.

There are so many amazing restaurants to chose from, Postino Central for their fabulous Bruschetta Board, Talay Thai for the best Pad Thai in the valley, or Presidio Cocina for authentic Mexican cooked with love.
After all of that eating, it’s time to hit the hiking trails at South Mountain. The view of downtown from the gazebo at the top is breathtaking.

Last stop is Desert Crafted, a wonderful boutique on 7th Ave. filled with artisan crafts. A perfect place to shop for a memento of her trip to Phoenix!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people in my life that have helped me along the way.

My Grandmother and Mom were both inspirational and nurtured my creativity during my childhood. My Mom had a dream to become a painter but didn’t pursue it because she was busy raising us and being a fantastic mother. I hope she’s looking down and proud of me for following her dream.

My friends deserve a shoutout for always believing in me. Without their support, I would not be where I am today.

My sons who are my biggest cheerleaders and help build me up when I’m being self critical of my work.

My Dad and biggest fan, for putting up with me all these years, I love you Dad!

Heidi Luerra, the founder and CEO of RAW Artists who purchased one of my first mosaic pieces and gave me the confidence to pursue my art career.

Lastly, all of the people who have purchased my artwork and jewelry, I appreciate you!

Website: www.smashgirl.etsy.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/smashgirlstudios

Other: www.society6.com/smashgirl

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.