Archive for February, 2013

Charles Darr’s Portrait Series, What He’s Still Doing Here “Amongst the Flat-liners”

Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Bucky Miller, Photographic Artist, 2013 
Bucky Miller, Photographic Artist, 2013
JB Snyder, Muralist, 2013
 Dayvid LeMmon, Photographic Artist, 2013
Betsy Schneider, Photographic Artist / Educator, 2013
Such, Muralist, 2013
Morgan Parsons, Gardener, 2013
Alex "Djentrification", DJ, 2013
William Jenkins, Photographic Artist / Educator, 2013
Mo Neuharth, Photographic Artist / Musician, 2013
Eric Iwerson, Painter, 2013
Brad B, Musician, 2013
Bee Spiderman, Sculptor / Musician, 2013
Adam "Dumperfoo", Painter, 2013
Christian Michael Filardo, Intermedia Artist, 2013
 Andrew Almendarez, Photographic Artist, 2013 

Dusty "Pickster" Hickman, DJ, 2013

My first introduction to Charles Anthony Darr was hardly an introduction at all, but consisted of spotting him around my neighborhood, walking his dog and aiming a point and shoot at random objects. It wouldn’t be until many months later that I’d come across his work and appreciate his photographs. Until then, I only got the sense that he was doing something– something that amounted to more than just a leisurely walk.

When I spoke to him about his portrait series, he explained it to me in beautifully simple terms. It’s a series of people who do things, much like himself. The subjects are all artists of some medium and confront the perception that people “don’t do anything” or that “nothing happens here” in Tempe/Phoenix. Proving this perception wrong is one of the motivating goals for Phoenix Taco, so I’m glad to share this work from Charles, who like the figures in his series, “just keeps doing it, because that’s what artists do.”

“As an artist, you always have to return to your work. Everything else comes and goes. You can’t fully give yourself to anything else. It may seem selfish, but it’s not.  Your work is bigger than you,” Jesse Rieser explained to me.

There seems to be a notion that the local creative scene only serves as a launchpad for artists. You either take off from here and make it elsewhere, or you crash and burn. As one of few local natives, I have witnessed this atone-less climate melt the wings from more than one Icarus.

“What are you still doing around here, Charles? Aren’t you getting kinda old?” some early-twenties, already-a-burnout asked me a while ago. My initial response was laughter. Where would I want to go? I am getting by financially with enough free time from work to hang out, have drinks with my friends, goof off, and enjoy this city’s surplus of beautiful women. “You wish I’d leave,” I thought, “must suck watching me live your dream.” This interaction crossed my mind a couple days later and struck me in a much less humorous way. What the hell am I doing living a twenty-something burnout’s dream? Have I given up faith that I’m here to do more? Have I fallen so far that I’m now resonating with the flat-liners? What has taken over my dreams?


On the other hand, a slight shift in perspective made me realize what a beneficial circumstance I find myself in. Yep. I’m still here. But I’m still doing it, and I’m not the only one. Being born and raised in Maryvale and only making it as far away as Tempe, I have spent my whole life in the Phoenix area, and I’ve made lots of connections. My life has been blessed with genuinely interesting and gifted people. What a great opportunity I have to photograph these individuals who are here in the Valley, amongst the flat-liners, in the hellacious heat that is unforgiving of wax wings, and who don’t care. They just keep doing it, because that’s what artists do.

Charles Anthony Darr

You can view more from Charles at his blog here

Isaac Caruso & Lalo Cota “Find Your Direction” on Central Avenue

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013




Photos by Niba DelCastillo

Isaac Caruso & Lalo Cota‘s recent mural in progress. The wall is the South facing side of a 105 year old building, home of Fastsigns on Central Ave in Phoenix.

Bask. Art of Josh Brizuela at Palabra Art Collective

Thursday, February 21st, 2013





For February’s First Friday event, Palabra Art Collective hosted Bask. Art of Josh Brizuela. This was Brizuela’s first show, which featured original artwork, limited edition clothing, and also signed prints.

Call to Artists: University/Hardy Dr. Streetscape Project & Bicycle Lane Symbol Design, Tempe

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013


The City of Tempe currently has two calls for artists, both of which have a deadline of March 14th, 2013. Artists are able to submit to both.

University/Hardy Drive Streescape Project:

Tempe Public Art announces two public art opportunities for University Drive Streetscape and Hardy Drive Streetscape. Artists submitting qualifications will be considered for both project opportunities. An Artist Selection Panel will assign selected artists to the specific project. Possible artwork opportunities include medians, transit shelters, light poles and pavement enhancements. The artwork will help create a memorable and welcoming presence and be appropriate in scale and composition to be viewed by passing pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

Bicycle Symbols Project:

Tempe Public Art announces a public art opportunity for an artist to design bicycle lane symbols. The selected artist will design a series of bicycle lane symbols to be installed on Tempe bikeways throughout the city beginning with University Drive and Hardy Drive Streetscape Projects. Tempe has had a long-standing commitment to encourage bicycling through the development of bikeways. The city’s commitment dates back to 1973 when the first Tempe Bicycle Plan was developed. It was the first comprehensive bicycle plan in the state. Since then, there has been a steady expansion of the city’s bikeway network.

For more information, including guidelines and submission instructions for each project, visit the City of Tempe’s website here


From the opening of The Artcade Show at Parazol Studios

Thursday, February 14th, 2013





Photos by Mr PHX









For February’s First Friday event, Parazol Studios hosted “The Artcade Show”, a unique exhibit that featured over 25 classic video arcade games painted by local artists. Organized by promoter Nico Paredes and Ariel Bracamonte, the event gave a preview into “Artcade Bar”, Phoenix’s first barcade. The location has yet to be announced, but you can stay up to date by checking The Artcade Bar facebook page.

Artists involved include Ron Pete, Lalo Cota, El Mac, Ashley Macias, Dumperfoo, Pablo Luna, Bigie Meanmugg, Mando Rascon, Mikey Jackson, Yai, Josh Rhodes, Noelle Martinez, JB Snyder, Spencer Hibert, Matt Minjares, Angel Diaz, Sakoia, Victor Vasquez, Chris Rupp, Luis Keys, Sierra Joy, Bobby Castañeda, Breeze, JJ Horner, Emmett Potter III, Kristin Bauer, Milki and Colton Brock.

Harder Development’s “Great Paint Escape”, Painted by Calle 16 Artists & More

Monday, February 11th, 2013






Photos by Niba DelCastillo


The Great Paint Escape was a multifaceted arts project and silent auction presented by Free Arts of Arizona and Harder Development. The above photos from Niba DelCastillo and video from In The Zone were taken during the painting of a community mural by Calle 16 intended to raise awareness for the project and create artwork to be sold at the auction. The mural has since been painted over. Artists involved included Hugo Medina, Sebastien Millon, JB Snyder, Angel Diaz, Katie Beltran, Amanda Adkins, Colton Brock, Pablo Luna, Thomas Breeze Marcus, Gennaro Garcia and Aaron Johnson.

Soldierleisure’s Happy Faces Hanging in Cartel, Tempe

Friday, February 8th, 2013









Soldierleisure hanging in Cartel Coffee Lab’s Tempe Location for the month of January

Jonathan Alvira’s “Last Reminisce of a Culturally Thriving Downtown”

Thursday, February 7th, 2013














 Jonathan Alvira is a photographer and third generation Phoenician. Part of an ongoing series documenting Downtown Phoenix, these photos have been taken over a number of years. Jonathan explains,

I am just trying to document the last reminisce of what was a culturally thriving downtown Phoenix.  People are under the impression that Phoenix is nothing but a bunch of suburbs and hardly a city at all. I just want to show that there once was a thriving downtown and these are the few people and places that still exist in the decay of the real central Phoenix.

You can view more work, including this series at his website.

Christian Filardo, Chet Lawton, & Caroline Battle Open the Tempe Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013









The Tempe Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) was founded in 2012 by Christian Filardo, Chet Lawton, and Caroline Battle in the backyard of Filardo’s parents’ house. In a DIY, against the norm fashion that permeates any project Filardo touches, TMOCA flies in the face of museum stereotypes while adorning itself with a name enjoyed by modern art institutions around the world.

The project was funded by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual “Good ‘N Plenty” grant, which awarded Filardo with $1,100 to put towards the museum.

The Tempe Museum of Contemporary Art will be a local, volunteer-run visual and performing arts space occupying two large sheds in Filardo’s backyard. Along with Chet Lawton, the two presented floor plans, enthusiasm, and a conceptual richness unparalleled. The GOOD ‘N PLENTY funding will enable TMoCA to take form, encouraging a DIY culture and helping to inspire artists to create their own spaces. Basically SMoCA is funding the birth of TMoCA.

Their opening exhibit, “Grand Total” was held on January, 25th during Final Fridays and featured work from all three founders. You can view images from the opening and stay up to date on future shows at TMoCA’s blog.