Poster Artist Leslie Austin Captures Spirit of Wild West Days

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. (Oct. 3, 2016) – You may have seen Leslie Austin’s poster around Cave Creek promoting the 13th Annual Cave Creek Wild West Days, set for Nov. 2 – 6. The whimsical poster depicts a cool cowboy – his tall cowboy hat is branded with the event name and date, but it’s the reflection of his sunglasses that tells the story of the popular event. One lens shows the reflection of people horseback riding while the other shows people riding on their motorcycles.

“I wanted to show the melding of these two elements that are a big part of Cave Creek’s fabric,” Leslie Austin said. “I titled the poster ‘Fusion’ because it captures two diverse groups that will come together to help celebrate Wild West Days.”

wild west days 2016 posterAustin’s original painting of ‘Fusion’ is acrylic, measuring 11” X 17”. It will be on exhibit at the Cave Creek Information Center in Frontier Town. Posters are for sale for $25 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cave Creek Merchants & Events Association (CCMEA). Austin also will sign posters at the information center in Frontier Town on Sat., Nov. 5 after the parade and into the afternoon.

While Austin won a cash prize of $250 in the Wild West Days poster contest, she is more excited about the chance to share her art with others who are passionate about Cave Creek.  “I entered the poster contest because I’m such a big fan of Cave Creek’s community,” Austin said. “I was thrilled to learn that my painting was chosen for this year’s poster, and I hope it helps draw people to the event.

A Scottsdale resident, she started horseback riding again several years ago and fell in love with the area. “If you look closely at the reflection of the sunglasses on the poster, you’ll see where I ride at Patty Motley’s MTM Ranch in Cave Creek,” she said.

Originally a New Jersey native, Austin has been a local Arizona artist for 20 years. She began painting parallel to her teaching career. She spent 44 years teaching deaf students both in New Jersey and Phoenix, and has now turned her full attention to art.

An active member of the Scottsdale Artist League, she loves to explore her creativity with watercolor, pastels, pencils and oils. A juried member of the Arizona Art Alliance, she also volunteers to assist veterans during free art classes. Her diverse work can be seen at and at the Easy Street Galleria in Carefree. She also created a public art project, ‘Carefree Quail,’ at the Sundial.

Coordinated by CCMEA, Wild West Days takes place throughout town from Wed., Nov. 2 through Sun., Nov. 6. In addition to the popular parade and other family-friendly activities, this year’s event features several new events, including a Battle of the Bars bull riding competition, Bachelor/Bachelorette auction, and a motorcycle ride that will take riders outside of town. For more information, email or call (480) 437-1110.

evelyn johnson and leslie austin

Evelyn Johnson, President of the Cave Creek Merchants & Events Association, with Wild West Days’ 2016 poster artist, Leslie Austin.