“Dream Season” by AztecSmurf Opening at ALAC This Friday, July 5th

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www.aztecsmurf.com
www.alacaz.org

Phoenix Taco & NativeThinking Present: House of Wong, Part Two at Long Wong’s, June 29th

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Photos by Rachel Smith

Back in March, Phoenix Taco teamed up with NativeThinking to put on a unique night of house and electronic-based music at Long Wong’s in Tempe (1639 E. Apache Blvd). Now, House of Wong is back for a second round on June 29th, the last Saturday of the month. We’re excited to once again provide an alternative to the usual acts and showcase the more mellow sounds the night’s DJs have to offer.

More info at the facebook event page

 

Leaving Behind Comfort Zones at “Shift”, A Poster Show at ASU’s School of Design

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Photos by Joseph Bergdoll

The above photos were taken during a poster show in March put on by five students from the Design School at Arizona State University. Titled SHIFT, the show featured work incorporating “the idea that, with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible”. During the summer of 2012, each student “chose to venture outside of [their] familiar surroundings to gain new experiences” by completing a required internship outside of the state. Their experiences and the concept of broadening one’s horizons culminated in the work displayed. The five students include Joseph Bergdoll, Nicole Stumphauzer, Taylor Lineberger, Edouard Urcadez, Alexandra Flamini.

SHIFT is an ongoing project. You can monitor its progress at its website here.

Noelle Martinez on Awakenings and Her Solo Show, “I Just Woke Up”, Opening at Palabra Collective This Friday

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When I visited Noelle Martinez at her studio recently, she immediately explained to me that she’s moving into a larger space by the end of the week. From the looks of it, it couldn’t come a day sooner. She’s been working endlessly on new pieces for an upcoming show, which have been stacked on top of one another after taking up what little wall space is available.

Her work has found its way into quite a few galleries and storefronts in Phoenix, namely U.L.M. Studios, The Lab 137, and Hair Pollution (formerly Way Cool Hair). She was even a part of “The Artcade Show”, March’s blowout event at Parazol Studios where 25 vintage arcade machines with artist decorated panels were available for free play.

For the 23-year-old, moving studios isn’t the only big change coming to her career. This Friday, Palabra Collective is hosting “I Just Woke Up” during April’s First Friday event. Martinez considers it to be her first real solo exhibition.

“I’ve just been in a lot of group shows,” she explains, maintaining that even though some of the aforementioned exhibitions might have been considered solo, she’s internally approaching this next one with an added sense of purpose.

It’s another personal milestone at a time when her surroundings and plans are rapidly changing. In the next few months, Martinez will be graduating from the arts program at Phoenix College, an important step in her transformation as a full-time artist.

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The title and subject matter for the show was inspired by a traumatic event that occurred when Martinez was in the seventh grade. Still a bit shaky on the details, a concussion landed her in the hospital and erased her short term memory for a period of time. Upon awakening after the head injury, her family says the only words she would utter were, “I just woke up”.

The experience frightened her and her family to such as extent that this phrase stuck with Martinez even until now, becoming a sort of mantra for self-realization and awareness– both concepts that permeate the bold and colorful nature of her artwork.

“It kind of became hard because I was trying to remember things that I had no idea of, and I can’t go back and recreate them or try to make something out of nothing,” says Martinez.

The work is filled with inferences of heavy blasts and the frightened expressions of someone who has just woken from a terrifying dream, much like panels of a Roy Lichtenstein comic strip, who she cites as an influence.

“I just went off the idea of waking up . . waking calls . . . awakenings, that moment where everything just makes sense.”

With graduation looming only a few months away, Martinez admits she isn’t sure what the near-term future holds, although she is looking into graduate programs. What is for sure, however, is that exciting times lay ahead for this artist with the opening at Palabra and the transition into a new workspace. She smiles, seemingly still in disbelief when she tells me that she quit her steady day job at a grocers to commit herself fully to art.

“I’m really doing it. I threw off my work shoes and hung them up, so I come in here every day to see them and know there’s no turning back,” Martinez exclaims.

She then points above me to a pair of shoes tied at the laces, hanging from the ceiling of her studio dozens of feet high in a defiant display of confidence. From the way things are going, I don’t think she’ll be needing them any time soon.

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Sustainable Communities Lecture Series Discusses Prop 207 and the Fight Against Downtown Neglect

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Photos by Alonso Parra/Lamp Left Media

Last week, another installment of the Sustainable Communities Lecture Series took place at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. The topic of conversation was Proposition 207, titled the “Private Property Rights Protection Act”, a ballot initiative passed in 2006 intended to protect private landowners from government actions that may decrease property value.

I was unable to attend either of the last two panel discussions for this series , which is sponsored by Women Design Arizona and Blooming Rock Development. Thankfully, Tim Eigo, editor at Arizona Attorney Magazine has written about both at his blog. Compared to the previous panel, which took place in February and focused on water security, Prop 207 is considerably more esoteric, applying to landowners, developers, policy-markers and the like. However, the broad implications of this measure, it’s been argued, effect  historic preservation initiatives and the city’s ability to regulate land use, which in turn damages  Phoenix’s ability to overcome many of it’s current problems.

Eigo writes on his blog,

. . . As we sat in the empty lot of the Downtown Public Market, surrounded by food trucks and farm-to-table produce on a beautiful spring evening, I had to wonder.

That empty lot, and dozens of identical ones that surrounded us, are zoned for a pie-in-the-sky 500 feet of development. As Gammage pointed out, those massive structures will never be built in any of our lifetimes. And yet property owners hang onto these lots for generations, in case Phoenix suddenly morphs into Dubai.

In a Prop 207 world, panelists agreed, city leaders are unlikely to move to downzone anything, let alone declare a neighborhood historic.

For someone like me, who is young, idealistic, and has no knowledge of law whatsoever, these are very daunting topics. Walking around the city, observing everything from vacant lots and red-bricked llanteras to multi-million dollar projects like CityScape, I try to make sense of what seems to be a sporadic pattern of misguided sprawl. Our city bears the markings of poor design and development even for those not well versed in law or urban design. People like Tim Eigo and the Sustainable Communities Lecture Series, however, help to popularize these issues, making them more accesible to the general public. When topics like Prop 207 are presented in an inviting manner and discussed openly in a public forum, the city becomes that much less obscure, welcoming more people to get involved in what then becomes familiar ground.

“The Joe and Jan Show”, Curated by Robrt Pela at 335 Commons

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This past weekend for Third Friday was the last public viewing of “The Joe and Jan Show” at 335 Commons, curated by Robrt Pela and hosted at the pop-up gallery by Ashley Harder of Harder Development. The exhibition has been the focus of a considerable amount of media attention after it was unexpectedly cancelled in January by Kristin Shears, owner of Willo North Gallery, where it was originally to be held. The cancellation prompted accusations of censorship, largely perpetuated by a Huffington Post article.

Barry Graham, an author based out of Portland, OR, documented the strange sequence of events that resulted after the cancellation on his website. Shears’ reasons for canceling the show only days before the opening was that Pela, whose resignation was due to go into affect after the opening, left her  unprepared and unable to continue as scheduled. However, as Graham shows on his website, Pela had given notice of his leaving weeks before and eventually released his resignation letter, which revealed Shears’ mismanagement of Willo North to be the cause.

In his letter, Pela writes,

“Perhaps some of the interns will stay, and the work I’ve done to create an audience for Willo North is one you can continue to build on, for sure. But I’m tired of showing up to find my work undone, or re-done, and I’m embarrassed to have to keep asking that you communicate with me about what’s going on, when clearly you don’t wish to.”

Despite the controversy that proceeded it, 335 Commons provided a wonderful space for the humorous depictions Arizona’s two most recognized politicians of modern day. A complete list of artists involved include: Kristin Bauer, Peter Bugg, Chary Castro-Maria, Eric Cox, Jeff Falk, Todd Daniel Grossman, Vincent LaRue, Annie Lopez, Melissa McGurgen, Annette Sexton Ruiz, Irma Sanchez, Chris Swanberg and Paul Wilson.

 

Bask. Art of Josh Brizuela at Palabra Art Collective

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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.

www.baskclothing.com
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From the opening of The Artcade Show at Parazol Studios

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Photos by Mr PHX

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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.

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

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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.

Maybe 2013 Will Be Better New Year’s Eve Photos at The Compound

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Photos from Maybe 2013 Will Be Better, the annual New Years Eve party held at The Compound in Tempe.

View photos from the 2012 edition here

www.TheCompoundAZ.com