Visual artist turns heads with space paintings

Weekend nights are always a blur on Mill Avenue with crowds seeking the next bar or open restaurant. But movement comes to a halt near Urban Outfitters on Mill Avenue and 6th Street, where visual artist Bruce Cormier spray paints space landscapes for passers-by.

Cormier, whose business cards read, “Painting the universe a little at a time,” has been spray painting pictures on Mill Avenue during weekend nights for years.

Cormier begins each piece by setting a scene using circular objects, such as plates, peanut butter tops and soda bottle lids, before beginning to spray paint.

He creates stars by flinging paint with his fingers and blends the solid layers using an old newspaper to make backgrounds such as a city skyline. The paintings are created quickly and sold just as fast.

Dominick Cinquemani, who makes roses out of palm fronds almost every day on Mill Avenue, said he doesn’t know too much about Cormier, but that the crowds he draws “impede” the sidewalk.

“The cops have had to yell at them to get out of the street,” Cinquemani said.

Cormier, who started traveling the country in 1999, said he wanted to be a traveling artist but wasn’t sure how to go about it.

“I worked two jobs for a while and got a really nice vehicle that I pretty much slept out of while I traveled,” Cormier said. “It was really nice until I realized that the money runs out and I wanted to keep traveling.”

He was new to traveling and had never tried to make a living from his artwork before.

“I knew I wanted to sell my art and didn’t know how,” Cormier said. “I came across someone using spray paint … and that’s where it sort of clicked.”

He went to school for animation, has worked with acrylics, oils and watercolors and has done drawing and a little sculpting, but spray painting is unique.

In addition to his weekends on Mill Avenue, he participates in events, such as First Friday in Phoenix, Second Friday in Mesa and other festivals.

He said he thinks of Mill Avenue as his home base and has painted there more than anywhere else.

Paulann Cordova, Cormier’s fiancé, is also an artist and is known as Xandriss in the art community. She creates paintings using a single line.

“I love artwork in general,” Cordova said. “I’m an artist as well and just creating is the most exciting thing to me.”

Cordova said she likes how the painting evolves right in front of one’s eyes.

She said this process allows Cormier to be more creative.

“Because he’s so fast, he’s able to exercise his creative muscles,” Cordova said. “It’s just really cool what he can come up with.”

Cormier said he wants to start getting into galleries and reach into other areas of the art community.

Cormier’s art is available on his website.

Reach the reporter at amrami13@asu.edu