WHEN TALENTED PROFESSIONALS TALK, WE LISTEN.

Western Home Journal introduces you to three Montana entrepreneurs who meld their artistic visions with business acumen to create successful enterprises.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your bathroom or kitchen with new tile, design a custom home from the ground up, or find a one of kind painting, Bozeman has the talented professionals to help you get your project done.

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“I consider each application a piece of art.”
–Ashley Hertz, Owner, Onyx Studio

Onyx Studio

Ashley Hertz, owner

Inspired by historical tile and stone applications in Moroccan mosques and European cathedrals, Ashley Hertz brings to her Montana studio a classical background as well as a contemporary perspective. Selecting the right tile can be overwhelming and Ashley makes the process easier, taking time to understand her clients and the scope of their projects. The result is a customized order that perfectly fits the client’s style and functional needs.

What services do you offer?
Onyx is a boutique tile studio showcasing dimensional tile and stone for both interior and exterior applications. We work with architects, interior designers, contractors, and homeowners to specify and provide hard surface materials for all areas of residential and commercial projects.

How did you get started in your field?
I fell in love with tile at the age of 19 and worked a part-time job at what was then known as Fantasia Showrooms. I have been passionately engaged in the tile industry ever since. I purchased Fantasia in 2017 and rebranded to Onyx Studio. It’s been the most rewarding part of my career.

What projects are you most excited about right now?
Currently we are working on residential and commercial projects that have really fun tile and unique specifications. Additionally, we have a beautiful residential development in Calgary, a custom home in Boca Raton, and a boutique hotel in Washington. It’s pretty cool to share our love and expertise for tile with those not just in southwest Montana, but also outside of

the state.

Describe your process and how you work with clients.
The world of tile is vast and ranges from beautiful handcrafted tiles, through simplistic yet bomb-proof porcelain, to naturally gorgeous stones created by Mother Earth. Knowing which tile is right for a specific application can be daunting. By forming relationships with our clients and understanding the way they utilize a space—along with their style, budget, and timeline—we are able to specify a product that is most fitting to them.

What do you offer that is unique?
Each project and its requirements are unique. Onyx represents several tile collections that offer custom colors, patterns, shapes, formats, and thicknesses for both interior and exterior applications. For interiors, the sky’s the limit! We can build custom stair treads, pool coping, and caps if the project requires them.

What is the most exciting new development at Onyx?
We have teamed up with a local fabricator and are now able to do slab countertops. We offer stone, quartz, quartzite, and porcelain slabs. Additionally, we have access to a few proprietary stone slab yards that offer an even more diverse selection.

What do you enjoy most about living and working where you do?
As a Montana native, I am a mountain girl at heart. I love all the local summer and winter activities—skiing, hiking, dirt biking, golf, and fishing. One of my favorite things about living in Montana is recreating in its beautiful outdoor playgrounds. I love the people and getting creative with the homes they are building and remodeling. Beautiful settings and fantastic people keep me inspired and enthusiastic for upcoming projects year after year.

What do you do that most people would not be aware of?
The details! Space, function, cost, durability, context, style… there are so many details to think about when selecting and installing tile. When available, we do takeoffs from architectural drawings and determine quantities required for the space. Every detail associated with the product’s specifications—such as their industry standard waste factors, trim details, space application, and setting materials—plays an important factor from the time of order to final install.

What inspires you?
Travel. The historical tile and stone applications that I have seen around the world inspire me. From hand-painted, hand-chiseled zellige tiles found in Moroccan mosques to large marble columns and intricately patterned marble floors of European cathedrals, to bright blue azueljo tiles found on the floors and walls of 13th century Portuguese buildings. I consider each application a piece of art.

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“Architecture is an infinitely flexible art form for creating a truly customized solution that responds to client, lifestyle, materials, and context.”
–Nate Heller, Principal, Studio H Design

Studio H Design

Nate Heller, Principal

From his start as a carpenter, Nate Heller worked his way up through several major general contracting companies, moving from superintendent to project manager, before taking on bidding, estimating, and contracting res-ponsibilities for large commercial projects. After receiving his Masters of Architecture degree from Montana State University, Nate apprenticed with several highly regarded architects before founding Studio H Design. Today, he leads a team of talented architects, interior designers, and planners and oversees projects from inception to completion.

What services do you offer?
In addition to a full range of architectural design services, Studio H Design offers master planning and interior design. In our master planning department, we are well versed in designing everything from ranches with road and trail networks to subdivisions with parks that extend the urban fabric of our communities. Interior design is a natural extension of our architecture and the compositional intent of a design. At the core of our business is architectural design that ranges from custom residences to large-scale commercial projects.

What projects are you most excited about right now?
On the residential side we have several mountain modern luxury homes online in the Yellowstone Club that engage dramatic mountain landscapes and vistas. On a ranch in the Gallatin Valley, we are designing structures that are carefully placed to create interconnections and provide a sense of discovery as one moves through the site. On the commercial side, we are excited to be master planning a large subdivision in Bozeman with an innovative new zoning type that encourages the mixed use of residential and light commercial. We are working with the latest developments in modular construction for large buildings that will provide higher quality housing constructed in a shorter amount of time with less disruption to the site and community at large.

What do you offer that is unique?
Our firm’s leadership has a background in construction. An intimate understanding of materials and construction practices shapes our forms and textures and is fundamental to our design process. Not only does our knowledge of building influence our design, it also allows us to create “contractor-friendly” drawings that result in more accurate cost and time estimations as well as a smooth construction phase.

How would you describe Studio H Design’s stylistic approach?
One of our principal beliefs is that we should never adhere to a strict style. Many architects find a successful style and then repeat a similar approach through the years, but that approach runs the risk of chasing trends and generating dated designs. Architecture is an infinitely flexible art form for creating a truly customized solution that responds to client, lifestyle, materials, and context. We craft our buildings using the full range of design language from the latest modern urban styles, to transitional mountain modern, to our work with historic renovation and period-correct frontier buildings.

What words do people use to describe your work?
The words we hear most often are “clean,” “inviting,” “modern,” and “comfortable.”

Describe your process and how you work with your clients.
The first crucial step is to fully understand a client’s lifestyle, needs, and dreams before starting the design. We review precedent projects and materiality with our clients and then develop a program that lists all the spaces and requirements. The needs of a family designing their dream home in ski country is distinctly different than a young company in need of a space for their growing vision, or a commercial developer looking to provide real estate product in the most efficient manner possible. Our experience in all of these types of projects allows us to tailor the process to fit the situation, leading to a seamless and enjoyable design process for all.

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“Western Art has its own classic conventions. My paintings take these conventions and give them a Pop Art spin.”
–Cyrus Walker, Artist

Cyrus Walker Art

Cyrus Walker, artist

Cyrus Walker is part graphic designer, illustrator, satirist, and brand developer, and all parts artist. His work is influenced by the original western artists of the 18th century, the romantic visions of Remington and Russell, advertising from the 1930s, the western film genre of the mid-20th century, and pop culture from the 1960s and ‘70s. From his studio in Bozeman, he creates pieces with their own unique interpretation of the Western Art genre and its evolution over the past 200 years.

What is your background?
I have been drawing since I was a kid and have always had an interest in visual mediums. I studied art and graphic design at Montana State University in Bozeman. My professional career began in college when I started designing and selling Yellowstone National Park posters. When I graduated, I worked as an illustrator and freelance designer, landing contracts that had both local and national reach. 

How does your work fit into the Western Art genre?
Western Art has its own classic conventions—cowboys and Indians, gunfights, bucking horses, cattle and sheep, wildlife, mountains and plains… My paintings take these conventions and give them a Pop Art spin. I am breaking the mold of the Western Art genre but the subject matter remains the same.

What are some of your influences?
I am influenced by 19th-century representations of the West, iconic painters like Russell and Remington, advertising of the early and mid-20th century, western movies, and Pop Art icons like Andy Warhol. The result is an ironic spin on the Western Art genre itself—almost a parody of the genre.

I have a great interest in the illustration style used in advertising before the development of digital tools. The images developed had a level of simplicity that got right to the heart of what the artist was trying to convey. I create most of my work with this style in mind. I try to simplify as much of the image as I can while still retaining the heart of the piece, its essence.

How did you get started with rodeo posters?
I had been attending rodeos and really loving them with all the spectacle and chaos, but I noticed how poorly the events were marketed at all levels. The websites, posters, banners, T-shirts, souvenirs, and promotional materials were lacking any creativity. I did research into older rodeo material and found I loved the illustrations and typography from the mid-20th century. There were great rodeo posters but why don’t they make them like that anymore? I thought, “I can do this,” and reached out to the rodeo organizations. Two of my favorite rodeo posters that I’ve done are for the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale and Big Sky’s PBR.

How does one acquire one of your posters?
I make limited-edition lithograph prints, usually only about 500. These are sold at the rodeos. You can also visit my website and get in touch with me directly. They have quickly become collector’s items and they have been framed and then re-sold at a higher price point.

How do you work with galleries?
Selling art through galleries has always been the traditional way for an artist to gain recognition for their work. A strong group of new and old collectors purchase art through galleries because of the credibility galleries can offer. You can find my work in New West Gallery in Santa Fe and Creighton Block Gallery in Big Sky Town Center.

How else can one see your work?
With an appointment, people can come to my studio at 410 North Broadway in Bozeman. The entrance has vintage skis, an owl mural, and red door and the inside is as much a workshop as an artist’s studio. Next door you can grab a beer at Bozeman Brewing. I love sharing the studio, my work, and the neighborhood with art collectors and just curious visitors.

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