Some artists often feel they must make a choice between producing art that expresses their political views, and producing art that sells.
Tucson-based painter, sculptor and gallery owner Steven Derks says that at this point in his career, he can do both. Dividing his time between painting and sculpting comes easily to him.
"They are equally satisfying to me," Derks says. "Now, after I have been doing one for a while, I hunger to do the other thing."
Early in his career, making statements about politics and social causes was dominant in his art. But as time went by, he also began to paint driven purely by his love for color.
"With painting, it's just a real basic relationship with color. It's just me and color sometimes, and nothing else," Derks says.
Derks felt the need to make a creative choice when dealing with emotions that he felt in the aftermath of recent events of gun violence, including the Jan. 8th, 2011 shootings in Tucson and at the Sandy Hook School shootings in Connecticut.
He says he channeled his reaction into his work, and what had been a series of stylized heart shapes done for Valentine's Day were transformed into a series of sculptures that mixed hearts with guns. Derks predicts that the work would be hard for him to sell.
"People don't gravitate to that. And, you know, let it be damned. I just decided that I have to," he says.