YabYum Seven: Barbara Valles

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All photos courtesy of Barbara Valles
Who are you and what do you do?

Barbara Valles: I am a painter. I was born and raised in Spain. My work has evolved over the years into conceptual and dimensional paintings. Some of the paintings come out to become part of the space, or their surroundings. I use unexpected materials in a way that seems almost improvised, but in fact, I follow a rigorous method that has been best described by Lucinda Barnes as a “single stroke” when talking about the wine thumbprints, for example.

How did you get your start?

In the beginning. I don’t remember starting…my parents, teachers and other people say they only remember me drawing, because that is what I did most of the waking time. Art and Art History were always in my life, and as my mom is also an artist and painting teacher, formal training began super early. I started professional Art School when I was 12 years old, and won numerous national Art competitions at a very early age.

Barbara Valles 04What inspires you?

Everyday moments. Light, materials, paint, a work table, the color white, a blank wall.

What do you like about AZ?

The people! I have lived and worked in different countries and US states and I have felt more at home here than in my own country.

People here seem like they are so busy with their lives but in fact, they are so welcoming, and warm. I get a lesson in acceptance on a regular basis, people here are so accepting of others’ views, lifestyles, and respectful of people’s opinions.

Even the Art community, so often tightly closed, I feel that I have a place here in Arizona.

Barbara Valles 03Where can we see you(r) work?

Recently at Walter Art Gallery. I often show in San Francisco at Don Soker Contemporary. Hopefully there will be other opportunities to show my work locally in the next year.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

As an artist? Recognition.

What is your mantra?

Slow down.


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6th Street Market Returns to Downtown Tempe

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All images are courtesy and copyright of Downtown Tempe Authority and 6th Street Market.

by Nicole Royse

TEMPE, AZ — The 6th Street Market, a seasonal Sunday marketplace featuring locally produced, handmade goods, takes place every Sunday through April 22, 2018.

This wonderful, local, and multifaceted marketplace is situated in the heart of downtown Tempe at the beautiful 6th Street Park, running from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM each week.

Featuring an eclectic mix of 30+ makers, food booths, live music, interactive art projects and much more, some local brands featured include indie darlings Iconic Cocktail, Hardcore Handmade, and All the Tiny Pieces, as well as numerous area designers, studios and makers of all kinds.

6th street market 01“We’re beyond excited to re-launch the 6th Street Market this season with such a powerhouse of strong, talented and accomplished creatives,” said the Downtown Tempe Authority’s Director of Placemaking and market coordinator Julie Kent. She went on to say, “The market offers the opportunity for the community to celebrate, embrace, and support local creativity while creating a true sense of place in our Downtown.”

The Downtown Tempe Authority (DTA) are an “award-winning, private non-profit organization that works in partnership with the City of Tempe to increase the value of Downtown Tempe through enhanced management, safety, marketing and promotional services on behalf of DTA members and other downtown stakeholders.”

6th street market 02The DTA has created a fantastic event for the community with 6th Street Market.  They support the budding arts community, providing artists with an opportunity to showcase and sell their work, while encouraging a thriving and diverse community of artists and makers in Downtown Tempe and the surrounding areas.

6th Street Market also plans to host special events throughout the season. Recently showcasing a fantastic event coordinated by Local Lily partnering with Stella the Airstream, a mobile photo booth outfitted inside a vintage Airstream trailer was raising money for a worthy cause: Tempe-based pet rescue Lost Our Home.

Get out this Sunday and explore downtown Tempe while checking out the 6th Street Market. Great local vendors to meet, unique local goods to buy, and engagement with the community!


For more info, visit the 6th Street Market online. For more info about the DTA visit their website.

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YabYum Seven: Champ Styles

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All photos courtesy of Champ Styles

Who are you and what do you do?

Champ Styles, the son of AZ Graff Pioneer: Such Styles

How did you get your start?

I’ve been scribbling since 3 months, but as of Graff it was when I was in 5th Grade (2003). I fell into some trouble and was grounded. My dad was tight but by no means ridiculous. I could only watch documentaries for entertainment. So amongst the Nat-Geo VHS and Biblical history movies, I stumbled upon the acclaimed Henry Chalfant feature: Style Wars in my dad’s cabinet.

Now, I had always been around graffiti and the train yards since I was born, I practically had Krylon running through my veins. Hell, I was already dubbed the name, “Champ” when I was in the womb. But it was when I saw those Subway Cars going by done by The Legends such as Zephyr, Crash, Sonic and many more. It was then that “Champ Styles” was born.

Aside from all that, it was my entire childhood: I fondly recall New York’s Killa KA ONE was picking me up at my bus stop. Fyce, Tackz (AM7) and Kaper were always at the house especially during the holidays. I would always see their work and try to do what they did. I remember one time Lalo Cota let me draw dinosaurs in his blackbook. Honestly, I can go on and on.

champ styles 01What inspires you?

My Father, nuff’ said. See, to me, Graffiti is a family thing. Some kids play football on Thanksgiving, others pick up a Nintendo controller, my pops and I pack up some spraycans and go paint a wall.

What do you like about AZ?

What I am constantly drawn to admire about Arizona is the history, there is a lot here and the culture is rich in many aspects. It is deep in the Chicano Lifestyle and you cannot forget the Native art which is breathe taking. The Architecture, landscape – take your pick, basically there is a lot to look at in Arizona.

But in terms of Graffiti also the depth is insane (I’m not talking the street art craze either). I’m talking about the gully work from back in the 80s (since 1983 to be precise). I could take you to spots and remnants of walls that still have some *vintage* scrawl on them, it’s all here hidden in plain sight.

champ styles 07Where can we see you(r) work?

In terms of current wall-work there is The Town of Guadalupe, on Priest between Baseline and Guadalupe. You can see a mural I did with my dad and NY Subway Legend Zephyr. There are a few walls there as well as a few on 5th and Roosevelt, my latest being on the side of the Lost Leaf featuring Subway favorite: Howard the Duck.

My Father and I have painted the backdrop to the HipHop exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum and of course you can see my work frequently at the Mesa Arts Center. I’ve also done work for a few schools such as Alhambra and Marcos De Niza.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

To pass on the legacy not just by means of my own blood but in terms of preserving the style and the lifeblood of the culture. Graffiti is a way of life, not a fad and should be acknowledged with such respect.

What is your mantra?

“Why create a mural when you can create an attraction.”


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Pictured with father and artist Such Styles

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SMoCA Revisits the Work of Mel Roman

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All images courtesy and copyright of SMoCA and Rossitza Todorova

by Nicole Royse
Arts Editor

In correlation with the impending election and the anniversary of the Marriage Equality Act, Scottsdale Museum of Contempoary Art (SMoCA) revisits the engaging and challenging work of Mel Roman: Coming Out Under Fire. This much anticipated exhibition utilizes a provocative combination of text, found objects and fervent symbolism in 12 installations, sculptures and photos centered on issues facing society that are still relevant today.

Mel Roman was an accomplished artist, Civil Rights activist, and psychologist with an impressive 50 year career and a valley resident until his death in 2002. “Roman’s artwork addressed the human psyche and social inequity, racial discrimination, gay rights, gender equity, the right to die, intentional communities, and paternal custody rights”, states the SMoCA website.

mel roman 04Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Mel Roman’s original exhibition at the SMoCA in 2000 and previously at Bentley Gallery 1998, was incredibly controversial. The exhibition was based off of a book and documentary of the same name, which chronicled gay and lesbian service members during World War II. Through his art, Roman examines important issues of equality, freedom and privacy, aiming to create reactions and commentary in hopes of creating action. SMoCA has included extensive biographical information about Roman as well as photographs from Roman’s original exhibition giving viewer’s further context for this powerful exhibit.

mel roman 01Highlights of Coming Out Under Fire include the stirring, self-titled piece “Coming Out Under Fire”, featuring an American flag placed over a casket with a small monitor playing. It is truly heart wrenching, an engaging and difficult to piece to view. One of the gallery rooms is filled with mirrors with text of derogatory words and phrases including “fag” and “dyke” and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and lastly “how can one be what one is”. Another excellent work titled “Nature/Nurture” employs powerful text “Desire” that is depicted in neon in front of a map of the human genome, commenting on how “Desire” is apart of everyone.

Coming Out Under Fire will be on display through Sunday, October 2nd. SMoCA museum admission is only $7 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 15 are free. Don’t forget that every Thursday the museum offers complementary admission as well as Friday and Saturday evenings after 5 PM. Located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale at 7374 East Second Street, visit their website for more information about exhibitions and events.


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STEAM at the Tempe Center for the Arts

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Monica Aissa Martinez

by Nicole Royse
Arts Editor

Tempe Center for the Art’s summer exhibition STEAM brings together the worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in an exciting and captivating exhibition.

“STEAM is a movement inspired by the popularity of STEM -based education”, states TCA Curator Michelle Nichols-Dock. The exhibition highlights a variety of art including painting, wood burning, sculpture, photography, as well as interactive displays and features an eclectic array of local artists including Monica Aissa Martinez, Alexandria Bowers, Madison Creech, Frank Gonzales, Molly Koehn and Ellen McMahon, just to name a few!

Striking casein and egg tempera paintings on the inner workings of the human body created by Monica Aissa Martinez greet patrons as they enter the exhibition. Next, a dazzling collection of wood burned insect studies by Alexandra Bowers are surrounded by the large-scale photography of various insect species created by Charles Kazilek. Frank Gonzales has created beautiful acrylic paintings of birds, flowers and cacti blending together realism and artificiality created by utilizing reference sources.

This exhibition explores the connections between these wonderful diverse disciplines while “highlighting the individuals who are using the various disciplines to transform and make better the lives of everyday people” states Dock. Seamlessly blending together artworks with technology and science displays, the TCA has once again partnered with ASU bringing fascinating insect collections ranging in species from the Hasbrouck Insect Collection, as well as an extensive collection of vintage cameras. Also highlighted in STEAM is engineering giving patrons the opportunity to view photographs, plans, models and historical data about the Tempe Town Lake and the Dam construction.d31a167f-84e6-46b1-8c24-f9fd0c6400a5

A series of free family workshops are being offered in conjunction with the exhibition as part of the “Maker Cafe” on Saturdays from 12-2 PM in the Gallery. Looking for some adults only fun? Then head to TCA on July 22 for “S.T.E.A.M.-Y Ladies Night Out” hosted by artist Cyndi Coon and scientist Catherine Seiler who will give a great science talk about diatoms plus draw your own mini “Cellfies.”

On July 23 create your very own cardboard tube Pinhole Camera with TCA staff while learning about optics. Visitors can enjoy a demonstration and partake in some Lego fun building a load-bearing bridge on August 5th when they welcome a “Lego Master Builder from Tempe’s new Legoland Discovery Center.

There is still plenty of time to explore STEAM, which will be on display until September 17th and is proudly sponsored by APS. Tempe Center for the Arts is located at 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe and is open Tuesday through Thursday 10-5 PM, Friday’s 10-7:30 PM and Saturday’s 11-5 PM. More information about this exhibition and upcoming can be found online at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

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Frank Gonzales
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Alexandra Bowers
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YabYum Seven: Aaron Thomas Roth

MeWho are you and what do you do?

My name is Aaron Thomas Roth and I am a collage artist.

How did you get your start?

"Head to the Wall"
“Head to the Wall”

I was a freelance illustrator working in New York City in the 1990’s when I met designer Carlos Fachi. It was about that time I was working on large-scale collages which, for me, were more of a “fine art” application and completely different from my illustrative work. Carlos had an art gallery downtown at the time and after seeing my work he offered me my first solo New York exhibition.

What inspires you?

For me, inspiration comes when I least expect it and usually from the simplest of things. Seeing a photograph, hearing a song… or even just walking down the street and seeing a texture on a wall or a spill on a sidewalk can really be all that is needed for a foundation for a new piece.


Waiting For The Sun
“Waiting For The Sun”

What do you like about AZ?

Arizona is unlike any place I’ve ever lived. The weather and the landscapes here can be magical. I love standing outside on hot summer nights watching the lighting storms in the distance and listening to the far off rumbles of thunder.

I occasionally miss the seasons of the East Coast but there is something to be said for wearing a tee-shirt here in December.

Where can we see your work?

I would love to say I’m hanging here or there but at the moment my work is not hanging anywhere. This past year and a half I was unable to produce any new work and unfortunately had to cancel a couple of exhibitions. Now that I’m up and running again, I have decided to concentrate on just producing work. No distractions and no excuses…

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I must say I have lead a very fortunate life… I’ve done all kinds of stuff but as a person who creates images that hopefully capture peoples attention, I think the ultimate for me would be to one day hang in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. That would be the cherry on top.

What is your mantra?

Live in the moment… Live like there will be no tomorrow…. And trust no one! 😉

YabYum Seven: Cheryl Brandon

5dbe72b1-653f-4b1d-923f-a7b9b6678053Who are you and what do you do?

I remember how odd it felt the first time I spoke out loud that I, Cheryl Brandon, was an Artist. I always knew it was so, because my mother had recognized this talent in me at a very young age and sent me to study at the Oklahoma Science and Art Foundation. In fact, it was this institute with its petrified mummies on display under large glass cubicles that inspired me to be a figurative Clay Artist. I work with clay. With a little pressure and control of this very earthy medium, I am able to speak without using words.

How did you get your start?

I went to college and took every available class in clay. Pottery and sculpture were my main focus. It was pretty easy to see I was on to something because I could see other students work and compare my work to theirs as well as to my professors. And so, the light went on and I fell in love with it. I started competing with my college professors in many craft shows and exhibitions at their suggestion. This put me in the art world and proved to me that I belonged; that I could succeed in the field. By far the most impressive push I got early on was from sweet loving family. My brother and sister, along with my mother, went in together and purchased my first kiln. This gesture still brings a tear to my eye. I have truly been blessed with great support.

What inspires you?5f1c3279-a30f-40e3-a2cb-408a8842a263

I think it comes down to nature, anything from the world of nature, including human nature, and the way people interact to both. The most interesting and inspirational aspects of human nature is the way individuals deal with internal and external realities and conditions. Such as personal conflicts with internal dialog (that little voice we often time listen to), and perspectives on sexuality, especially for me, that of being female. So first is people and their spirits. Second is any form of beauty in nature, whether it is the wind, the sky, the colors or the strange beauty of plants and animals. I really like to work with both to create feelings that are familiar, universal, and speak to everyone. This is best noted in my latest work with totems.

What do you like about AZ?

When I first moved to Arizona in 1996, I could not believe my eyes. The plants reminded me of something from a different planet, strange beauty that sometimes bite, but demands respect. And wow! The places you can go: to the mountains, ski slope, or the canyons, such diversity and no matter where you are in Arizona, the sun shines every day, even if it rains. It is really hard to be in a bad mood with all the sunshine. Happiness for me is to feel the sun on my face and know that it will be the same tomorrow.

The people of Arizona are a very mixed bag from all parts, so you don’t have any barriers to break through. What I mean is, people in Arizona are friendly, trusting and accepting of newcomers. This makes it easy to call Arizona home. Plus, Phoenix is a very metropolitan city, and has a healthy Art Community, which is very attractive to me. And let’s not stop there, so many more art communities with great appeal to tourists and artists like Carefree, Sedona, Tucson, Bisbee, Tubac, Jerome, and Prescott. Any artist would be so lucky to live, love, and make (or sell) art in Arizona.

abca067b-f997-403a-b9d0-2fcc00f4c713Where can we see your work?

Presently, I am represented by Carsten’s Fine Art Gallery in Scottsdale. Or you can view my work on my website. In the past, I have shown in many galleries here in the valley, on Marshall Way, and Cave Creek as well as galleries in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Bernalillo, New Mexico. I also show in many group shows here in town such as The Shemer, The Herberger, the Alwun House, West Valley Museum, the Airport Museum, R. Pela Contemporary, Oblique Art, AZ Clay and wherever the “Calls to Artist” may lead me.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I have always wanted to have my own studio/gallery space so I would like to find a piece of property, in an art-savvy community, design and build my gallery. More than just a building, I would like this gallery to be inviting to everyone, not just artists and collectors. I believe that people need art and they want to live with art. But, more than sometimes, the art venues are somewhat intimidating. I would like to use a sense of humor and whimsy to reduce the intimidation, thus, bringing all types of people to the space. I want people to know what I know: that everything in our life is a symbol, a clue, a reminder of what we understand and what we don’t. These are the how’s and why’s of manifestation, the creation of Art. It is so simple, really. In art, look to the beauty for the truth and, to what hurts, for its beauty.

What is your mantra?

Thoughts become things. So be careful what you think. Choose the good ones.





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YabYum Seven: Fausto Fernandez

faustoWho are you and what do you do?

Fausto Fernandez: I am a fine artist. My works include a variety of mixed-media collages, paintings, public art, and community engagement projects. My studio creations are colorful, geometric, mixed-media collages on canvas, photo transfers of people and crowds and aviation renderings.

How did you get your start?

I studied graphic design and painting at the University of Texas in El Paso. A year after graduating in 2002, I moved to Phoenix where I continued to make art and completed a non-paid internship at the Scottsdale Public Art program. Thereafter, I was hired to install exhibitions as a contract museum preparator at The Heard Museum and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). I later became an employee at the Arizona State University Art Museum for 5 years.

Working at the museums was my introduction to the Phoenix art scene, where I met other artists and worked alongside curators with whom I learned professional museum skills. I had the privilege of installing art shows for friends and other artists I admire, and this is how I received insight into the art world and started participating in shows. I moved into my first art studio at The Lodge on Grand Ave in 2002 where I was able to maintain my artist studio for 10 years. I later moved to Los Angeles and I currently live in Anthony, New Mexico.

What inspires you?

Living vicariously through the experiences and challenges of the people I’ve met. They challenge me and provide me with opportunities I didn’t think I was capable of achieving.

What do you like about Arizona?fausto3

The Arizona landscapes are beautiful. Arizona is my home away from home; It is where I was able to grow up independently from my family and where I have cultivated a good family of friends. Arizona has seen me fail and succeed, so I owe much of my experience to the 10 years I lived in Phoenix and I love it.

Where can we see you(r) work?

The floor at the Sky Harbor International Airport Sky Train Station in Phoenix, AZ; Turner Carroll Gallery and The Bataan Memorial Building in Santa Fe, NM; City Hall in El Paso, TX; East Rancho Dominguez park Installation in East Compton, CA and my Website and Instagram.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I’d like to own a classic car and go on a road trip, build a house with a studio to use as my home base, and travel to find a passion for something new and unexpected.

What is your mantra?

Make a lot of friends everywhere.


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YabYum Seven: Marco Albarran

bb2ca2c5-29b8-4946-8078-ae582b86fdadWho are you and what do you do?

Marco Albarran: I’ve been an artist from a very young age. I do feel blessed that after all these years I can still call myself an artist. It hasn’t been easy, but that’s what makes creating worth it! I am currently working as a Curatorial/Exhibits Developer for ASU and, on the side, I create art, run a small consulting business, lead a non-profit art organization, serve as a community volunteer, and also take care of my eight year old son, who I love so much! All that considering that I am currently taking a break, go figure!

How did you get your start?

As far as I can remember, I always wondered about how things work, what made things tick. I was always trying to find ways to modify things…to change things. When I was a little boy, I used pieces of discarded wood to create car toys. The wheels were made from used bottle caps or used small milk carnation cans, which work best as wheels. My painting supplies were made out of cactus mealy bugs. When you crushed a mealy bug with your fingers, it leaves a red dye, which you can use as a medium. Red clay is another medium I use quite often. For drawing, I used left over pieces of charcoal. They all work great!

What inspires you?

My initial inspiration came from my paternal grandmother, “Mama Lupe”. She was an overall inspirational women. A traditional medicine woman who always offered her knowledge to people in the community. As a child, I remember her taking me on small walking adventure trips in search for plants. I did not realize until later that those little trips were actually training trips. These trips included searches for medicine plants and food herbs. Pointing to me the good plants and the harmful plants. Her healing hands and wisdom had many people at her door seeking her help all the time. For me, her deep cultural roots was more than a great inspiration. Imagine what else life brought to me in later years. What else became the rich food that a creative mind like mine was eating.

What do you like about AZ?

I like Arizona’s desert, its natural sounds, the spring and summer bb7de9d1-48f7-4c55-b704-de5a09123e48smells after the raining season. For sure the desert is special place. I like the mountains and nature always the best. AZ politics is another matter! In the city, I like the vibrancy of the people, the creativeness that is happening right now. The city brings energy, it brings constant changes that become influential to a creative mind. Arizona is, and will always be in my heart.

Where can we see you(r) work?

Currently I do have an exhibit going at the Chandler Public Library’s downtown site. This exhibit reflects a project that was initiated by the Chandler-Gilbert Community College as part of a grant they received from the American Library Association and the National Endownment for the Humanities. This exhibit features art, but is also incorporating an oral history component to it. I was lucky to have given an opportunity to curate and exhibit there as artist. Currently, I am also updating my studio, so more work will be coming out soon…and a future group exhibition at the MonOrchid is in play.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Tough question…but reflective. I guess there is always something to be accomplished, but not sure if death is the end of things. Sometimes death marks the beginning of things. You plant the seeds while you are living and death brings them out. History will tell.

What is you mantra?

Movimiento or movement! I remember a long time ago, a wise man explained to me about the meaning of the Aztec calendar. What was my symbol? My spot within the calendar was between a zopilote (vulture), which is considered to be the cleanser or re-cycler’s of life. Next to me was also the stone, which is considered a solid matter, strong, reliable, home bound. Then there was my spot, right there in the center of those two other powerful symbols, and it was “movement”. A symbol that is always ever changing, that it is transformative, always moving forward.


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YabYum Seven: Nicole Olson

olson4Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nicole L Olson. I am an artist; dance is my genre. My medium is the human body. I use it to choreograph and perform; tell stories. Influence moods. Create images.

How did you get your start?

I’m originally from Wisconsin. I always knew I would be a dancer; never wanted to be anything else. First studied at Milwaukee Ballet School, and then received my BFA from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. My whole life I have used movement to create the fantasies that I see in my head. Dance makes me feel alive. It’s the best high there is.

What inspires you?

People inspire me. Their stories, plights, loves, traumas; even their normal day-to-day is inspirational to me. If you watch people, their body language, their souls, you are reading a thousand books. For me, words are not necessary to express what people feel. We innately speak without uttering a word. Everyone can notice it, if they take the moments to see.

What do you like about AZ?

I would say my “family of choice” is what I like the most. olson3I am surrounded by the most loving, creative, exciting people! They laugh with me, cry with me, hold my hand, stand next to me. My life is made so full by these outstanding people.

Where can we see you(r) work?

I am Associate Director/Principal Dancer with Scorpius Dance Theatre, and have performed with them for 16 seasons. I am also a Guest Artist with Center Dance Ensemble, along with performing for Liliana Gomez.

Independently, I have created choreography for Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Phoenix Opera, and have performed my work as a soloist here in Phoenix and in many different cities throughout the country.

My next project – coproducing a site specific work with Elisa Marie Cavallero and Liliana Gomez at {9} The Gallery entitled Gods and Monsters, which will premiere in June [more info here].

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I would love to see as much of the world as possible; to witness the cultures, the environment, the energy of the amazing people who inhabit our planet. Learn from them, experience their worlds. And if I get to do some more art along the way, all the better.

What is your mantra?

I have two… – “Wear your heart on your skin in this life,” and “Kiss a lover, dance a measure, find your name and buried treasure.”