The Art of Living in Arizona / by Miachelle DePiano

Robert Weissner: Architect, writer, poet, photographer

Robert Weissner: Architect, writer, poet, photographer


I have a new personal project that I'm undertaking. I've lived in Arizona for ten years now. Most of that time was spent living in the East Valley suburbs. The East Valley is a good place to raise a family. It's safe, relatively quiet, but over the years, I yearned for something a little more on the edge, so I moved to central Phoenix. I love living in the city. The social and economic diversity is in your face. But over the years, I've heard a comment made numerous times, and it always bothered me because I found it to be so untrue: "There's no culture (art) in Phoenix."

Oh contraire, mon frere. Yes, there's less art and culture when you live out in either the West Valley or the East Valley. There are certainly more developed communities fraught with HOA fees, cookie cutter template houses, and chain retail stores. However, there is plenty of art and culture galore to be found here. You just need to be willing to explore outside of your circle and open your eyes.

Hence, my project "The Art of Living in Arizona." I travel on the outskirts of several different artisan networks, and I've decided I want to photograph the artisans and the movers and shakers of the Arizona art world. Arizona is much more than a southwestern cliche. It is more than cacti and dry earth and cowboy art. There is a deep culture here comprised of various ethnicities, all yearning to express themselves and have their voices heard. Some of these people are Arizona natives (a rare breed here!), and some are transplants. They all bring with them history, experience, diversity, and unique perspectives.

I want to show you that Arizona is so much more than you thought.