YabYum Seven: Danielle Wood

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All photos courtesy of Danielle Wood.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Danielle Wood, and I am a visual artist. I work predominately in ceramics and enjoy creating installations and individual sculptural forms inspired by nature.

How did you get your start?

The first show I participated in downtown Phoenix was at Made Art Boutique, which was an installation I created as a featured Mantel Artist.

The next show I did was in ARTELPHX at the Clarendon Hotel in Spring 2015. I created a two-room installation with porcelain clay installations attached to the wall with painted insulation foam and industrial strength Velcro. Both rooms were lit by black light with a trail of porcelain shards leading to the second room. I had a wonderful experience as an artist in that event and it was well populated with about 600 people each night throughout the hotel even though it was a rainy weekend.

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“Baroque Sensibilities”

I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics at ASU in 2006 and my Master of Fine Arts at New Mexico State University in 2012 in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Ceramics.

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“Microcosm 1”

What inspires you?

Nature and psychology, specifically social psychology inspires me.

I am also very interested in the symmetry, patterns, repetition, and beauty found in nature. The ocean environment intrigues me because it is a space that has not yet been completely discovered or explored. I am drawn to that environment for its beauty, mystery, intrigue, creative abstract forms, and endless possibility. Due to the space not being fully explored, anything is possible and many of the sculptures I create are inspired by ocean flora abstracted.

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“Microcosm 2”

What do you like about AZ?

I like that Arizona is a growing art scene and is also growing in regards to its support of the arts with a variety of facets.

It has great opportunities in regards to public art, grant funding, and organizations/events to participate in the arts in Phoenix including Roosevelt Row, Third Fridays, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Curator Engine, and Artlink. As an artist, I feel the scene is supportive, welcoming, and will continue to grow.

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Where can we see you(r) work?

My work can be seen in the lobby of the Illuminate Apartment Complex on 3rd street and Roosevelt, it received a Baron Purchase award.

I also have work at Tiny Works/Tiny Dances at {9} Gallery in December.

I have work at the ASU Art Museum store as well as in the upcoming fundraiser called Amid the Grid at the Eye Lounge in December.

I’m also on the ASU Ceramic Research Studio Tour in February and my work will be exhibited at Deborah Hodder’s studio in February 2017 with Deborah Hodder and Susan Risi. I am a member of Eye Lounge artist collective and will have a solo show at the Eye Lounge in July 2017.

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What would you like to accomplish before you die?

My artistic bucket list would be to complete several residencies, be a ceramics professor at a university or college, continue to exhibit locally as well as nationally.

I would like to travel more and Thailand would be at the top of my destination list. It seems like such a beautiful country and it is known for its beaches. The marine life would be very inspiring for my work.

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What is your mantra?

A mantra that inspires me as an artist was quoted by Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs…ideas flow out of the working process, out of what you have already done.”

I agree with him in the way that sometimes you don’t feel inspired, but art is like a relationship, as long as the artist is in attendance, the inspiration comes from the working process, which is a wave of energy always in flux.


For more info, check out her website. You can also view her Facebook page.

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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.”



Taking a Closer Look at “Portraits of Bohemia”

“Obliteration” by Jason Rudolph Pena. Photos courtesy of artists.

Beautiful portraits adorn the walls as you enter {9} The Gallery – a relatively new gallery located downtown on Grand Avenue, owned and curated by Laura Dragon. The current exhibition is Portraits of Bohemia featuring two local artists Jason Rudolph Pena and Carol Roque. They are self-taught artists that focus on expressing themselves through their art focusing on portraiture. There is a tremendous body of work within the gallery with both artists coming together harmoniously since their styles are so complimentary. Each artist demonstrates great use of color and shadowing bringing an added edge and drama to the portraits while relating pure raw emotion to the viewer. Together these two exciting artists have skillfully reinterpreted the idea of the modern portrait.

Ms. Dragon has been wanting to put together a portrait exhibition at {9} The Gallery but it wasn’t until about six months ago when she met Jason during art detour that the idea became a realty. Laura knew she wanted to exhibit his work and said, “Jason’s work is amazing and I love how he uses found materials to paint on”. Immediately she thought of pairing his work with Carol Roque whom she first met four years ago during First Friday. Laura purchased a print of Carol’s entitled “Rubber Ducky Never Judges” and she has since watched her career and style progress over the years. The inspiration for the title Portraits of Bohemia came from Ms. Dragon’s love of her community and portraiture, “Grand is very bohemian in every sense of the word” she said. When I asked the artists why portraits, Pena simply said “I usually paint portraits because I feel that is the best way to capture an emotion”. While Roque said portraits allow her freedom to “paint what I love or find interesting, and that often involves expressing those feelings through the individuals I create.”

Jason’s portraits are slightly abstracted with the composition cropped to emphasize the face. We see a brilliant use of color that draws the viewer through the portraits, highlighting the subject’s eyes. Compositionally he limits the background distraction allowing the viewer to focus on the face like with his piece “Obliteration”. Jason uses acrylic, watercolor, and ink on found material to creature his pieces. When I asked him about the inspiration behind his current artwork, he simply said “his fans.” Jason said, “people who collect my work, the people who share my posts on social media, the people who tell me they are inspired by what I do; they collectively inspire me.” He has an immense amount of respect for his fans and this is definitely evident throughout his work with the care he takes when depicting each subject.

“Cecilia Deals with Growth” by Carol Roque

Carol’s portraits transport you inside her imagination: playful, witty, with a dark twist. She incorporates a rich color palette, brilliant use of line and shadowing, and a delicate abstraction of her subject. Carol creates amazing original oil paintings, hand made dolls, and prints. A great example of her style is “Cecilia Deals With Growth”, a stunning portrait with beautiful lighting and imagery. When asked about how she chooses the models Carol said, “I based them on what I wanted to express, I find a pose I want to use and change it until it matches what I want to say through the work.” Her work is a reflection of her life experiences which she draws inspiration from for her paintings. Carol said, “sometimes it comes from what I know and understand, and while other times it’s something I don’t truly understand until after I’m finished.”

The Portraits of Bohemia exhibition is an incredible portrait exhibition that you don’t want to miss and it runs until October 4th with a special artist reception on Sept. 20th. Plus, there will be a poetry slam on September 17th with poet Andrea Gibson and an ASU Poetry Slam on Sept. 27 so mark your calendars and head down to {9} The Gallery!

Gallery Teaser
Jason Rudolph Pena Website
Carol Roque Website

by Nicole Royse
Contributing Writer