Kim & Thomas - Owners

Angel & The Darkness - Dogs

The Story of TRUST

Kim Johnson


I have a deep and enduring fascination with art. From an early age, I loved visiting museums and galleries with my parents, poring over art history books, and meeting creative people. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of “museum days” with my mother, wandering through the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and lingering in front of our favorite pieces.


This love of art eventually led me to marry an artist - the kind who is impelled from deep within to create something new every day. We lived in Minneapolis (too cold), then Phoenix (too hot), and now in the breathtakingly beautiful southeastern corner of Arizona (just right).


In my career before we founded TRUST, I worked primarily for small businesses. My background includes financial management, sales, art inventory oversight, serving as a liaison for fine art and furniture auction sales, customer service, and much more.


Now I feel that I am right where I should be - working with my incredibly talented husband doing something we both love. Although I am not an artist myself, I get to contemplate fine art every single day and represent artists whose work I embrace and respect. I am inspired by them. And I am inspired by our collectors, who see what I see in these objects of beauty and expression. My basic job description is that I match people with art - how fantastic is that?


“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness...“

-- John Keats



Thomas Ale Johnson (aka Xymyl)


Yes, “Ale” is actually my middle name. However, “Xymyl” is a name I adopted as a unique identifier/brand for my fine art career. As a child growing up in northern Minnesota, I was always painting or drawing. I was also interested in computers and started building and customizing them from an early age, with a special interest in creating computer graphics. I also started designing logos (not quite professional) in my mid-teens. These factors naturally led me to a career in marketing, and commercial design. My first job in the Internet field was in February of 1995. I was working for a company called Network 99 in Phoenix, Arizona, where I sold T-1 connections & web sites, but quickly started working with new technologies, designing web sites and working on other graphic design projects. I gradually moved solidly into the creative field, managing teams of designers and serving as creative director for web & print.


In 2005 my wife and I moved to southeastern Arizona’s wine country, about 40 miles from the Mexican border near the Chiricahua Mountains. My design clients soon came to include several vineyards and wineries. As we got more involved in the growing Arizona wine scene, it led naturally to opening our first TRUST fine art gallery in a local wine tasting room. When we added this fine art component to our existing design business, we chose the name “TRUST Art & Design” to bring it all together.


TRUST allows me to show my own artwork (as Xymyl) and also represent other artists in our galleries. I continue to accept a few design and marketing projects each year, with a focus on clients in the Arizona wine industry. For years, I was the lone beer writer for AZ Wine Lifestyle Magazine (formerly Arizona Vines & Wines). So I have been able to bring four of my favorite things - art, wine, beer, and design - together into a beautiful synergy.



AKC Name: Angel von Benedict


Black German Shepherd Dog

Title: Head of Security


Angel decided to join TRUST when offered the position along with a stipend of grain-free dog food and premium treats. She is self-taught and has distinctive barks for several of our regular visitors.



The Darkness

AKC Name: The Darkness Baron von Munchausen


Black German Shepherd Dog

Title: Rogue Element


TRUST retained the services of The Darkness after one brief interview during which the term "good dog" was thrown around a lot. Although he isn't really a good dog, he is loved...




The Story of TRUST


Before TRUST Art & Design, there was a marketing & commercial design business helmed by Thomas Ale Johnson in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2005, Thomas and his wife Kim moved to the southeastern corner of Arizona to live in wine country.  Original plans included purchasing a building in downtown Willcox where they could live and also open a fine art gallery. However, the lure of country life was too strong and they settled 40 miles outside of Willcox. As they got to know their winemaking neighbors, Thomas used his talents to help grow the burgeoning wine industry. He & his wife Kim got enthusiastically involved in the Arizona wine scene.


The owners of a local vineyard planned to open a downtown Willcox wine tasting room. Thomas proposed operating a fine art gallery within the same building, bringing local art & local wine together in one place. In March 2010, the first TRUST fine art gallery opened on the same day as the Keeling Schaefer Wine Tasting Room in a restored 1917 bank building. The name TRUST suggests many things: core values of honesty and integrity, relationships built on TRUST, a TRUST of fine art, a TRUST of artists and a TRUST of locations.


The first TRUST collection featured work by renowned local artists Archie Sutton, Jan Searle, and, of course, Xymyl (aka Thomas Ale Johnson, owner of TRUST). All three artists live in Cochise County, Arizona, and TRUST continues to prominently feature the work of Cochise County artists.


Since opening that first gallery in March 2010, TRUST has continued to partner with other wine-centric businesses to bring art & wine together. Thomas and Kim placed a collection of TRUST artwork at  Coronado Vineyards (Willcox) and Lawrence Dunham Vineyards (Chiricahua Mountain foothills) in August 2012,  Kief-Joshua Vineyards (Elgin) in January 2013, Flying Leap Vineyards (Willcox) in May 2013, Flying Leap Vineyards (Bisbee) in October 2013, and Flying Leap Vineyards (Tucson - St. Philip's Plaza) in March 2014. TRUST artwork is currently on display in six locations.


The TRUST collection can also be seen at various festivals, special events and pop-up shows, online in the Square Marketplace, and at YOUR home or office by appointment (yes, Thomas & Kim will bring the art to you!).


Thomas still offers design and marketing services as part of TRUST Art & Design. Current and former clients include: Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, RUNE Wines, Willcox Wine Country, Zarpara Vineyard, Willcox Historic Theater, Flying Leap Vineyards, AZ Wine Lifestyle Magazine, Deep Sky Vineyard, Carlson Creek Vineyards, Golden Rule Vineyards, MJ Sales, Dunlap Oil Company and many more.


© Copyright 2016 TRUST Art & Design. All artwork pictured is copyrighted by the artist. No use allowed without permission.