People who choose to promote 1912 are aiding in the continual creative formation of Arizona’s perception, integrity and character. By supporting the project, you’re supporting growth. Just wear the t-shirt with pride and spread the word about what makes Arizona special. Promote the small things that others may not see and generate a sense of excitement about being part of what makes up Arizona. By choosing to wear and identify with 1912, you choose to identify with and support Arizona’s creativity, history, symbolism, and identity.
William LeGoullon of The 1912 Project has released “Heat No. 1“, his fifteenth edition of Arizona-inspired t-shirts. Since only 25 of the limited-editions shirts are printed, you’ll want to stay up to date on the releases at the website, where you can also view previous editions and read a bio on the author/project. This edition is also available at Francis Boutique in Phoenix.]]>
Thomas “Breeze” Marcus and Douglas Miles of Apache Skateboards traveled to New Orleans this Spring for the 44th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. While there, they painted two murals and installed a showing of the traveling “What Tribe?” show that premiered in Phoenix this past March.
To see more photos and a read a write up from Breeze on the trip, visit his website here.]]>
Artist and physician Chip Thomas, a.k.a. Jetsonorama pasted this work a few months ago on a friend’s trailer in Tuba City, located in Northeastern Arizona on Navajo Nation.
Jetsonorama has been featured on this site many times before, especially for the ongoing Painted Desert Project.
To view more of his work, visit past posts or his blog here.]]>
Photos by JG of 3bucksss
Photos from the opening and Third Friday reception of “I Just Woke Up”, Noelle Martinez‘s solo show at Palabra Collective during the month of April.
To learn more about the show, read our previous article and interview with Martinez here.
This past month, The Icehouse hosted the second installment of “Between Scenes”, a creative look into the film industry through art and installation. Curated by Sara Nevels, the show featured 11 different artists representing their trade in the industry ranging from directors and technicians to production and costume designers.
Nevels writes in the press release:
“It’s common knowledge that films, as a whole, are pieces of art. But rather than create another art-related event for films to be seen, I wanted to create a space where the crew could be seen and valued as the artists they truly are, outside from their involvement with a specific film,” explains curator Sara Nevels. “We do not show any films, but rather directly expose the community to the talented artists that make up a film, in order for viewers to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the work done between scenes. And there’s no better environment to showcase an artist than in an art gallery.”
For more info, including a complete list of artists involved, visit the website here.]]>
Images from “Every Which Way: the Eclectic Art of Jon Arvizu”, which showed in MonOrchid Gallery during the month of April.
To see more of Arvizu’s work, visit his website here.]]>
Antonio Pasos completed this mural on PSA Art Awakenings, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the mental health community through creative means, located off Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix.
On their website, PSA Art Awakenings writes:
This mural received direct input from several of our artists including ideas, sketches, suggestions and execution of the final design, all overseen by Antonio Pasos, PSA Art Awakenings Master Artist in Residence.
To the left of the mural there is a single hand lighting a match to a large candle indicating the “Light that Art Awakenings sheds onto the darkness of our symptoms”, the mural begins to radiate light and color on both sides of the composition through the various mediums and techniques we offer. Colorful tile and mosaic, music (the keyboard around the large blue face), the paint brushes and the palette around the central image speaks to our various arts components. All of which contribute to the stairway leading towards the the clouds, to the goals and how far we can reach.
On the right hand side we see a couple growing out of a large tree symbolizing the rebirth of a dormant life run down by symptoms and public shame. Next we see a classic calligraphy legend in Arabic that says “Hope”. Towards the bottom we see a large hand offering a white pure flower, “meaning the innocence lost, and regained through recovery and creativity”.
The wind blew violently for the second day in a row as Karl Addison finished painting his final layer. James Bullough, the other half of the Berlin-based duo “JBAK”, stood nearby and calculated the next move. After sun set, the building would be illuminated by a high resolution projector, at which point Bullough would begin his turn.
He was in a rush to secure a projector for rent by the time stores closed, or else the mural would be delayed even further. The previous day, Addison had spent up to ten minutes at a time strapped in a full body harness to a boom lift, swaying back and forth, waiting for the wind to subside.
“When you’re going this high, there’s no way to plan ahead. It’s like, “How many cans of paint are you going to need?’, and I say ‘I don’t fucking know’ [laughs],” Bullough comments.
Indeed, a six story mural is undoubtedly difficult to plan for. It’s also unprecedented in Phoenix, whose downtown revitalization has produced a thriving mural scene in recent years, but rarely receives international artists or works of this scale.
Initial reactions can be garnered as people drive past during rush hour.
“We’re used to people yelling that they like the mural . . . but people have been honking their horns and yelling ‘thanks’ when they drive by. That kind of means something different, you know,” Bullough explains.
The architectural landscape is dull and overrun with a barrage of earth tones, something that Bullough is quick to acknowledge. This new addition, however, will be a pleasant change of scenery for the many drivers who frequent Thomas Road just West of Central Avenue.
Still, for a city unaccustomed to an operation of this sort, it’s mildly entertaining to watch the logistics be sorted out. In order to project the image that Bullough will then paint over, there’s a possibility that they will detour a major street in the heart of Downtown without permits.
Laughing, Bullough hypothesizes, “The worst they’re going to do is tell us to get the fuck off the road.”
He pauses, then adds, “Well, I guess they might arrest us. This is Phoenix.”
Both US-born, the team met in Berlin after separately relocating there. Bullough previously lived in Baltimore where he worked as a middle-school art teacher, while Addison left Seattle after growing up in Phoenix where he was involved in the hardcore do-it-yourself scene.
They’ve been painting together under the moniker JBAK for over two years, yet this is the first mural as a duo in the states. Along with few other world cities, Berlin may well be considered the movement’s epicenter and so provides more than enough work to keep them busy abroad.
The photorealistic nature of Bullough’s art lends itself to his training in oils and inspiration derived from the works of Dutch masters, and while the realism is still prevalent, the medium has shifted to aerosol.
“This has kind of been taking over for me,” he says, referring to his work with JBAK.
By contrast, Addison’s illustrative style and use of hatching techniques is attributed to his printing background. At one point, he successfully ran a screen printing company in Seattle and started drawing by mimicking the way an image is created with layered prints.
“I wanted to find a way to paint by trapping colors on top of one another, much like screen printing,” he adds.
The two artists’ styles could not be more different, which is precisely why they thought it would be a good fit.
“I think we’re more successful working together than solo,” Addison says, looking at his partner.
Bullough, admittedly the more critical of the two, hesitates and answers light-heartedly that it took them a while to figure out how to effectively combine styles.
In 2012, Addison contacted Roosevelt Row CDC prior to making a trip to Phoenix in the hopes of securing a wall. He was directed to Chris Nieto, a major developer in the downtown area who owns a number of buildings, including the one that Giant Coffee, located at 1st St. & McDowell Rd is housed in.
Addison then asked a friend who does relief work in Haiti, and whom he says is a large source of inspiration, to send a portrait of herself for him to paint. The mural, titled, “Long Silent Scream”, can still be seen on the back of the coffee house.
In advance of another visit, Addison again reach out to Nieto, who not only helped orchestrate it, but funded plane tickets, materials, and other necessities to make the project a reality. When many of Phoenix’s muralists work pro bono and for the sake of community development, it’s an encouraging sign to artists and businesses that private money is willing to be spent.
Julia Benz, a German-born artist, also accompanied the duo. Her paintings and sketches are making their way into galleries in Berlin and beyond, most recently in the Galerie Die Kunstagentin in Cologne.
Before beginning this current mural, JBAK and Benz collaborated on a wall in the Scottsdale restaurant Brat Haus, which rotates artists every few months. Benz, who will be completing her first solo mural back home in Germany soon says it was good practice in learning how to apply canvas techniques to a new surface.
Brandon Barnard, Director of Video Production at Kitchen Sink Studios, was also asked if he’d like to be involved in filming the process. Barnard’s short film, “Paint Life Beautiful” is currently making rounds at film festivals after premiering in 2012. It features a back-story on artist and muralist Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, so it seemed natural that Barnard would be interested in covering JBAK’s most recent visit.
Although they couldn’t afford to compensate Kitchen Sink Studios, Barnard recognized the importance of documenting the creation of Arizona’s largest mural to date.
“I went to my boss and told him, ‘This is going to be a huge mural, a really important project and we should be covering it,’” Barnard recalls.
His boss agreed.
Increasingly, Phoenix as a whole is beginning to recognize the overall benefits this form of public art produces. The murals that flourish along the downtown arts district, Nieto’s personal investment, and Kitchen Sink Studio’s involvement are examples.
According to Addison, there is good reason behind this.
“More cities are realizing that in order to have a booming tourist industry, you have to provide people with more to look at than advertisements, and murals are a beautiful way to do that,” he says.
In 2008, Addison was running a screen printing company in Seattle that shipped originally-designed apparel to 40 stores worldwide in countries ranging from Australia to Japan. He owned his own home and was making a successful living from his artwork.
One year later, the recession hit and that number dropped to 15 stores, only to continue dwindling. His home foreclosed in the impact of the real estate bubble, providing him with more than enough reason to make a change.
He moved to Berlin in 2010 with 800 euros and began what he calls his “obsession years”, the years that he doesn’t dedicate to anything but one thing— his art. He also started “Idrawalot” since the move, a showroom and gallery located in Berlin.
Since beginning JBAK, both artists’ previous endeavors have taken a back seat. The more they produce, the more offers and invitations are sent their way. Last year, they attended Art Base, an urban arts festival in Berlin featuring over 100 artists for the second year in a row.
These international festivals, while flattering, do not always pay.
When speaking about Upfest 2013, a festival in Bristol they were invited to, Addison expresses being grateful, but says they will ultimately turn it down to attend a smaller, less prestigious altbau, or old building beautification project taking place in Macdeburg, Germany around the same time.
“If we were a DJ, they’d pay us, but because we’re painting walls, we don’t get paid,” he says, referring to Upfest.
Addison attributes this reasoning to current social and political sentiment surrounding muralists and their work. The same views, it can be inferred, also exist in Phoenix and other American cities. Berlin particularly, however, has no shortage of artists able to fulfill the demand.
When asked if this makes the artistic community in Berlin more competitive, or if artists themselves appear more pompous because of it, Addison says not necessarily so.
“Everyone’s pretty grounded. Because of Berlin’s political and cultural climate, I don’t think there’s enough money in [painting murals] for people to be pretentious. I’m interested to see how that’s going to change in the coming years.”
These sentiments are not unlike those expressed by Phoenix-based artists. While there may not be as many muralists here as in Berlin, there is still a healthy amount who successfully make a living doing it full-time.
Like a classic case of apples to oranges, it is misguided to compare two cities in an effort to dissect why one prevails in murals over the other, although people like Chris Nieto and Brandon Barnard are certainly plausible explanations. The reality is that there will always be artists who create murals regardless of whether they’re sufficiently paid or not.
However, six-story giants aren’t typically painted by international artists for free. Berlin has many of these, while Phoenix only has one.
The difference, then, lies in which city properly compensates an artist for their services, and which one does not.
There’s no reason why Phoenix could not become a pillar of the international mural community if it understands this. Unfortunately, JBAK would have little reason to paint here if Addison didn’t call it his home town with family to visit, so the obstacle is making the city a destination in the eyes of artists.
Now, with this new addition to the changing urban landscape, they have one more reason to view it as so. It shows that when artists reach out, there is a willingness to help make Phoenix an arts destination to be measured against.]]>
Photos by Jules Badoni & Diane Ovalle
Jules Badoni graduated from Arizona State University a few years ago with a degree in American Indian Studies. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to his art, which is inspired by his culture and heritage.
“I’m Dine’ (Navajo), from the Coyote Past clan. I’m from TahChee, which is located on the Navajo Nation in Northern, AZ,” he explains.
Badoni knew that he wanted to start painting murals after graduation. The first mural he painted while attending ASU took him nearly two years to complete, so he also wanted to find a collective of artists to participate and help with the process. Around this time, he enrolled in Navajo artist Steve Yazzie’s painting class at Phoenix College, which is where he met fellow classmate Edgar Fernandez.
“Edgar identifies with his Mayan heritage . . . [he] looks up to artists like the muralistas mexicanos Diego Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco, as well as Frida Kahlo. Personally, I like Diego Rivera’s art, but not the artist, while I like the artist Frida Kahlo, but not the art,” Badoni says.
Both artists shared a desire to represent their heritage while getting their work out into the open, so when Badoni found a wall whose landlord was willing to let them paint, he approached Fernandez and the project was born.
“Edgar and I went to the neighborhood at 16th Avenue and Taylor before starting the mural to talk to people for a few hours. We wanted to know where people were coming from and get the community’s perspective. We decided that we would paint portraits of people that represent peace [and that reflect] the neighborhood’s diversity of cultures,” Badoni explains.
Both he and Edgar contacted friends and other students at Phoenix College to collaborate. Finding artists to help was the easy part. What was difficult was establishing a theme for the mural due to the diversity of everyone involved, as well as securing materials since the project was self-funded by Badoni and through donations. Ace Hardware also donated a few quarts of house paint towards the end.
“All the artists on this community mural project are descendants of Indigenous nations from Latin America and North America. We’re not just painting on a wall, but we are passing on the oral traditions of the community we are painting in. Our process is very much based on the oral traditions. Before banned books there were banned walls.”
The group included portraits and images that can be connected to universal themes of peace, water, and solidarity. Frida Kahlo, Muhammed Ali, Gandhi and other figures ordain the wall while being surrounded by a border of water.
“Water is the common denominator. It connects us all [and the portraits] together,” says Badoni.
The historical figures can be traced to various backgrounds and contexts, but what they all have in common is that they fought for equality and opposed injustice. Water security and the allocation of this resource has long been used as a tool to suppress and divide cultures, nations, and peoples– a reality that Badoni knows all too well.
“Including water in the mural was a given because we live in a desert, but for some reason we keep on building like we have an unlimited supply of water. The cheap water and electricity in southern AZ comes at a high cost for Indigenous nations in Northern Arizona.”
Badoni continues to explain that canals delivering water to Phoenix and surrounding areas are powered by the Navajo Generating Station, which is fueled by coal from the Black Mesa mines. These operations require a tremendous amount of water from the Colorado River, resulting in the depletion of local aquifers. These aquifers have long been used as a source of clean drinking water and are considered sacred by Navajo and Hopi communities who have relied on them since time immemorial.
Today, the battle for this resource continues as state lawmakers pressure Navajo and Hopi tribes to sign over their remaining water rights in an effort to secure rampant metropolitan growth hundreds of miles to the South
Badoni describes the agreement as, “the same old story, the theft of Indigenous resources,” and adds that, “Indigenous peoples would like for Arizonians to be more mindful about their usage of water and think about where their cheap water and electricity come from.”
Artists involved include Jules Badoni, Edgar Fernandez, Ky Thornton, Keisr Munoz, and Ramon Aguirre.]]>
Images of Thomas Greyeyes work in Chinle in Northeastern, AZ.
View more at his blog here