Friday, November 1, 2013
Three years ago, I started Phoenix Taco from the most humble beginnings. I wanted to discover a different side to where I live and showcase what I had found to its inhabitants. Having grown up in the suburbs, I felt incredibly detached from my surroundings, disgruntled and desperate to cling on to any sort of identity offered by the desert city.
Phoenix Taco has always been about creating a sense of community around something positive, but I realize now that it was also a personal journey. I needed to believe that Arizona is more than the desolate, cultural-wasteland of endless freeways and beige strip-malls that it looks to be at first glance.
I refused to believe that my hometown was the one portrayed by politicians, leaders, and the media—and I rejected their vision of endless golf courses surrounded by air-conditioned mansions.
Armed with nothing other than a point-and-shoot camera and a dangerous sense of curiosity, I set out to explore alleyways, sewage canals, abandoned buildings and neighborhoods in Phoenix and Arizona at large, taking me to nearly ever corner of this state.
What I sought after more than anything was graffiti, embarking on a tireless pursuit to expose a cultural underbelly of the Phoenix. What I ended up discovering, however, and what continued motivating me throughout the years was something much larger.
Everywhere I went, I encountered the people and stories that truly make this state what it is. From the high deserts of Navajo Nation, to the expansive canals of Tucson, to the inner city pulse of our capital—I believe that this is a place filled with stories waiting to be told.
Sadly, it is now time for Phoenix Taco to be laid to rest, but not without giving one final thank you to everyone who helped keep it going over the past three years. This has never been my project alone, and I’m glad to have shared it with so many people.
There is also a beginning to this end. I am working hard on developing Sprawlr, a new publication for Arizona and beyond that will go in-depth into a much wider range of topics. I hope you will follow me as I continue to capture the stories that make our home what it is. Until then . . .