art making, sound making

What might a painting sound like? What might sounds look like?

The exhibition i hear what you’re seeing, curated by Laura Haleshighlights seven paintings and drawings by Arizona artists, imaginatively narrated in sound by students from Arizona State University’s School of Music and ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

Featured Visual Artists:
Laura Spalding Best, Bill Dambrova, Cam DeCaussin, Lara Plecas, Ellen Wagner and Monica Aissa Martinez.

Featured Sound Artists:
Devin Arne, Shomit Barua, Laura Brackney, Andrew Robinson, Jacob Miller Smith and Gina Xu.

Here are some detail shots. You’ll have to show up to experience the rest of it.
#art #sound #words #mixedmedia

Laura Best, Refracted Oasis

Bill Dambrova, She asked me my name and I gave her my social security number; that’s how they got my spleen

Cam DeCaussin, Or so I’m told but how would you fake it

Lara Plecas, Petite Alliance

Ellen Wagener, Cloud Bank

Monica Aissa Martinez, Lymphatics (front view)*

*my work will also include a poem titled Signal by Kelly Nelson


Who:     Center Space
What:    i hear what you’re seeing
Where:  Inside of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, 85251 View Map
When:   Opening: Friday, January 17, 6:00–8:00 pm.
runs to April 26, 2020

Join us for the opening! Free and open to the public.

Center Space is a newly imagined community space for visitors to learn about the arts by doing. Each fall and spring exhibition will feature hands-on activities or interactive displays. It is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and during evening performances.

tempera @ crystal bridges

In February I receive an email from Assistant Curator Jen Padgett at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

I’m curating a small focus show about tempera painting and was drawn toward your Male Torso – Anterior View and Female Torso – Anterior View, which were in our State of the Art exhibition.

I wondered if you might have any comments about your use of casein in the work, or any of the other materials. We’re planning to install the paintings in a section that looks at the variations of tempera including casein, and how that is used with other materials such as gouache, etc. The overall goal of the exhibition is to engage our visitors with the complexity of materials and techniques and I think your works do that beautifully.

Before a planned phone call at the end of the week, I send Jen process shots ↓ of both of the works. I list all the material including casein and egg tempera.

Male Torso in process. Mixed media includes Casein, Egg Tempera, Gesso, Gouache, Ink, Micaceous Iron Oxide on Canvas
Size: 45 x 35½ inches

Jen tells me about the exhibit. I enjoy our conversation about materials and also share with her some history about both casein and egg tempera.

Today she sent installation ↓ shots!

Tempera, one of several exhibitions on view now at Crystal Bridges Museum, runs to October 14, 2019.

Jen, thank you for the photos. The space looks beautiful!

Installation photos courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum

more about → Crystal Bridges

© All Rights Reserved by Monica Aissa Martinez

In, On, and Of Paper

Photo credit: Bentley Gallery

In this exhibition, Bentley Gallery features 22 artists who recalibrate the limits of the traditional paper surface, breaking boundaries and challenging preconceived notions of materiality. They explore form, sustainability, language, gender, architecture, spirituality, psychology, fashion, genealogy, and modernity.

Paper, as a viable surface, whether it be for writing, calligraphy or drawing, came into being in China during the Eastern Han Period (25 – 220 CE) with the advent of woven plant fibers, later refined in the 13th Century with paper manufacturing utilizing watermills, only to be fully realized in the 19th Century with the invention of the wood-based papers that we use today.

Paper as a drawing surface was traditionally used as the first step in the preparation of a work of art in another medium. i.e. painting, yet drawing as a singular expressive technique in and of itself gained significance in the early part of the 20th Century. In terms of contemporary art practice, works made on paper have the advantage of immediacy and fluidity of line and form, while also suggesting a more informal gesture and the impulse toward broader improvisation and experimentation.

Paper has contained within it both the advantages and challenges of being a mutable surface, a less rigid and predictable substrate, allowing for greater exploration and variation within the larger work as a whole, thus allowing for a greater sense of whimsy, freedom, and improvisation in the initial creative process.

WHO:       Bentley Gallery
     In, On, and Of Paper – a group exhibition
                curated by Rembrandt Quiballo
WHERE:  215 E Grant St, Phoenix, AZ  85004 

WHEN: Third Friday Opening
Tomorrow at 6-9pm
Jan 18 – Mar 9

Free and open to the public – You’re invited!



Hey Phoenix! It’s that time of the year again. The summer months bring 515’s annual guest artist invitational.  Each of the nine members invite 5 artists. In this case you’ll have over 45 artworks to see.

Yes, this is the 5th annual FIVE15 TO THE POWER OF 5. That’s a lot of five’s!

Member Mary Shindell has invited 5 of us. Her guest list includes:

Mark Fry
Christine Cassano
Carolyn Lavender
Nick Shindell
Monica Aissa Martinez

Here are detail shots of each artist’s work –


Mary Shindell 
Red Hummingbird 
Laser cut acrylic and paper collage (triptych detail)


Mark Fry
Looking for Calm Skies 
Encaustic on wood panel


Christine Cassano
Mixed media (detail)


Carolyn Lavender
Graphite on paper (detail)


Nick Shindell
Acrylic and oil on canvas panel (detail)


Monica Aissa Martinez
 The Little Brain 

Mixed media on mylar (detail)

WHO: Five 15
WHEN: July and August
First Friday, July 1st and August 5th (6-10PM)
Reception on Third Friday, July 15th and August 19th (6-10PM)
WHERE: 515 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ
Every artwork will be available for purchase. Buy it, take it!

See you there!

phoenix first friday – comings and goings

Someone suggests I film visitors walking through my container. I don’t do it, but I do take photos of groups moving through Cella on First Friday night. I have to say again, I particularly enjoy watching people move through the space. I have a habit of seeing everything as a learning experience and this does become (for me) a social study of sorts.

We are certainly conditioned to move through space. Someone reminds me of a high-school hallway where one keeps to the right. Yes we do, I remember. Even in the chaos of the crowded and busy evening, the majority of people line up, enter on the right side and exit to the left. But there are always those that don’t – follow the path. And even though this is my space, and I want order, I secretly cheer those people on. Rebels too, have a place in society.

There is much about this experience I take with me. Like that I find it difficult to see people come so very close to my work.  I recall every museum I have ever visited and a security guard who asks me to step back. The work invites people to look closely. And people are for the most part, respectful. I have to and do locate a comfortable balance within myself.

I listen to conversations – thoughtful and amusing. You know – people respond to the body (parts) in interesting ways. They do respond.


I grew up in El Paso, a Texas border town, so I’ve always been interested in physical and symbolic transition  and change of space. The phICA (Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art) containers are situated in downtown Phoenix which now is in full reconstruction – noisy and chaotic. For me, creating (a) Cella became the creating of a fine and private place. Of course the agreement is to invite in the public, after setting up, I really didn’t want to – invite anyone in. I like things my way and I enjoy solitude. It works itself out. I learn more about environments and thresholds and change of space and how those things affect ones mental focus and energy. I learn about order and chaos, my space, your space and our  public space – letting things go and bringing them all back in…over and over again.

People. Change.


install / cella


Invited to show my work with Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art, it’s the alternative art space that pulls at my attention. I want the challenge.  I spend yesterday installing drawings in the repurposed shipping container.  The long, narrow area has forced me to think and work differently. I realize quickly my original plan is not going to work.

A few curious passerby’s wander in. One woman, from Canada, tells me she’s read about Roosevelt Row and when planning her visit to Phoenix, puts it on her list of places to see.  I ask if they can walk though the space so I can see how they move in it. They are more than excited to comply. They do what I am hoping they will do, plan B works. Are you in Science, she asks. That’s the perfect question. I also meet a group of college students from Boston. They come close to ask questions and take photos.

I title the show Cella and after being in there all day, the name is right. It most definitely is like a small chamber, it is  in fact a rectangular room, simple and windowless, with an open entrance set to the front. Lets see how it will do with a crowd of visitors…I can only guess.

I walk away thinking the room appears like a sterile environment, suitable for anatomy study.


Handout and artist statement:

Layout 1

Exhibition runs:
March 18, 2016, Third Friday, 6 – 10
April 1, 2016, First Friday, 6 – 10
Art Detour, March 19 and 20, Saturday and Sunday
Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix (between eye lounge and Modified in downtown Phoenix)

feminism today in shade gallery @ the monorchid

This weekend is Art Detour.


Nicole Royse organized an exhibition titled Feminism Today. It holds to be a powerful exhibit of 13 women artists. And You’re invited!
The exhibition will be displayed in Shade Gallery at the monOrchid. Focusing on the loose theme “Feminism Today,” looking at the many roles woman play including artist, mother, wife, friend , etc. How do these topics affect, play a role, or reflect within artists work?

Kristin Bauer
Christine Cassano
Cherie Buck Hutchinson
Mimi Jardine
Melissa Martinez
Monica Aissa Martinez
Lara Plecas
Mary Shindell
Constance McBride
Irma Sanchez
Beth Ames Swartz
Marilyn Szabo
Denise Yaghmourian


My work in the background and Christine Cassano’s work in the foreground @ MonOrchid (Photo by Nicole Royse)


Feminism Today
Shade Gallery at the monOrchid from March 6th until March 29th, 2015.
Opens: First Friday, March 6th, 6-10pm
Closing: Third Friday, March 20th, 6-10pm.

Art Detour 27: Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th from 11am-4pm
more info → visit website

celebrating insects @ the i.d.e.a. museum


The i.d.e.a. Museum presents Jeepers Creepers: BUGS In Art
A Celebration of Insects (for children and adults)

The gallery will be filled with fun, artistic bugs that are inspirational and informative for all ages. Put on a bee suit and do a waggle dance or step into a make-believe world with giant bugs! You can even compare your size to extinct Paleo bugs and experience over 40 artworks made of all types of materials including video, watercolor, mixed-media and fabric by 10 different artists.

Here are a few samples of some of the artwork:


Barrett Klein, Damselflies, , Digital



Barrett Klein, UnEarth, modified globe, soil, salt and paint



Andrea Uravitch, Cicada Shell, Mixed media

Uravitch_Andrea_3OrangeCicada (2)

Andrea Uravitch, Orange Cicada, Mixed media


Jeanie Pratt, Jewel Beetle Teapot, Sterling silver, fine silver, 18K gold, jewel (Buprestid) beetle wings, ammonite, peridot, Mexican opal, dichroic glass beads, stainless steel

Jewel Beetle Teapot

Jeanie Pratt, Jewel Beetle Teapot, Sterling silver, fine silver, 18K gold, jewel (Buprestid) beetle wings, ammonite, peridot, Mexican opal, dichroic glass beads, stainless steel

purple hairstreak copy

Georgette Rosberg, Purple Hairstreak, (butterfly) Color photos


blue dasher

Georgette Rosberg, Blue Dasher (dragonfly), Color photo

photo 1

Joan Danziger, Honey Beetle, Metal, glass, acrylic paint‏

photo 2

Joan Danziger, Patchwork Beetle, Metal, fused glass, frit,dichroic glass


Monica Aissa Martinez, House fly, Mixed media collage on panel


Monica Aissa Martinez, Hawkmoth, Mixed media collage on panel

Edgar Cardenas includes video work that focuses on understanding the backyard as an ecological space just like any other environment. ↓

There will be plenty of opportunities to test your knowledge and learn all about bugs through fun and challenging puzzles, games and art-making activities or you can take the challenge to debunk myths about bugs and insects while learning facts like:

  • How insects help us and are beneficial to the environment
  • The different parts of insects
  • What insects eat
  • Insect homes
  • Life cycles of insects
  • How insects communicate
  • Insects that are edible
  • Insects that are extinct and newly discovered species

Featured artists:

Edgar Cardenas, Phoenix AZ
Eric Carle, Key Largo FL Courtesy of the Eric Carle Museum
Desi Constance, Phoenix AZ
Denise A. Currier, Mesa AZ
Joan Danziger, Washington DC
Wesley Fleming, Ashfield, MA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Joel Floyd, University Park MD
Elaine Hultgren, Phoenix AZ
Tara Jaggi, Pleasantville PA
Barrett Klein, La Crosse WI
Mindy Lighthipe, The Villages FL
Monica Aissa Martinez, Phoenix AZ
Karen Paust, Wellsville PA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Jeanie Pratt, Nipomo CA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Andrea V. Uravitch, Washington DC, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Georgette Rosberg, Tucson AZ
Emelee Van Zile, courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge

Specimens and fossils:
High-resolution images, exhibition activities and content & specimens from Frank Hasbrouck Insect Collection, Education and Outreach department at Arizona State University
Arizona Museum of Natural History, collaborating to loan insect collections, insect fossils and bugs preserved in amber

WHO: i.d.e.a. Museum
WHAT: Jeepers Creepers : Bugs in Art
WHERE: in the Whiteman Family Exhibition Gallery
WHEN: Oct 9 to Jan 25


For more info about exhibition, events, admission fee, hours of operation → The Idea Museum

* One photo from each artist posted here will direct you to their web site.
Do take the time to visit all the artists listed and their websites – the work is varied and wonderful!

sex: a woman’s perspective

This summer I received an invitation from Beatrice Moore:

I am organizing an exhibit of all woman artists for September at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery, in the Bragg’s Pie Factory building and I wanted to invite you to participate.

“Sex: A Woman’s Perspective” is intended to be interpreted in any way the artist likes. I’ve intentionally left off any descriptors so as not to influence the interpretation someone decides to make. This exhibit is one of several that will emphasize the work of Valley women artists. 

I didn’t wait too long to reply, especially after going through the list of invited artists – most of whom have been actively working in various mediums in the Phoenix and Valley art scene for many years.

Beatrice notes: the exhibit is comprised of women artists who I feel can interestingly, and provocatively, engage the public in a spoken, visual, and tactile dialogue about the many meanings and various interpretations of ‘sex’.

Artists include: Babs A’Delic, Melinda Bergman, Sue Chenoweth, Susan Copeland, Mona Higuchi, Dena Johnson, Carolyn Lavender, Annie Lopez, Carrie Marill, Monica Aissa Martinez, Lara Plecas, Christy Puetz, Irma Sanchez, Heather Smith-Gearns, Karolina Sussland, Jen Urso, Yuko Yabuki, and Denise Yaghmourian; with a special body painting project by Gingher Leyendecker.

Below are a few examples of works – you only see a part of the art or ‘in progress’ shot. You’ll want to  go see the show in person – for the complete experience.
(Some photos offer artist website link.)

detail 1

Carrie Marill
Quiet Conditions  – detail
gouache on paper

flesh image4ad

Irma Sanchez
Flesh – detail      
2′ x 2′ 
#4 of Sugar Panel Series.
Royal Cream Icing, (artists own recipe) applied to untreated wood, gel food color additive, gouche and silver aerosol.
– Experimental


Christy Puetz
Karla – detail
glass beads, cloth, mixed media


Karolina Sussland
Digital Print – in process

Lopez Area of Concern

Annie Lopez
Area of Concern – detail
dress made of cyanotype prints on tamale wrapper paper


Yuko Yabuki
Oracle – in progress
acrylic on wood


Sue Chenoweth
The Ghosts of Christmas Past – detail
acrylic, wood and mylar on panel
24 x 18″


Denise Yaghmourian
I Love My Bicycle Face – detail


Denise Yaghmourian
Succulent – detail
Mixed Media


Yuko Yabuki
Oracle – in progress
acrylic on wood


Monica Aissa Martinez
I don’t think it needs a title – detail
Casein on Canvas
18″ x 35″

WHO: Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery
WHAT: Sex: A Woman’s Perspective – Curated by Beatrice Moore
WHERE: Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery
in Bragg’s Pie Factory,
1301 Grand, Phoenix, AZ
WHEN: September 6 at 6:00pm until September 21 at 4:00pm
Opening Reception: 6-10pm, September 6, 2013
Closing Reception: 6-10pm, September 20, 2013
Special → Artlink Collectors Tour, September 21, 1-4

The exhibit will also be open Saturday September 21st from 1-4pm.
and by appt. : contact Beatrice Moore at 602.391.4016 or email her for more info.

Click here to → rsvp on Facebook

about the space:
The Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery is a relatively new space on Grand Avenue in the historic Bragg’s Pie Factory building. The goal of the space is to showcase both established and lesser known artists, and create a place where fine art and community endeavors co-exist, and at times, overlap. The space is intended to be utilized as a community space as much as a gallery, and provides a venue where non-commercial work is encouraged and embraced. Film, performance, music, exhibits, historical explorations, science, and a host of other topics and various mediums are encouraged as part of an eclectic mix and a variety of approaches.

raw @ the tempe library

Christy Brown organizes the Tempe Community Galleries exhibitions. She explains that in conjunction with the Tempe Center for the Arts Gallery’s Smithsonian “Green Revolution” exhibition (which opened last January), all the community gallery shows will have “going green” themes this year.

Raw opens today. The exhibition focuses on the work of three artists  who are choosing to move away from the use of harsh chemicals and synthetic materials in their work, and are instead working with raw, recycled or organic materials. I am one of those artists, as are Joe Willie Smith and Aimee León.

Aimee León
An artist and certified sheep shearer, uses natural raw wool along with recycled industrial materials. The show includes a number of her small and soft – object forms . Most are beautiful tactile vessels. I want to touch them all.


Joe Willie Smith
A multi-media artist and musician includes works in metal.  He works with found objects and repurposed material. He talks in general about finding just the right piece and then in particular about the white form below – how he scratched/drew on it one early morning to catch both the light and shadow of the sunrise.


I have several posts about Joe Willie’s work and our collaborative effort at sound making – which I’ve used as background for all the Nothing In Stasis videos.

Raw includes a number of my paintings and one small drawing. I work with organic material, primarily egg tempera and casein.  I like to refer to my mediums as egg and milk. This work below uses casein as underpainting, and egg tempera as the surface color.


Vital Commotion #4

Delivery and Install
I plan to drop off work and head back to the studio to paint, but when I learn Joe Willie is in the exhibit and he’ll be dropping work off, I wait for him. And as it all plays out we spend the morning working with installer, James Sulac.  Before Christy leaves for the morning she mentions how the work might hang. She asks which side of the wall I want my work on and I tell her. But after Joe Willie arrives and we begin seeing how interestingly things connect, we suggest the work hang in the space mixing together. Below are a few install shots.



I understand we connect in terms of the raw materials theme, but as I look at everything I appreciate Christy’s eye more and more. The organic forms of León’s soft sculpture connects to the light forms and color in my paintings and to [the appearance] of softness in 2 of Willie’s larger pieces.

And you probably can’t tell from these photos (below) but the colors and lines in Joe’s work connect to my use of the same design elements. The acid green of his sculpture (below) runs right through the mid-section of my painting to the left, and is high-lighted by reddish pink points in both works. Joe Willie decides grouping his smaller pieces salon style will enhance the grouping of shapes in my compositions, and vice versa.



I regret not getting shots of another wall where León’s wall pieces hang along side Joe’s and my work, a similar soft glow of lavender and blue shows up. Somehow all the work organizes between fragility and strength.

It’s Raw and you’ll just have to go see for yourself.

vital commotion #6

WHERE: Tempe Public Library
(Lower Level Youth Library)
WHEN: Now to Dec 4th

The Tempe Public Library is located at
3500 S Rural Rd
Tempe, AZ 85282.

As you arrive watch for the Museum marker below, on the corner of Southern and Rural.

For more info on show and for artists’ statements click on  → Raw

25 Years Downtown


Has Art Detour been happening for 25 years? Yes! and we’re celebrating…


The monOrchid presents 25 Years Downtown, opening March 1, 2013 for Art Detour weekend and running through the month of March.  As an invitational exhibition, it is not a comprehensive retrospective, but with as much inclusion as possible. This exhibition is about the stories and experiences of the participating artists in the downtown Phoenix art community.  It explores the history of downtown Phoenix art and celebrates the diversity through the perspective of the artists.  The result is an eclectic mix of significant veteran artists and new(er) school artists.


As part of the celebration The monOrchid will also presents its inaugural Arts’ Ball with the artists and the public. The evening, which is free and open to the public, will be full of activity and include exhibiting artists and entertainment. The monOrchid will hold a silent  auction of much of the work in the exhibition 25 Years Downtown with a percentage of the proceeds benefitting the re-launch of Shade Projects, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing arts awareness, community engagement, and historical building renovation.

I am pleased to participate. I love the space and support the intentions. I hear they have gathered over 50 artists. Here are only a handful of images up for auction (click on image for artist blog or website).

Finding Nematode Dambrova_Small 38x43 ©Bill Dambrova

Bill Dambrova
Finding Nematode
oil and fluorescent spray paint on canvas


Irma Sanchez
digital photographic print
30 x 20

sideways saguaro

Mary Shindell
archival inkjet print
edition of 10


Lara Plecas
“Set Afire”
encaustic on panel
Wallow Fire/wildfire landscape

stars under the lid

Carrie Marill and Michael Lundgren
Stars Under The Lid

Homage to the Lepus Temperamentalusm

Monica Aissa Martinez
Homage to the Lepus Temperamentalus
– Jackalope In a View-Finder
Medium: Casein and Graphite Collage
18 x 14″

All the work and/or artists connect to the downtown arts scene. My work (above), created specifically for Jackalope Ranch’s (our Phoenix Culture blog) limited edition birthday sticker, is available for auction.

Come down, enjoy the art, celebrate 25 Years Downtown with monOrchid – and buy some artwork.

  • First Friday (Art Detour Preview), March 1, 2013 6-11pm
  • Art Detour, March 2 & 3 11am – 5pm
  • The monOrchid Arts’ Ball, ( and silent auction) Saturday, March 2, 7-12pm
  • Third Friday Collector’s Night, March 15, 6-10pm

The monOrchid is located in downtown Phoenix
@ 214 E Roosevelt, Phoenix AZ 85004
For more info click → The monOrchid.


the HOME show @ stark gallery

Stark Gallery is an inviting and beautiful, open and well-lit space that’s been on the Xavier College Preparatory campus since 2001.

Early this Fall I received an invitation from curator Alison Dunn, (whom I know from eye lounge) to take part in an upcoming exhibition called HOME. I met Frances McMahon Ward, co-curator, while delivering my painting. Frances I learned, was also a one time eye lounge member….it’s a small, creative world.

Marie Navarre, Distant Call

The HOME show is currently running and includes a selected group of INVITED ARTISTS:


HOME the idea

  • Is it a physical place, or something you carry with you?
  • Is it embodied in our sense of family, a particular place, or simply a state of mind?
  • Is “home” static or evolving? How is it linked to memory? How much of our idea of “home” is invented, culturally determined, or outright fabricated?

When I enter the gallery, I am immediately presented with Kate Timmerman’s Resting Place.  I stand with the carefully constructed slate cairn for a long time. It’s rhythmic, strong and rich in color and texture. So simple and so direct.  It’s probably my favorite work in the exhibit.

Kate Timmerman

A close second that hangs in front of Kate’s very grounding work, is the airy and light-weighted collage by Ernesto Lopez titled, Flight Patterns #3 (below). It appears to be some sort of deck of cards. They’ve been cut, folded, and laid out in a circular pattern atop gridded and repeated clouds. There’s both movement and stability in the design pattern. It’s not framed. It hangs on the wall…blue, free and easy. It works.

Ernesto Lopez

I’m drawn across the room to Bill Jenkin’s Resting Chair.  It’s labeled a Pigmented Print. It’s behind glass and despite some glare, I get a descent photo. It’s a more than gently used leather chair.  It amuses me, it’s strange. It’s got old, worn…presence, like a relic.

Bill Jenkin

Directly in front of the print,  is Angela Cazel Jahn’s, free-standing, clay and found objects sculpture, titled We Live Here Somewhere.  I think it deserves a detail shot too.

Angela Cazel Jahn

Are the figures independent? Are they related?

I photograph a few more 2D works, but the glare won’t let me share them with you.  I do capture Bill Tourtillotte’s monochromatic DigiGraph, Here is Home.

Bill Tou

Below is Betsy Bret Harte’s Right Ascension Home. Her surreal imagery always peeks my curiosity. This one is no different.

My small canvas stands unusually bright in the mix. It’s titled Has My World Gone Upside Down or Have I?  I painted it a few years back, the month my 18 1/2 year-old cat passed away.

Monica Aissa Martinez

… there’s more.  You can see the HOME show during regular school hours and by appointment.  Or you can attend the closing reception on January 9th 3-5. 

Stark Gallery is in Central Phoenix.  It’s on the campus of Xavier College Preparatory, just off of 7th street at Highland, in the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center.

For more information (read about their mission) visit their website: Stark Gallery

You Are Here, A collection of Maps of Phoenix (more than 5 questions for Claire Lawton)

On opening night, what impresses me is the eclectic grouping of artists and the range of interpretations of “Phoenix Map.” After a month-long run the show comes down today. I get a chance to connect with Claire Lawton, who curated and organized the event.  As I walk into Regular Gallery this afternoon, I find her…what else…but folding a new map.
We’re trading places today, I get to ask the questions.

Is this an exclusive? I wonder out loud. She smiles, Yes, it is! 

1. What is your occupation? I run the Phoenix New Times arts and culture blog called Jackalope Ranch.

2. What draws you to the arts? I’m drawn to the arts because they are constantly changing and are driven by absolutely fascinating people.

3. What inspired you to create this exhibition…Maps of Phoenix? and how did it end up at Regular Gallery? I’ve been drawing maps of the Downtown gallery scene in Phoenix for more than a year. At around the year mark, I was talking to New Times’ managing editor Amy Silverman and had mentioned that I was thinking about not continuing the map series. Truth is, I wanted to see what Phoenix looked like through the artists’ eyes. Luckily, she agreed — and she also thought I should keep drawing my maps.

We floated the idea by local creatives and Roosevelt Row members Cindy Dach and Greg Esser. Esser opened Regular Gallery in January, liked the show idea, and volunteered his space.

4. How did you go about choosing the 10 artists who participated?
I’ve been writing about the Phoenix art scene for a little more than a year and a half. The 10 artists who participated in the show are artists who I’ve interacted with, had discussions with, and whose work I could see working well together. The group is very different — a muralist, a cartoonist, a painter, a sculptor, a printmaker, a historian — these are all creative people who I’ve admired and who Amy and I have had on a sort of “wish list” for a long time.

6. Give me a childhood memory of a map.
Growing up, my mom drew directions on tiny maps she’d draw on scraps of paper. They always had her own system of landmarks; the big car always parked on that one street, the ugly bridge built over Ray Road, the ultra-blue fountain. It really wasn’t until I started drawing my own maps that I understood how much more sense they made and what value they carried over the 37 steps Google maps gives you or the annoying reminders from the OnStar lady.

7. You make lots of map…Do you think maps and cartography are important? Why?
I have a terrible sense of direction. I still turn the wrong way off the freeway to get to the house I grew up in Ahwatukee. Maps are important on a very utilitarian level — we all need to know where we’re going — but they’re also sentimental. The maps I make include places I love and experiences I’ve had. They almost always leave out one or two things, and they’re never to scale. Maps and cartography are important because they document where we’ve been and how we see what’s around us.

8. What did you learn from this experience?
This was my first time curating a show, so it was all a learning experience. I learned that I’m not alone in what I always assumed was an odd obsession with maps. I also learned that when you’re tall, you have to hang everything a little lower than eye level.

9. Will you do this again?
I hope this will be a yearly show and a continuing theme for shows in the future.

10. I loved the hand written title of show and artwork labels, on the wall…anything you want to say about the (your) font?
Thanks! All of my maps are hand-drawn with pen and colored pencils, so simple labeling (i.e. me writing the show title as well as the artists names and information) was natural. I’d always been self-conscious about my handwriting — my As look like deltas and I started writing in capital letters to make a point to a middle school teacher. It’s since grown on me.

Thank you Claire. And I agree with Amy, keep drawing those maps.

Below are photos of the various maps in the collection.  For more info about each work, click on the image and go to the Jackalope Ranch, 5 Questions interview, by Claire Lawton.

Thomas "Breeze" Marcus, Hohokam Canal System

Angela Cazel Jahn, In Progress, Cross Section

Carrie Marill, Black Mountain - Cave Creek

David Quan (Luster Kaboom), Silly Map (of Phoenix)

Sarah Hurwitz, Phoenix Proper

Sarah Hurwitz, Phoenix Proper

Safwat Saleem, Land of Sunshine

Sue Chenoweth, 14th St. and Missouri: Central Phoenix

Marshall Shore, Murder Changes Lives

Melinda Bergman, "Diving Up"

Monica Aissa Martinez, You Are Here

a regular gallery visit

Regular Gallery, Greg Esser’s new art space, is small and intimate.  Artist Lisa Marie Sipe’s new work, is personal. Combine the two, and you have a perfect match.

The show resulted from the very personal experience of losing someone you love, to cancer.  This is not the subject Lisa planned to deal with, but it’s the matter that presented itself.
She includes titles like…”The tumor is VERY little,”  “It started with a backache,” and “Size of a pea, top of the brain.”
I find the work rich and full. And as I move from piece to piece, I wonder if Lisa immersed herself in trying to make sense of it all. I’ve visited a cancer research lab, and I recall slides of the various cancers where color is added and images appear beautiful. But it’s cancer. I find myself talking to Lisa about the experience that led up to making the work for the solo. She shares some thoughts, and I do too.  No answers, no philosophical draws, just human exchange. Her work is  key for that door.

“Boo…they wouldn’t put on the sirens for me!”
mixed media and encaustic on wood
20 x 10 inches

One is not supposed to touch things in a gallery setting, but I do want to touch.  Things are bright, delicate, and so richly textured. I get very close to the work, to see it. I ask Lisa about her process and materials.  She gathered images and printed them out on paper, using both sides of the sheet in some instances.  Then she began construction. If you are familiar with Lisa’s work, you know she works in encaustic. But this is all very different. There is the wax, and color, and fluid design usual in her art, but these are more than 2 dimensional pieces. Though most of them hang on the wall, they have form, depth, and illusion of movement. She speaks about finding the new approach freeing. She shares how normally she has end result clear in mind, and knows what things will look like. This time, she wasn’t certain about anything. The comment  brings back the subject at hand.

 Size of a pea, top of the brain
mixed media and encaustic on wood
20 x 10 inches

As I’m getting ready to leave the gallery I note a bright yellow bucket in the corner. Is that a piece? I ask.  Yes it is. Like all children, my aunt played with buckets of dirt, Lisa says. The mixed media on found object is titled “We’re rooting for you kid.”
Go see Girl Plays in Radioactive Dirt.

Visit Lisa’s website for complete artist statement and some great shots of her work and the installation.

Outside I chat a bit with artist Kate Timmerman, who is also visiting galleries this afternoon. Kate quickly says, I’ll be making phone calls soon, and this saves me a phone call!  Do consider voting for Greg Stanton. She talks about several of his causes including funding for the arts. Very good, Kate.
I drop into a few more galleries, talk to a few more artists…and now as my day comes to a close, I still feel invigorated by our artist community.

WHO:              LISA MARIE SIPE


918 N. 6th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004-1918
(602) 614-8727

WHEN:          May 20th –  June 11th, 2011   

The space is off the beaten path, so be sure to look for the entrance at the back where there’s plenty of parking.

red dot project

Red Dot Project by Kaori Takamura

Kaori Takamura is participating in a group exhibition that opens this Saturday, April 23, at the Tempe Center for the Arts. The exhibition is titled Twenty Questions.  It features artists working in a variety of media and themes, playing with the popular game Twenty Questions. You will see the work of 12 Arizona artists including Christy Puetz, Joe Willie Smith, Denise Yaghmourian, Takamura and 8 others.

Each artist created a site-specific installation or environment for the artwork placed in this exhibition. The TCA worked with artists, creating storylines, questions and conversation topics for audiences. Several types of interactive games are being made available including a 20 Questions scavenger hunt for adults, coloring pages for children, an SRP gaming lounge and social media options: Twitter, Facebook and online blogs.

Takamura’s plans took a change mid stream and things became much more personal. She was born in Tokyo, Japan (currently resides in Carefree, AZ).

Kaori had this to say,
I am going to show one large painting that consists of 20 red dots for the group exhibition. The title is 20 Dots/Pray for Japan. The image is not available at this moment. I am still working on it!
I was invited  by Michelle Dock (curator) to participate in this show, about 6 months ago. My original proposal was a more general painting with 20 colorful dots with stitching, kind of hinting a Zen spiritual way. Then after the disaster happened [earthquake and tsunami],  I changed my mind and decided to make all red dots with Japanese images. Michelle accepted my change as well as my donation activities.

For the donation activity, I will sell small paintings (7.5″ X 7.5″) for $40. I will have 20 to 30 paintings. They will consist of one red dot in a white square (image above). I call this donation activity Red Dot Project* . I am hoping to do the same thing at other locations, again and again, in the next couple months. Hopefully I can get other artists involved.

And she also really hopes to get …you… involved. *The Red Dot Project includes 20-30 small (7.5″ X 7.5″) works on canvas, each priced at $40.00.  They will be be sold only at the opening. 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross to support the disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan. To read more statement from Kaori, click here.

The exhibition as a whole embraces the unusual, quirky and off-beat appeal of artworks that do not always fit into categories such as painting, drawing and sculpture. It runs from April 23rd to Sept 2nd.

For more info: