Artist Blends Spirit And Place, Past And Present

PAYSON PEOPLE

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An artist, a photographer and an equestrian, Pia Wyer combines her worldly experiences with a passion for the natural world.

She mingles these notions with a sometimes eclectic, sometimes realistic perception through the lens of her camera and the technology of photo-manipulation software.

Wyer's photography often contrasts the arid beauty of desert formations with the balmy glow of blooming flowers.

"People sometimes say I am too idealistic, but I believe that somewhere between utopian vision and the basic status quo, there is the possibility of something breathtaking," Wyer said.

The hint of English cadence in Wyer's speech is the remnant of a childhood spent in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of London.

She found the environment of her native England upbringing a source of artistic inspiration.

"Like many creative people, I try to balance my desire to engage with the world in a meaningful way with my desire to withdraw from it and live in the forest," she said.

Even as a child, she knew she wanted to pursue a life of artistic expression, and integrative spiritual experience -- and that's been a progression.

Her professional history includes administration, hospitality, trade-show planning, desktop publishing and hospice.

"I have also worked in sports car racing, the film industry, several private companies, and I've owned my own business," she said.

Wyer pursued undergraduate courses in studio art from the Amershan College of Art and Design, a little university in the Chiltern Hills, northwest of London.

From there, she moved to the south of France, and cultivated her burgeoning artistic abilities, a love of literature and fluency in French.

With an expression grounded in spirituality, Wyer explored the melding of human interaction and art. She attended Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif. and earned a master's degree in Culture and Spirituality.

But her family was drawn to the desert's stark landscape. So, in the fall of 1982, she moved to Scottsdale, and in 1994, to Payson.

"Payson is a wonderful environment with so much natural beauty," she said. "My spirituality and creativity are grounded in and informed by nature and a holistic approach to life."

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Pia Wyer

Her photography includes the Anasazi Ruins of Chaco Canyon, N.M., the flora and fauna of Gisela, owls and ravens and bleached bones.

Wyer's current endeavor takes her to Bend, Ore., where she's undertaken a two-year apprenticeship at the Sacred Art of Living Center. There, she's studying Anamcara -- the art of becoming a "spiritual midwife." The philosophy of Anamcara helps people work through the spiritual and emotional pain of grief.

"I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to return to my authentic work and life now, to explore deeper creativity and relationship with others," she said.

Wyer is in the process of setting up a new business called Animist Arts, LLC. She sells her own original artwork and provides services, such as photography, design, promotional materials and digital services, for other individuals and businesses.

For more information, contact Wyer at (928) 970-1266 or visit her Web site at www.animistarts.com.

Profile

Birthplace: London, England

Personal motto: "Live the questions"

Inspiration: Nature, art, my animal companions, poetry

Greatest feat: 20 years continuous sobriety

Pet peeve: People who try to impose their beliefs on others

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Being in nature, taking photos, riding my horse

Three words that describe me best: Honest, creative, compassionate

I don't want to brag, but ... I've done a lot of different things and met many interesting people from all walks of life.

The people I'd most like to meet: Elie Wiesel, Mary Magdalene, Vincent Van Gogh

Luxury defined: Having the time, opportunity (and courage) to live an authentic life

Dream vacation spot: Old growth redwood forests

Why Payson? I love the natural beauty of the area and clean air. A rural lifestyle helps me stay grounded in what is truly important in life.

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