The Idle Class: 2022 Visual Art Issue

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20 S Hill Avenue, Fayetteville AR 72701 | 479.871.2722 Wednesday – Sunday 12-6 “FIRST THURSDAY” RECEPTION Every month from 5:00pm to 8:30pm




Frame Fayetteville

800 North College Avenue Fayetteville, AR 72701 479.422.7170 Framing fine art, photography, momentos & more.

in partnership with Central Arkansas Library System/ Six Bridges Book Festival and The Clinton Presidential Center


His Quiet Space | 30" x 24" | Acrylic on Canvas

Meet award winning artist & illustrator CHARLY PALMER Artist Reception at Hearne Fine Art Thursday, October 20, 2022 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

View exhibition online at WWW. HEARNEFINEART.COM For additional information, contact Garbo Hearne, Director Hearne Fine Art Phone: 501.372.6822 Email: 1001 Wright Avenue Little Rock, Arkansas 72206

Virtual Programming In Conversation with Charly Palmer Sunday, November 20, 2022 2:00 PM CST | ZOOM


An Elegy to America in Black & White II: The Artwork of Madai Taylor

Artwork by Nick Hobbs

OCT. 28, 2022 — FEB. 24, 2023

NOV. 10, 2022 — FEB. 4, 2023

Supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities

Sponsored by the Kline Family Foundation

The Arts & Science Center


The Arts & Science Center 3



Check out Joy Clark’s story “A Psalm for a Full Tank of Gas”



A look at some of our favorite artists from around Arkansas



NWA native Nancy Pop makes waves in NYC film scene



Madi Love & J Spendlove





A look at some of our favorite local artists

A special look at Suzannah Schreckhise’s NWA Mask Project

CONTRIBUTORS Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Kody Ford Associate Editor Jack Barr Special Guest Editor Cassidy Kendall Writers Nazanin Ashorzadeh

Joy Clark Erica Harmon Mary Lou Hill Cassidy Kendall Sophia Ordaz Photography Pooneh Ghana Roger Ho Grant Hodgeon

Meredith Mashburn Daniel Nansel Ismael Quintanilla III Charles Reagan J Spendlove Jeremy Rodgers Kat Wilson Layout Kody Ford

Creative Consultants Madi Love J. Spendlove Cover & Title Pages Madi Love

NWA Mask Project Zine Artist/Project Manager Suzannah Schreckhise

Writer Molly Bess Rector Photography Stephen Ironside Andrew Kilgore Design Kim Seltzer

It’s A Mystery BookStore On the Berryville square Located in Berryville, AR

Your gently-used bookstore featuring vintage, modern and classic reads! Find us on


EDITOR’S NOTE utumn is here, and I’m quite ecstatic about this. Does that A really relate to this new issue? Nope. But I’m always willing to take a moment to recognize sweater weather. Because I own way more sweaters than anyone should. This is my time to shine.

We are back showcasing many talented artists in Arkansas. Every time we do a Visual Arts Issue, it’s difficult because there are so many talented people to fit in our limited number of pages. If we overlooked you, please reach out and send us your stuff. We aren’t snubbing you; we just get busy. I’m very grateful to Madi Love and J. Spendlove for serving as creative consultants on this issue and putting up with the hectic pace of building out this issue. Also, a special thanks to our old friend–the versatile and talented Suzannah Schreckhise–who’s always working on something amazing. Her NWA Mask Project was an interesting response to our 2020 quarantine, and we are happy to showcase this as a special section for her. She recruited some incredible people for this, so be sure to check out her section. Also, I’d like to send lots of love to our Associate Editor Jenny Vos, who took this issue off to get married! Congratulations to her and her spouse, Charmis, on their union. When I saw them slow dancing to Elvis’ “Only Fools Rush In,” I may or may not have gotten a little choked up. Thankfully, our contributor Cassidy Kendall stepped up to help with editing duties this go-round. Check out her media organization, The Hot Springs Post, and look for her byline elsewhere. We hear she might be hitting the big time soon. Despite inflation and supply chain issues, The Idle Class is hanging in there this year. We couldn’t do it without our many great sponsors who have stayed with us over the years. We even had a few old friends return for this issue, so thank you to all of them. Please, please, please patronize these places, check out their websites and purchase their goods or services! Most advertising dollars go into the pockets of Big Tech these days. Mark Zuckerberg owns like half of Hawaii at this point, so every dollar spent locally keeps him from buying more beachfront real estate. Do you really wanna see more of his surfing pics with the six layers of sunscreen on his nose? The world doesn’t need that. So shop local with our supporters. Thanks for reading, and go break out those sweaters!

Kody Ford

Publisher + Editor-in-Chief

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Daytime in the Galleries, Nightime in the Forest BENTONVILLE Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour + Listening Forest Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art IG / @crystalbridges

The fall season brings new experiences to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. No matter what your schedule, the museum has two unmissable engagements this season, including a daytime in-gallery fashion exhibition and an outdoor, nighttime forest lights excursion

Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour

Open through Jan. 30, 2023 Get red-carpet ready for the museum’s first exhibition dedicated to fashion! From dresses worn by first ladies to art-inspired garments to iconic fashion moments that defined a generation, Fashioning Amer-

ica: Grit to Glamour offers a dynamic interaction between video, imagery, and over 100 garments and accessories selected from across two centuries of fashion. The exhibition emphasizes the work of designers who immigrated to America, Native American and Black designers and iconic fashion brands and their impact on visual culture in every decade.

Listening Forest

Open through Jan. 1, 2023 Listening Forest, created by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, uses light, sound and projections to create an interactive walk through the woods. This site-specific exhibition brings together eight immersive installations, each one activated by you: your heart rate, your body, your voice and your movements direct the forest’s response. Add your heartbeat to an array of 3,000 lightbulbs, each glimmering to the pulse of a different participant from the

past. Control giant, 20-foottall stick figures made of light. Leave a voice recording that will join a chorus of echoes left by previous forest visitors and much more. Listening Forest is open Wednesday-Sunday evenings after dark. - Erica Harmon

PINE BLUFF An Elegy To America In Black & White II: The Artwork Of Madai Taylor

Oct. 28, 2022 - Feb. 24, 2023 Reception - Oct. 28, 5-7 p.m. Arts + Science Center for Southeast Arkansas IG / @asc701 The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, located at 701 South Main Street in Pine Bluff, presents Madai Taylor’s An Elegy to America in Black & White II. This poignant and provocative exhibition of non-subjective works of art with accompanying po-

etic writings detail the reason for the pain and suffering of Black folk brought by ship and sold into bondage. It relates to Biblical prophecy against the backdrop of American History, as exacted by the American Spirit. An Elegy to America in Black & White II builds upon Taylor’s 2018 body of work. This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Hum-anities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Spirit of Jim Crow Live In the Trees — Mixed Medium With Iowa Earth by Madai Taylor

LITTLE ROCK Filmland 5

Nov. 3-6, 2022 CALS Ron Robinson Theater IG: @arkansascinema The Arkansas Cinema Society will host their fifth annual celebration of cinema on Nov. 3-6, 2022, at CALS Ron Robinson Theater in Downtown Little Rock. The event will feature curated selections from festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto and more. Other events include workshops with industry professionals from Arkansas and abroad; in-person screenings of selections from the Filmland: Arkansas program; happy hours and afterparties; and special guest Q+As with filmmakers. Over the last few years, Filmland has hosted award-winning directors Richard Linklater, David Lowery and Chloe Zhao; producers such as Evan Hayes, Fred Berger & Brian Kavanaugh-Jones; and actors like


Oscar-winning actor Jessica Chastain with writer/director Jeff Nichols during Filmland 2021. Photo by Daniel Nansel

Jessica Chastain, Will Forte, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. Filmland has provided Arkansans early opportunities to watch award-winning films such as Nomadland, One Night in Miami and The Eyes of Tammy Faye. The full program will be announced in late October. Get tickets at


rcadeNow aims to champion and create space for the more experimental side of music, film, dance, and visual art. The genre of music is undefined but will include elements of post-classical, ambient, electronic, solo instruments, modular synth, and a rapper paired with string quartet. The brainchild of Emmy-nominated composer Amos Cochran, ArcadeNow is funded through the Artists 360 Community Activator grant provided by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The line-up features Matt Magerkurth, Thomas Echols, Leon Carlo, Job Smoot, Stringsmen + Baang, Kevin Blagg, Damian Cheek, The Drowned and Christian Serrano-Torres.


Nov. 11-12, 2022 / The Bakery District IG:

The event runs Nov. 11-12, 2022, at The Bakery District in Fort Smith. Each evening, doors will open at 6 p.m. with performances at 6:30. Tickets are $25 for two-days and $15 for single day. Follow the link in the ArcadeNow Instagram ( to get tickets.


“I’ll Have It All” by Meikel Church

Psalm for a full tank of gas STORY / JOY CLARK


an we get someone to turn down the music? No, Sam, I am not too drunk to be standing on this chair. Don’t tell me to climb down again. Don’t act like you can’t see that I’m here. I’m here. Here I am to proclaim the fucking miracles of the Lord and to say: hold up, listen. Know this: that the Lord reigns over I-20 at 3 a.m. in the morning. He saw my Corolla sitting in a ditch with semis rushing past, rattling prayers out of asphalt. He saw my torn hose and ant-bitten shins. He didn’t look away, even though the angels were fluttering around His face like moths, and even though there was only me and some roadkill as far as yonder goes. The Lord’s got a sharp-tuned ear. The Lord hears when crickets orgasm, and He heard the last cough of my Corolla as it finally hit empty and rolled to a stop. Could y’all give me a break from your yammering a second? No, I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness. And no, I’m not on speed. Open your ears. Can’t a bitch praise for a moment? Praise the Lord who gave me this bubble backside that I fall on most days. Praise Him for the cushioned landing. Praise the Lord for the mountains of late-night diner food that went into this ass, for waffles and chicken fries and Velveeta queso, and praise Him for the perfect spandex skirt, the skirt I found at Goodwill. Praise the bourgeois club girls throwing out their clothes because they dripped a little ketchup on the thigh. Lord, have they not heard of Tide to go Instant Stain Remover? I mean, come on. Praise for Tide to go. Praise the Lord of wobbling and twerking. Praise the Lord of hips that might as well be jelly, for bass so loud that you’re jiggling even when you’re standing still. Praise Him for the jiggle, the wild dance of what was once corn cakes and

jambalaya now just ricocheting off your bones, thrilled to still be kickin’ it with you. And for The Door, for that dirty venue with holes in the walls and perpetually-clogged toilets, for all the bands and DJs I’m embarrassed to name that I’ve seen there. Praise the Lord for shitty music and too much eyeliner, for lipstick smeared on plastic cups, for the way men still look in skinny jeans even when they’re having to dye their graying roots. Praise the Lord that He made them vain enough to keep wearing skinny jeans even when they should probably move on from those acid-washed vasectomies. Praise Him for those of you daring your circulation to stop right here with just the right combination of fried fish and denim, just for the glory of your asses. For I am hashtag blessed. I am hashtag truly blessed. I am hashtag praising the Lord for the many ways I’ve been blessed since I woke up this morning, afflicted with the blues that you get when you’ve been working at minimum wage for too long, when your breath smells like the primordial ooze they call breakroom coffee, when you’ve been living in your friend’s basement for a year now, forced to share a bed with their dog Buster, who is possessed by an entire congregation of fleas. Listen. The Lord has super eyesight. He sees right down to skeletons, which are yawning, which are falling asleep and forgetting how to move. The Lord will prod. He’ll poke. He puts a thirst in the chest that can only be quenched with European remixes of Kanye and Usher. Praise the Lord for every step taken towards the club, even the ones going backwards or sideways, the drunk-bladder hopscotch outside a gas station toilet, the mile-long walk from my car because I didn’t want to pay twenty dollars for valet parking. Praise the Lord for free parking in


abandoned gas station lots, even if you have to creep your way around buildings and dart across freeways like Indiana Jones. Praise for the other women in the bathroom line at The Door, for the messenger of the Lord who told me, “Those shoes are dope,” for the fratboy prophet of the Lord who yelled, “Get crunk,” for the Lord in his infinite weirdness speaks through donkeys and flames, and sometimes reflective glass, and sometimes bass guitars, and sometimes even me. Hell yes. Rejoice. You ever get lost in the woods outside your friend’s house, taking a walk to just try to clear your head, pushing at brambles and baby branches all sprung and crazy and in your business? Getting scratched up by the underbrush, bit by mosquitoes, and starting to wonder if anything you ever try to do just for yourself is worth it? Because every time you begin to launch a life something goes wrong: you take the pill because you’re scared and turn up pregnant anyway, then your boyfriend dumps you for someone named Katrina, just like the hurricane that sent you to this shit-biscuit town in the first place, and maybe you didn’t lose just your family home that late summer, didn’t just lose your dad’s record collection, didn’t just lose your cat, Iggy, whose body was never found, but something else, too. Those weeks standing in line at the Superdome, always waiting for water or news of your family, who could have been dead for all you knew, rioters on one side, assault rifles on the other, some squatting to shit anywhere, some exposing themselves to children because nothing mattered. That late summer you were a bitch, not in the badass way you wanted, but doglike, cowed, hungry. Twice while you were sleeping against the wall, you woke to some stranger above you, someone who wanted to take the power from your body, plug into you like an outlet. You thought: nothing matters. You thought: I’m dead. Once, you were knocked to the ground, and your right hand was crushed, breaking the bird-fine bones of your fingers. And ever after you hated drinks called hurricanes, hated people called hurricanes, hated hurricanes called hurricanes. You ever walk faster and faster into a part of the woods that looks dark? As though the deeper you go, the more your ability to transform, to become animal, feral? And all of a sudden you stumble out into a clearing where a bunch of wild plum trees are growing, and it’s just that time of the year when they’re loaded with blue-purple fruit, clustered like fat grapes around one another, twined by honeysuckle and bees losing their ever-loving minds, humming over the sexiness of it all? And you think to yourself: I need to dance. This skeleton still moves. No really, I’m almost done. And listen, it’s not the beer speaking.

Because the Lord, He sings in the shower. The Lord, He knows how to get low. The Lord, He taught us to pray any way we can, any place we can. When I left The Door last night, a man followed me outside. He told me to stop. He told me he just wanted a minute. I kept walking. My cell phone was dead. When I heard him behind me, I tried to run, but I stumbled onto my knees. There wasn’t a streetlight or headlight to see. I got up and kept running, thinking about the man’s legs, longer than mine. Listen: the Lord has hands that can bend back the sky like a blanket, and He kept that man back until I could get in my car and drive. I drove on and on, not thinking about the empty-tank light flashing on my dashboard until the car seized up and I was on the side of the road, heels off, trying to flag down one of the passing trucks. I put on emergency lights and waved a white bag. No one stopped for me. It seemed darker than night. I stepped into an ant bed, and angry mouths tore up my ankles. My legs on fire, my car off the road, I wanted to cry but I started laughing instead. I sat in the driver’s seat thinking: you stupid, you stupid, you stupid woman. You immature, you pathetic, you sad little no one, out here alone. Lord help you, you just had to go dancing. For a minute it felt like what I had learned of myself last summer would continue to be true: I’m buried and no one’s going to dig me out. But the Lord sent some of those bored, moth-like angels down. I swear I almost saw them. Butter-yellow and bobbing to keep out of my peripheral. A hunch hit me. I put my fingers to the ignition and the car started right up. My needle went from Empty to Full, holy gasoline to keep me going, all the way back to Louisiana, all the way to this bar and BBQ, where I can dig up my old dead body and shimmy with her. What, you don’t believe me? You don’t have to. I’m believer enough for the both of us. The Lord, He gets shit done. Don’t be dumb. Praise Him for late nights and long roads, praise Him for filling these bone-dry craters with enough fuel to get you to morning, for stopping your enemies, for getting your gears going and your hips moving and your feet stomping and your wheels rolling—no wait, let me finish!— praise for the things that are dead and still being resurrected, like my feet, like my lips, like punk rock and crop tops, like boogies, like blues, like psalms and prayers, like me telling you: I will not shut up. Amen. “A Psalm for a Full Tank of Gas” was originally published in Bayou Magazine, Issue 71.


Journey to

Bentonville bets big with FORMAT Festival, bringing in world-renowned musicians and artists alongside regional talent. WORDS / MARY LOU HILL he city of Bentonville might T not be a name tourists previously recognized. Once

viewed as just a small, rural town, this Southern city’s name and reputation are now one to be noticed nationwide. On Sept. 23-25, 2022, Bentonville hosted FORMAT Festival – a three-day and night multidisciplinary experience encompassing music, art and technology. Once the festival was announced last Spring, the buzz reached significant cities across the nation

— spreading the word about this small town’s ambitious endeavor. The hype grew, and when fall arrived the highly-anticipated festival debut was finally here. Anxious festival-goers drove into the Ozark mountains and onto the 250 acres of Sugar Creek Airstrip. Wristbands intact, the reality of the dancing, eating and singing to come set in as they drove under the large, free-flowing and fluffy arch that reads, “FORMAT,” designed by Athen Brandon.

Selfie Throne by Kat Wilson w/ Derrick Maxey Photo by Kat Wilson

In the center of the festival sits two stages: The North and South of Oz. This is where acts such as The Marias, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Khruangbin played, Herbie Hancock, Beach House, The War on Drugs, Phoenix, The Flaming Lips, Thundercat and the once-Fayetteville-based Honey Collective performed. Bars offering specialty cocktails and non-alcoholic energy drinks, along with food vendors, were also present. Local favorites like Bondi Bowls, Bougie



Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Betony Vernon’s Hypnosis (w/ Lela Beesom) Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III

Maddy Morphosis Photo by Charles Reagan

Nick Cave w/ JLin + UAPB Drumline Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Wayne Coyne Photo by Roger Ho

Nick Cave’s Sound Suits + King Fish Photo by Roger Ho

Amos Cochran + Christian Serrano Torres Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III

Fatboy Slim

Photo by Roger Ho


Photo by Charles Reagan

Genesis Owusu


Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Photo by Roger Ho

Bizarre Bazaar

The The Cube Cube

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

PhotoPhoto by Grant by Grant Hodgeon Hodgeon

North of OZ stage Photo by Charles Reagan


Buns, Pedal Pops and Hotboxx Woodfire Pizza were offered in the festival’s food courts. En route to the back of the grounds, you can cycle through the Bizarre Bazaar — a maze of discovery and curiosity, ranging from local vendors, entertainment and food. Onyx Coffee, Superfine Sweet Shop and Pink House Alchemy were some food and beverage choices offered, along with retail stores such as Vada, Restore Hyper Wellness and Block Shop Textiles. Next to the Bazaar, NWA artist Kat Wilson’s neon #selifethrone shone bright in the night. Wilson designed that interactive art piece and it was built by Derrick Maxey. You couldn’t pass by without stopping for a pic and mingling with Wilson and her hype man, Rev. Randy Love. Wilson said, “I feel like I talked to every festival goer. By Sunday night, I didn’t even have a voice left. I think #selfiethrone let anyone and everyone become part of the art.” Festival-goers that felt like gettin’ down could hit the Disco Barn, a barn transformed into an eclectic madhouse of daily get down’s, vinyl funk sets and live world music. DJ’s Fatboy Slim and Amémé took the stage late Friday night, pulling in fans


Photo by Ismael Quintalla III

for each of their two-hour sets. The more techno-inspired entourage were pulled to The Cube: a journey taking you through augmented sonic realities, including deep listening sessions, renowned musical acts and local instrumentalists. Past The Cube was DomeRx, an immersive 360-degree artspace with lasers and light shows created by artist Darren Romanelli. Emmy-nominated composer Amos Cochran performed Saturday in The Cube with Italian Hypnotherapist, Betony Vernon and Sunday alongside Christian Serrano-Torres. “It was an honor to have been a part of the inaugural FORMAT Festival,” Cochran said. “It’s the first time in my career I felt like I was a part of something that really landed on a higher tier of professionalism and overall artistic quality.” Upon sunset, the festival grounds transformed from a daylit throne of activities to an awe-inspiring party. Next Door, a speakeasy, multi-roomed immersive installation, provided acts from local musicians and surprise performances, including the hit French DJ, Dombrance, on Sunday.

an hour set, packing the venue to the edge. They performed their popular songs, “Filtering,” “Rapid” and “I Will Find You,” along with unreleased songs that will be on their new album released next summer, Phlegms vocalist Avery Lee said. Past Next Door, the last venue at the edge of the grounds is Smokey’s, a forest oasis surrounded with colorful lights and hidden enclaves, described as an “adult playground.” Smokey’s offered headlining DJ acts Shygirl and Lindstrom to perform in its entrancing light shows. Annabel Glover, of Fayetteville, attended the festival for all three days and described the experience as a “crazy and awesome party the whole time, a lot of good colors and good music, great vibes.” Glover’s favorite act of the festival was The Phlegms, stating their performance was mind-blowing, she said. She is already planning on coming back next year to enjoy what else the festival is going to offer. IG: @format_festival Photos courtesy of FORMAT Festival + Kat Wilson

Saturday brought the Fayetteville-based band, The Phlegms, to perform at Next Door for

The Flaming Lips Photo by Roger Ho

telling me like, ‘Oh yeah you know we had to have our production designer come in and they completely redesigned everything (and) added all these props,’” Pop said. “They just made it look so cool and like the way that they transformed the world you know and then being able to see that film after we had shot and seeing what they created out of this creepy-looking house; it was just so cool.”


Filmmaker, actor + producer Nancy Pop is making a name for herself in the NYC film scene, but she cut her teeth here in Arkansas. WORDS / CASSIDY KENDALL


omanian born and Arkansas raised, award-winning actress, producer and filmmaker Nancy Pop made the move from the Natural State to New York in order to pursue her career. Having now spent the past nine years doing so, Pop is armed with insight to share with fellow Arkansas creatives trying to make it to the big screen. At the young age of 17, Pop moved to Manhattan to further her education at Marymount Manhattan College. New York is where she stayed to continue her career. Over the past years she has internationally screened her feature film, Poets Are The Destroyers, and produced multiple short films. She even has quite a few commercials, three mini series and a music video under her belt.

She has undoubtedly been busy while in New York, but Pop was quick to note it’s not necessary to leave the state of Arkansas to create such films. When Pop was first introduced to film, it was at the age of 14 on the set of “Moderngrumble,” an Arkansas-based short film written and directed by Toby Venable. This is where she fell in love with the industry. “Toby Venable was probably my biggest source of inspiration as far as like, seeing what the power of film can do,” Pop said. Set inside a tiny house off the highway in the middle of nowhere, she was able to see the world we know be transformed. “I was just there to film some scary movie, but you stepped into this house and Toby was

“Moderngrumble” showed her the power of film. “I kind of just fell in love with the whole, the whole process of it all, you know, starting at that point in my life when I saw what they were able to do with these really small budgets, making these really cool art house films,” she said. A lot of people may think they can’t make movies in Arkansas to start a career in the industry, but Pop said after spending nine years in New York she has come to realize this is not true. “It definitely helps to be here (in New York) and meet people here, but I would go back home any day of the week right now and and be back in Northwest Arkansas for like, six months or even a year, if it meant that I could be with my family and friends,” she said, “and I can easily make a movie there right now, you know? “You can really be making things there anytime anyhow, anyway. You just need to have the right team and you need to find a way to raise the money for it, but there’s nothing stopping anybody from making the next Sundance winner or Con winner if you live in Fayetteville or Hot Springs or Little Rock or wherever. It’s just you just need to do it. Just pick up a camera and start filming.” Instagram / @pancynop




aron Cheesman is a 25-yearold self-professed Internet baby, perfectionist, Soundcloud rap disciple, and multidisciplinary creative who’s made a home for himself in music. Since his debut mixtape, 2018’s Herbal Ice, Cheesman has planted his fingerprints on every stage of his music’s production and stoked his urge to innovate, searching for new frontiers that weave technology and art together. “I can’t get away from music. It’s everywhere. My AirPods are my most important possession to me in the world,” Cheesman says. “When I wake up, I have to listen to music. I have to listen to music in the car. It has to be part of my everyday life.”

Since its advent in the early 2010s, the hip-hop microgenre nicknamed “Soundcloud rap” has drawn listeners for its numbedout vocal delivery, spacey, AutoTune-laden soundscapes and a lyrical focus on heartbreak and alienation. Cheesman leans more into the emo and R&B threads of the Soundcloud rap tapestry. Where many pioneers of Soundcloud rap bottled the energy of drugs or the party in their music, Cheesman is more interested in the underlying intimacy found in taking a good, hard look at yourself in the club’s bathroom mirror or having a smoke outside the function with someone who knows who you really are.

Patti Steel The 2022 Black Apple Award Winner for Favorite Solo Musician has released her latest work, No Better. Tracked live with her band, Steel only added some extra harmonies on the songs after the fact.

No Better

“They were essentially one takes, which makes me proud of my band considering we just started performing together and there is a closeness we all shar_e and respect,” said Steel.

Accompanied by 3-D animated album art and an NFT of an AR scan of his head, both of which he created himself, 2021’s A LOTUS FOR YOU, is Cheesman’s most recent offering. With the romantic, synthy decadence of tracks like “WEDDING CAKE” and “PROMNIGHT,” the project contains the dejected sensitivity of Yung Lean and a dash of the playfulness of SahBabii, all strained through the nocturnal stylings of PARTYNEXTDOOR. Mastered and mixed to a sparkly shine, LOTUS came about from drafts of songscreated during a year in China in 2019. Following the release of LOTUS, Cheesman started an artist residency with CACHE Studios in Bentonville in 2021, where he began writing his upcoming project, Homeostasis, and previewed several of the songs in a high-energy performance at CACHE Studios in May 2022. After the deaths of XXXTENTACION, Lil Peep, and Juice WRLD, internet discourse has conjectured that Soundcloud rap is dead, but artists like NWA’s own Cheesman are doing their part to evolve the genre. “I would tell a younger version of me just to keep going and stay positive and to believe in yourself. Nobody’s going to believe in you like you believe in yourself,” Cheesman says. “The game does not stop.”

IG: @aaroncheesman

“We recorded with Arlie Stiles at George’s in the big room all in a few hours of time. I felt this was the best way to truly give the feeling of what we sound like performing on stage. I am all about making sure you can hear the soul of my music and I want the heart of the band to be felt and heard as well.” No Better is be available on CD and all online streaming platforms. Patti will launch her Bandcamp and website soon.

IG: @patti_steel


his is a call to all music lovers struggling to figure out their direction in life. This is for the fans who have decided they want to be more than fans. Maybe booking shows is right for you, and veteran show booker Roger Barrett is here to help. Here’s what he had to say: Start small and then work your way up. Ask local bands and venues how you can help them. Get together a small team with friends who can support you, spread the word about your shows and be emotionally supportive if things get tough. The best place to get started booking is at a DIY venue. Booking a house show is the best hands-on practice. You can book with an established DIY house, or if you have enough experience with music equipment, you can talk to your neighbors about starting your own DIY venue. Be sure to learn your way around a PA system and mixing vocals. Unless you work at a venue, find another way to make money. Be prepared to send your own money to an artist at first. Be prepared to message a booking agent or the band directly. If you start booking touring bands at all-ages DIY space or bar venues, start with door deals. If your goal is to bring touring bands to your town, offer them all of the door income after the bar’s percentage. Keep it simple when sending a band an offer. The best offer for a touring artist is between $500-800. If you feel confident you can sell 40 tickets at $10 you could offer a $400-guarantee vs. 75% at the door. Don’t overcomplicate when reaching out to a booking agent. Just ask if the band is touring near town and make an offer. Let them know you’re an independent promoter and your past experience. Then send them venue information once it’s secured.

WORDS / NAZANIN A SHORZADEH PHOTO / KODY FORD Get a local band to open. If you’re booking touring bands, door deals heavily favor them, and you can’t offer a local band as much if most of the door goes to the touring band. It’s essential to be open with the bands about your budget. Promotion is crucial. You’ll need your booking account on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Have your buddies spread the word and announce your shows a few months ahead. Create announcement posts, advanced ticket sales, and reminders. Only book what you’re interested in. That’s where branding comes in. You really want to create a name for yourself so that when people see your posters of a band they don’t know, they will at least know that you typically bring in good music. Above all, keep it fun. Book the shows you want to see and feel confident promoting. Keep your friends involved. Keep doing it.

IG: @onthemapshows

Ashtyn Barbaree

Better Luck Next Time

The songs of Better Luck Next Time find Fayetteville singer-songwriter Ashtyn Barbaree exploring her love of co-writing and her own development as a songwriter over the last few years. The topics cover a wide variety of situations, but they all

feel personal, she says. Tracks like “Up In Flames” pull from the headlines where a woman in Lincoln, Nebraska, made national news headlines after she caught her apartment on fire burning love letters. Better Luck Next Time is available digitally on streaming services. Physical copies can be purchased at her shows.

IG: @missashtyn



Madi Love | | Digital Artist The Art Collective Gallery

Warm dreamy sunsets, star scattered skys, clouds, lips and somewhat sensual shapes dress the landscapes in Madi’s inviting works of art. Madi’s work isn’t one that goes unnoticed and their captivating simplicity brings the viewer closer. As captivating as subjects go, her most recent exhibit sets the mood at her gallery in Rogers. Featured in the center of the gallery her new piece titled “Peaches and Cream” (as seen on the cover) is a local installation you won’t want to miss. From waiting tables to Creative Director, Madi Love has worn many hats. She’s created brands, designed graphics and campaigns for large companies and worked with design agencies on a global scale. But who is Madi? The challenge to find this answer has led her on a journey of exploration through nature and visual art. Each morning Madi watches the sunrise from her dining room window of her quiet forest home. “I observe the colors as they change and fade with the rise of the sun. At that very moment time is fragile, and if you pause something magical happens. The colors are just for you. There is no separation from your fingertips and the skyline. Suddenly the earth is still. “ Madi created her first landscape print at the age of 7. Fascination by the design process and the technology to print herself, eventually led her to pursue a career in the commercial and graphic arts. Her early career allowed her to gain perspective of how brands use art to shape our everyday world. Madi now designs art and fashion inspired by her love of nature and technology.





Growing up in Las Vegas, the crazy world that lived behind the buildings and parks where my friends and I would skate, subconsciously influenced us as kids. The marks from graffiti covered trains and alleys that were left on my childhood seemed to offer no other choice but to become an artist. I was in awe of color, lines, shadows and the entire creation process. I loved it as a kid and I still love it today. Even now as I remember that lingering smell of permanent black markers and spray paint I feel inspired to create.

It really wasn’t until high school that people started to recognize me as an “Artist” I didn’t really think of myself that way. The more I painted, the more the paintings transformed me. Art became a passion rather than a hobby and from that passion grew dedication and consistency. Art is a path with an unknown destination. It will change you. It may scare you. It may even enlighten you. When looked at in a nonlinear way art can unlock deep philosophy and previously undiscovered or unspoken truths. What I currently create could be considered abstract art but what it really is, is a way of looking at and responding to the modern world. And what is inspiration but a response to life, to death, to pain, to beauty? I think as creatives we are always receiving inspiration - wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. And for me, most of the time that inspiration likes to organize itself and hit me as I lay down to sleep… maybe it’s because that is the time when the heart and mind are still. Medium(s): Acrylic, Oil, Bronze

Years active: 1999 Present IG: @_ jspendlove_ Representation:

Pop Gallery Santa Fe, NM.

Art About Town A look at some of our favorite public art around the state. PHOTOS / MEREDITH MASHBURN, KODY FORD + PERRION HURD

Pony Gate by Amelia Briggs

Famous Hardware Store in Downtown Springdale Instagram: @amelia.projects | Pony Gate is curated by CACHE with funding support from the Tyson Family Foundation.

Greetings from Mount Sequoyah by Jody Travis Thompson Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center in Fayetteville Instagram: @jodytravisthompsonpainting Funded by a grant from CACHE + MAAA

Cerebral Pause by Jeffry Cantu Arts One Presents installation at Black Apple in Springdale Instagram: @jeffrycantu

Birds and Dogwoods by Ziba Rajabi

Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center in Fayetteville Instagram: @zibarajabi | Funded by a grant from CACHE + MAAA

Freedom by Perrion Hurd

Hot Springs Instagram: @hurd_wired_studios


Vaughn Davis, Jr.

Renata Cassiano Alvarez

John Isiah Walton

New Voices of the South The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts releases their short film series Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South featuring artists from Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri. WORDS / KODY FORD over 60 years, the Delta Exhibition at ArkanFsasorsasArts Museum of Fine Arts (formerly the ArkanCenter) has served as a touchstone for

art in the region. Each year, artists from across Arkansas and surrounding states would submit their work in hopes of making it into “The Delta.” However, COVID-19 followed by a complete remodel of the museum put the exhibition on a hiatus the last few years. In 2021, the museum launched a video series in partnership with regional art museums entitled Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South so the spirit of the annual juried exhibition could live on until it could return in person at the brand new museum in Little Rock. In the 2022 edition of Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South, AMFA highlights the work of Renata Cassiano Alvarez, Vaughn Davis, Jr.—in partnership with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis—and John Isiah Walton—in partnership with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The films are a three-part exploration of the artists’ perspectives on Place–how their region’s history and culture inform their artistic practice, Content–the stories and ideas expressed in their art, and Form–how

those ideas take shape through the artists’ materials. Through intimate vignettes of each artist’s process and connection to their cities, assumptions about often under-recognized sites on the national art map are thwarted and a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural richness. Following the 2022 release of Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South, AMFA will host connected programming in 2023, and the first Delta Exhibition in its new triennial format in 2024 at the redesigned Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. AMFA Executive Director Dr. Victoria Ramirez said, “For over sixty years, the Delta exhibition has had a profound impact on the artistic community in Arkansas and the surrounding states. Through the video series Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts has been able to broaden the reach of this region’s cultural richness.” The short films were released on YouTube and can be found on the museum’s website: On Aug. 31 at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock, the Arkansas Cinema Society hosted a

screening of the three films, followed by a Q+A with all three artists and filmmaker Chris Dellaplace, hosted by AMFA Director of Community Engagement Chris Revelle. During the extensive conversation, the creatives reiterated many of their opinions on the influence of Form, Content and Place while also delving deeper into their own creative practices. (Full disclosure: I organized this event with AMFA on behalf of ACS. — Kody) Thanks to the AMFA staff, The Idle Class had a chance to ask some questions of each artist. We are grateful for the opportunity as they are all impressive talents and generally enjoyable to be around.

Renata Cassiano Alvarez IG: @renatacassiano Renata Cassiano Alvarez is a Mexican-Italian artist and interpreter born in Mexico City and currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas School of Art. Cassiano Alvarez works predominantly in the medium of clay, in a search for developing an intimate collaborative relationship with material and material language. Influenced by archeology and history, she is interested in the power of the object as survival - objects with a sense of permanence and timelessness, and language as transformation; specially how adopting a different language can affect the physicality of the human body, and how this translates into material. Why do you create art? What drives me to create is the wish to communicate through something other than words. Creating allows me to communicate with material and through my hands. It also opens up a whole universe of possibilities and new languages. . What new trends in art do you find intriguing? I am intrigued by 3D printing and laser cutters, but I haven’t learned enough about them yet to figure out how I can use them in my practice. One day, but I am not in a rush, I am having too much fun already.

John Isiah Walton IG: @john_isiah_viii_duragsaga2

What first inspired you to create art? At first it was that my older brother was good at drawing, then in high school some of my classmates were good at drawing. When I got to Delgado Community College, I found out I was naturally gifted at painting. My new urges stem from knowing I have the opportunity to say what I want in any style I feel comfortable and from learning how to create some of my own personal visual language for any surface I work on.

Vaughn Davis, Jr. St. Louis resident Vaughn Davis, Jr. characterizes his artworks as forms of circumstance, being each object is a documentation of its making, an embodiment of time, space and emotion created by the artist himself. Vaughn Davis, Jr. received his BFA with Departmental Honors in Sculpture from Webster University in St. Louis. His work has been exhibited at Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO, Malin Gallery, New York, NY, The Luminary St. Louis, MO, Gazebo Gallery, Kent, OH; among others. He has been invited to participate in the Curated Storefront, Akron OH as part of the Front International: Cleveland Triennial For Contemporary Art. . What new trends in art do you find intriguing? I love how artists are creating installations. Although multimedia experiences have been created, I’ve enjoyed the emphasis on the visual sensory experiences I have seen now. I love the installations of Dineo Seshee Bopape. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? I think my artistic journey is leading me to express myself in a way that allows me to speak to the world through art. To me that is the poetry in my practice that guides my hand through each work. (Below): AMFA Dir. of Community Engagement Chris Revelle leads a Q+A with filmmaker Chris Dellaplace and artists John Isiah Walton, Vaughn Davis, Jr. and Renata Cassiano Alvarez following a screening of Delta Voices. (Photo by Kody Ford)

A lifelong native of New Orleans, John Isiah Walton is a painter primarily working in oil and acrylics. Walton received an AA degree in 2012 from Delgado College, New Orleans. He has been a member of Second Story Gallery (2012-13) and The Front, New Orleans (2014-2017) and Level Artist Collective (2015-Present). He has lectured about his work to the graduate program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his work was donated to the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art. His work can be found at the Jonathan Ferrera Gallery and the Gryder Gallery, both in New Orleans.


WTF is an NFT? Art by Tiko - IG: @tikodev

One of the most polarizing movements in art recently, NFTs have been embraced by some and condemned by others. But what exactly are they, and where could they go next? WORDS / KODY FORD


ew art movements have been more polarizing than the rise of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). The much maligned and much “memed” digital good has been criticized as a waste of money for something you can “right click and save” and praised by others as a savior for digital artists and creators. But for most people, the question remains–-WTF is an NFT?

spreadsheet that is automatically updated. You have viewer, not editor, capabilities, so you can hop on and watch if your life is that uneventful. So, all of this tech stuff led to a new asset class. You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin (BTC)–perhaps you blame it and Joe Rogan for the rise of the Anthropocene. If not, jump on ahead. If so, here’s a quick primer so you can at least explain why you hate BTC so much. Bitcoin launched in 2008 as a reaction to the global financial crisis. It was designed to be a decentralized currency, un-reliant on central banks like the Federal Reserve. Bitcoin was quickly embraced by sects of early adopters such as libertarians, drug dealers and libertarian drug dealers. However, over the last decade, it has grown into its own asset class, serving more as a store of value than a daily currency.

According to Investopedia, NFTs “are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other.” They serve as proof of ownership listed publicly on the blockchain. It does not always guarantee someone intellectual property rights. NFTs can be sold or traded on a blockchain, much like cryptocurrencies; however, no two NFTs are identical or “fungible” like crypto. If you’re still confused, you’re not alone. There’s a lot to unpack and define in this new Bitcoin is run by a decentralized group of computdigital frontier. So, let’s jump back a bit… ers owned by “miners.” They are scattered around the world. It uses a Proof of Work system to mainFirst, we have to define a blockchain. Dictionary. tain security. To simplify it, all of these computers com defines a blockchain as “a system in which a run algorithms to compete for who gets to create record of transactions made in bitcoin or another the next block on the blockchain. The winner gets cryptocurrency is maintained across several com- rewarded with BTC. So, essentially they are mining puters that are linked in a peer-to-peer network.” for digital gold. The POS system does use a lot So basically, the blockchain is a peer-to-peer of energy to maintain security, although the exact ledger system maintained by many worldwide amount is open to intense debate. Many arguments computers running the same program to ensure are made about energy usage–most of which never security. (I know, I know…we’ll get to the fun compare it with other financial institutions or even stuff in a minute.) Each block has a cryptograph- the day-to-day use of streaming services or social ic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and media. But typically, the energy usage argument transaction data. Blockchains are publicly view- is comparing BTC to developing countries, often able and immutable online ledgers. While this is lands ravaged by institutions such as the World over-simplistic, think of it like a shared Google Bank and the International Monetary Fund. All of

this is to say Bitcoin and NFTs are two completely dif- Over the last few years, ferent things. But BTC did play a role in the develop- NFT projects such as Crypment of NFTs by popularizing the use of blockchain. to Kitties–collectible cat characters–CryptoPunks, In 2013, a young Bitcoin enthusiast and programmer and the Bored Ape Yacht named Vitalik Buterin conceived the idea of Ethere- Club (BAYC) gained popum (ETH) in a white paper. While Bitcoin was primar- ularity among niche auily a method of exchange like a currency, Ethereum diences in the crypto was conceived as a network to build decentralized community. The prices applications—a way to go beyond the monetary remained relatively low. confines of BTC–and bring real-world assets such as Some projects were given stocks or property onto the blockchain through the away, although the secuse of code called smart contracts which are written ondary market would eveninto the blocks. Buterin and other programmers de- tually explode for early NFTs. veloped the idea, which launched in 2015. Ethereum was organized as a non-profit entity, which would Marketplaces like Open Sea became an eBay help grow the ecosystem but not directly control it. for NFTs and companies like ArtBlocks, in Marfa, Texas, became the new tastemakers with generThere are certainly downsides to Ethereum. It is a ative artworks like the aptly named “Squiggles” pay-to-play ecosystem run by “gas” fees (a.k.a. sold for thousands, if not millions. During the NFT gwei) that users pay in ETH every time they utilize boom of 2021-22, celebrities often purchased it. Much like BTC, the value of ETH is highly volatile. these early pieces of NFT artwork. While spendThe Ethereum gas fees are based on a surge pricing ing an obscene amount on derivative artwork model like Uber on steroids which does suck, but might seem asinine, have you ever seen a Rothko at least it’s not ad-driven. How often have you said painting? You won’t find them in the bargain bin. something random like “I’m full as a tick,” and Instagram gave you ads for Frontline five minutes later? So, there are some downsides to all of this. Sure, financial speculation can make you lose your butt, Ethereum’s success has led to the development but we won’t go into that here. This is not a place of countless similar blockchains, such as Sola- for financial advice. As previously stated, NFTs na, Cardano and Avalanche. These blockchains are smart contracts–just code in a blockchain. and their ecosystems have been dubbed “Web3” The artwork associated with it is typically kept on by programmers. Web1 was the websites of the standard servers and linked to the smart contract. ‘90s, like Yahoo and AOL. Web2 was the rise of (Decentralized alternatives to corporate cloud social media like Facebook and Twitter. Now, storage are currently taking shape.) You can hold Web3 is the latest Internet iteration and provides and view NFTs in crypto wallets such as MetaMask. a more decentralized and democratized approach. However, digital assets are hackable. Every week there are new cases of hacks in the NFT and crypUntil Sept. 15, 2022, Ethereum ran as a Proof of to space. Holders of BAYC NFTs actually owned Work system like Bitcoin, trading high energy us- the IP rights to their characters…as long as they age for enhanced decentralized security. On that held that character. Actor and writer Seth Green date, it officially switched to a Proof of Stake sys- was developing an animated project around his tem. Rather than spending another 600 words on Bored Apes when he was hacked and had four what that means, let’s just say it cut the energy NFTs stolen, preventing him from continuing usage of the Ethereum ecosystem by 95 percent. with the project until he paid a $260,000 ransom. If you haven’t closed the magazine by this point, congratulations. We aren’t giving prices, but it’s still impressive because this stuff is tedious. Now that you’ve got the background, we can get around to answering the question–WTF is an NFT?!!

Other downsides include displaying the NFTs. Most celebrity NFT enthusiasts didn’t go as far down the rabbit hole as Green, opting to just flex on Twitter by making their six-figure jpeg their profile pic. However, companies are working to create digital frames that link to wallets so the works, either static or dySince its inception, Ethereum has led to the rise of namic, can be displayed publicly and conveniently. blockchain gaming, Defi loans and other use cases. In 2014, Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash created But what about the upsides to NFTs? For years, the first NFT, “Quantum,” which was a video clip digital artists sat back and watched as their work by McCoy’s wife, Jennifer. McCoy registered the was ignored by the traditional art community. Why clip on the Namecoin blockchain. McCoy sold the purchase something that can only be seen on a NFT to Dash during NYC’s Seven on Seven confer- computer or TV? You don’t make it far at the art ence. McCoy and Dash referred to the new tech- fair or the gallery without at least selling prints. nology as “monetized graphics”--the term NFT NFTs allowed digital artists to disrupt the biased didn’t catch on until they later became popular in systems of the traditional art world. Also, smart the Ethereum ecosystem. The process of creating an contracts have enabled artists to receive royalNFT is called “minting.” This puts the data on the ties every time a work is resold on the secondary blockchain and allows one to hold or sell an NFT. market, automatically depositing the native tokens of the blockchain in the artist’s crypto wallet.


NWA artist Tiko (IG: @ tikodev) has embraced the NFT space by selling his own works and collaborating with other artists. He said, “NFTs are a new avenue for artists to collaborate and reap the benefits of a system made specifically for that purpose. I’m able to make a sale and watch those earnings grow, as well as support other artists with those earnings without the typical obstacles of banking or payment apps.”

reap the benefits of being an NFT holder as well. Web3 entrepreneur Joe Payne launched The Society of the Hourglass. In this new collaborative storytelling universe people can mint their unique character and then develop a backstory for it on the Society’s Discord page, which serves as a writer’s room for character development and storylines. The world-building is also paying off in the real world, as the group has hired a writer and illustrator to create a children’s book for the IP. They are even in Even traditional artists like the development stage of printgurl (IG: @printgurl) The Bentonville Film Festival Cinematic Center NFT. an animated series through Artwork by Sarah Richardson (IG: @sarahscript) and Matthew Castellano a partnership with Jump(IG: @matthewcastellanoart) have their work for sale cut media. The writer’s room has voted on on Open Sea. Given the eight-bit vibe of printgurl’s 2D work, it seems like a natural fit for NFTs. She has the creatives involved in these endeavors. even animated some pieces for the digital space. NFTs are also being embraced by Arkansas organizations like the Bentonville Film Festival, which launched a membership NFT earlier this year with The Cinematic Center NFT designed by Little Rock artist Sarah Richardson. Holders get access to exclusive BFF events in the future. Writers can

We could write another 10,000 words about the thrilling and ridiculous events in the NFT space. Web3 is a new frontier for creatives. It has a lot of potential for good and bad. In future issues, we will dig deeper at Arkansas creatives working in the Web3 space in our new ongoing series– WTF is an NFT? Hopefully, you have a basic understanding. If not, there’s always time to learn.






Hot Springs Sculpture, Paintings, Bronze, + Clay 52 Years Active What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? Anything moving, interesting or unique drives me. At the start, it was spirituality, but I always sought inspiration in daily life. For example, if I were to see an old lady working: I see the wrinkles on her face that tell me she is a hard worker, but I also see a flower in her hair that shows me her beauty. This kind of combination would be unique to me. And over the years, the same inspirations are what drive my creative process. At what point did you know you were an artist? You’re born with it. In my early life, it started with my brother, and we started to sketch around the park. And now I’m 68 years old and still, the first thing in the morning, I think about art. The day I don’t accomplish anything, I feel like I’ve wasted the day. I always have my sketchbook on me, and when I don’t, I have my camera or phone. I have never had another job other than being an artist. Everything I’ve ever done has been related to art.

Photo by Jeremy Rodgers

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? My training is as a sculptor, and sculpture takes a long time. Sometimes it takes me a year to finish it. But painting just takes one day or one week. So I use painting as my relaxation. To me, sculpture is a different language than painting. Sculpture is only one thing, so you think about that. It’s very compressed, and it needs a lot of detail. You can put a lot of meaning into the sculpture. To me, it’s more weight and more power than the painting I create. In the painting, you think of more shadow and color. You see the shapes and see the color. How do you feel about the demands of social media and self-promotion to thrive as an artist today? I know several artists that are very good at self-promoting. The way they dress, the way they talk, and of course, their personality. Some people dress in black suits and keep long beards. That’s just not me. I hope somebody can support me like this article will do. Any exposure is good. And when my work is showcased in museums, like it has recently been in the Historical Arkansas Museum or Mid-America Science Museum. In Chinese culture, you never say “me, me, me.” In Chinese culture, you try to be very low-key.

BRISEIDA OCHOA a.k.a. “BRIOCHE” Bentonville Visual Artist 10 Years Active IG: @Brioch17 What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges?

From a young age, when I found a technique to freely express my surroundings utilizing various materials or scales, I was encouraged to continue creating. These urges have now motivated me to investigate innovative, unique and alternative approaches that more effectively communicate my ideas. At what point did you know you were an artist? When I agreed, it offered me a special opportunity

JESSICA DEBARI Fayetteville Oil + Acrylic 25 Years Active

What does your creative routine look like? How do you maintain this schedule along with other life priorities? Most of my portraits come out of conversations around a mutual interest in talking more, so they come to me rather than out of a forced schedule. I did spend 10-plus years of my life painting or drawing every day in order to get to a place of comfort with myself and my abilities to be able to choose when to paint.

to express my viewpoint via my works of art. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I like to work and explore different media. What I like about each medium that I have adopted for my work has been the exploration of each of its processes, the versatility, and how each technique can encapsulate what I’m trying to convey in my work. How would you define 2022 in art? I believe it is the outcome of the 2020 pandemic’s self-exploration, which gave emerging artists the chance to hone their skills and encouraged them to continue exploring new artistic directions.

How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? While in DC and New York, I did support myself with mural work and decorative work. Now, in Fayetteville, I work as the Director of Creative Spaces at Mount Sequoyah, and my artwork is more of a side job; however, my day job does allow me to make great creative connections. I am hopeful that I can influence the arts ecosystem from this position and help the population of Northwest Arkansas see the value in paying for art. I would love to see a collecting culture grow here in a way I experienced it in DC and NYC.



Bentonville Installation Art + Projection Mapping 20 Years Active IG: @rum+wolf + @pop_av At what point did you know you were an artist? I was afraid to say the word out loud for almost 20 years. You know, because of the fraud thing we all get. But I knew I was an artist forever. It’s funny; I used to think, “I’ll grow out of this in a few years.” But I never did. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I love every single medium. It’s true. Every medium is a tool to tell whatever story you’re trying to tell or whatever point you’re trying to make. It’s why I love art installations. You can use whatever you want to use. Filmmaking, sculpting, sound design, performance. A lot of

folks know me for working in projection. I love projection and video because the possibilities are limitless. With a projector and a digital video image, I can make anything. You can do that. I’m painting too, but I have an undo button. Besides, I paint too. And I project on that as well. There’s no rules. How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? This is something I’ve thought about a lot. I recommend a book called Daily Rituals by Mason Curry. I have been more fortunate than many artists, especially in the last two years, as I have been able to support myself largely through creative endeavors. This means I don’t have a side job, so I can develop routines that are entirely focused on the act of creation. I could spend hours and thousands of words describing my current and always working theories on the act of creation and the role of rituals, routines and daily do’s and don’t’s. But I won’t do that here. It’s much to talk about, and I’m so long-winded.

How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? To date, this is my greatest and most worthy accomplishment. This is the question that plagues the restless and creative mind. How do I support myself doing what I want to do? How do I turn my thoughts, feelings, desires, imaginations, fears, etcetera … into money? Fellow artists, I have been to the other side, and I know what it looks like to live what David Lynch calls the Art Life. How you make it happen is unique to the individual artist. The details of exactly how I did it probably isn’t that useful to someone else. I believe there is a secret ingredient to achieving this magic trick. It’s tenacity and patience. Everybody always quits. The trick is to be the person that keeps making art and putting it out there even when you think no one is paying attention. Eventually, you’ll have a body of work. Then people start taking you seriously. Because of all the work you’ve done, I mean.


Fayetteville Photography 40 Years Active JayMcDonaldPhotography. com jaymcdonald1112@gmail. com Representation: Art Ventures NWA What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? What drove me? Couldn’t help it. Always trying to visualize produce art. My drive is still there just more focused and refined. The advent of Digital media and was a huge sea change. I struggled off and on with the dark room because of the chemicals and the process. I never could maintain the per-

CORRINNIA BRIGGS Fayetteville Digital Art + Watercolor, Oils + Acrylics Active since age 7 What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? My maternal grandmother was a great influence on all things artistic. She was an artist and a practicing psychic medium. She led me to reading, learning, questioning and how important it is to create your own story and space to thrive. I’m now driven by other artists’ work, music, books, antiquing and interesting old photos that spark that never-ending story in my head.

severance. Digital photography rekindled my focus and fire. At what point did you know you were an artist? I always felt I was an artist. Through music initially and then photography. As a child I had an urge to look at art. I always was enchanted by the feelings and ideations that visual art provoked. What new trends in art interest you? The new trends in photography are the post capture creative experience that digital technology provides. I am beginning to visualize the use of motion, super imposition and media manipulation in the various visual processing softwares. I think the photographers palette is accelerating with technology and hope to dive in and capitalize on these new techniques.

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? Digital is such a wonderful medium - I love the variety and how it has become intuitive to use those tools. Digital goes with my right brain. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? I ran a graphic design/advertising agency in the Downtown Fayetteville Square for 30+ years. It kept my creative juices flowing. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? Artfulness is such an everyday part of my life. I never feel like it’s leading me - it just is.


ANGIE GOMEZ Rogers Mixed media 3 Years active IG: @angiegomez_art

Representation: The Gallery on 6th, Fenix Arts Gallery, Artists of Northwest Arkansas What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? I began creating at a young age to try to convey my natural curiosity and unique view of the world. Creating art was an outlet for my overactive imagination. I am absolutely still driven by the same urge to communicate my mind’s eye and open a window into wonderment. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one?

I love to paint and sculpt. I am working now with a variety of new materials that allow me to blur the lines between 2D and 3D art. I often incorporate fabrics and thread into my paintings. Currently, I am using molding wire mesh sculptures to make my canvas seem to float and wave in the wind. I love to experiment and explore new mediums. I began with watercolors years ago and still have a love for watercolor painting. I typically create several watercolors each year. How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? I create almost daily. I do have a family, including two children. I often sit at the table in the evenings with my family and paint while everyone is gathered together. I strive to have a healthy amount of family time and not allow my art to isolate me if I can help it.


El Dorado Collage + Mixed Media + Cosmetology 50 years active IG: @artiegraux What first drove you to create art? I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love art. I grew up with quilters; the colorful quilt tops were my first memory of mixed colors and shapes. My first hobby was cutting paper dolls from catalogs, along with the furniture, rugs and accessories. I just loved cutting paper and gluing it down. I’m an Artistic recycler, playing with paints, markers and magazines — with The Idle Class being one of my favorites. Upcycling ephemera, junk mail fodder that I acquire daily, as well as Collage Glue books

and junky art journals. I’ve used different forms of art, from hairstyling for over fifty years to my most recent junk art journals. Do you consider yourself an artist? I consider myself a keeper of paper turned into colorful memory pages. Be it ads, candy wrappers or clothing tags. I love to find a way to turn trash into treasure.


Fayetteville Cross-disciplinary Cross Disciplinary with a focus on sculpture, installation, and performance art 10 years active IG: @shelbylynnefleming Representation: The Art Collective Gallery If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I love sculpture as a medium because, as a 3-dimensional object, it becomes unavoidable when you are in the same room as it. Even if you want to ignore it, you must acknowledge it in order to navigate around it. My installation work takes advantage of this concept by creating immersive environments where the viewer’s body is confronted and included in the installations. Their movements and interactions with the installation finish it.


Bentonville Mixed media assemblage, acrylic painting and makeup 25 years active IG: @gussyland If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? Most recently, it’s been assemblage which satisfies my “thrill of the hunt “urges to find unique pieces that inspire me. I might find a single object that, right when I look at it, inspires what the whole piece will look like in my head. I also use recycled junk. Repurposing trash into something beautiful excites me. I’m also a makeup artist professionally, and there is such

Performance art is generally not the first medium that I go to when I am brainstorming a new piece. It usually develops as the piece develops. There is usually a moment when I realize that the piece will not work as a static object, and to fully convey my idea, it needs the body’s direct influence. This is what ultimately led me to begin making wearable sculptures, to have a conversation about the body on the body. I was so humbled to be a part of Interform’s Emerge 3 program and to have my first line, “Gut Feeling,” walk the runway earlier this year at the

Momentary. I have continued this wearable sculpture momentum by exhibiting and partnering with other organizations for shows and photoshoots. For a show at Brightwater, I created a cooking apron that focused on the digestive tract as an overlooked tool in the kitchen. I have also recently partnered with The Transition Closet for a photo shoot with LGBTQ+ models. The shoot was inspired by Lisa Stuart’s quote, “The overall concept of ‘wearing your inside on the outside’ really speaks to me as a trans person who waited many, many years before letting the inside out.”

transformational power in that medium! It can add realism to a movie scene, elevate a fashion designer’s pieces or bring confidence to my clients. In fact, at the start of the pandemic, I turned my brushes on myself and morphed into over a hundred celebrities. I love painting, but it is the most challenging for me. I think I like it for that reason. Murals are my favorite; they completely transform a space. I’ve also recently painted some children’s book illustrations. That was new for me and took a little trial and error. It was so worth It! I’m so happy with the results.

ate late into the evening. Some days I call it my art ADHD, where I work for a short period, go throw in a load of laundry, walk the dogs, come back to it, repeat. It sort of works for me because if I get frustrated, I tend to ruin my work. Walking away and coming back to it fresh helps me be evaluative.

How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? Finding time when I can. Generally, it’s after the kids are in bed. I’m a night owl, and my amazing spouse does plenty of early mornings, so I can cre-



Rogers Transdisciplinary Performance + Installation 20+ years active IG: @artbabyperformance At what point did you know you were an artist? I have always known. It’s just that it took me a long time and lots of experience playing in different art forms to realize this if you know what I mean. The desire to make, to create, has always been at the center of who I am. I have never lacked confidence in my abilities to take on anything creative, whether it was drawing, painting, dancing, making up stories, singing, creating costumes, etc. I spent a long, long time, though, feeling frustrated and deflated, as I wasn’t aware of an outlet or place for the kind of work I want-

ed to do. My younger years and even into my 20s were spent primarily enmeshed in the cultural bubble of evangelical fundamentalism, which tends to foster a particularly narrow view of what makes art. It wasn’t until I really ventured away from this worldview that I began to see the full scope of what art-making can be. Graduate school was particularly exciting for me. How do you create a work that feels personal but still appeals to the general public? I believe that if you are endeavoring to be completely truthful and authentic in your work, this has a much greater chance of connecting to the universal human experience. Like the saying goes, “The most powerful words are not ‘I Love You,’ but ‘Me too.” At the same time, I understand the necessity of knowing your audience. What I am compelled to make and put out there is not appealing to everyone. That is also a way of staying true to

Where is your artistic journey is leading you? Graduate school brought me to NWA from Atlanta, and I am planting roots here. NWA offers a lot of opportunities for artists that I could not find in Atlanta. I apply as much as possible with limited success, though. There is not a residency or organization that caters to artists that require metal fabrication and foundry in the area. I see this as a gap in the market that I can fill. My one-year goal is to finish building my mobile foundry. My five-year goal is to build influence and network to conduct a successful small mobile foundry business, teaching classes and taking on small commissions. My 10-year goal is building a foundry-specific art residency and retreat center for artists and the general public to take workshops.

yourself and your artistic vision. I have always been disappointed when I have tried to appeal to more people by watering down or compromising my original motivation to create. There is a niche out there for everyone, no matter how esoteric or seemingly disconnected. The art that I am drawn to is not everyone’s taste.

MICHAEL LOUIS LeBLANC Fayetteville Cast Metal Sculpture, Participatory + Socially Engaged Art Works 15 years active IG: @crystal_unicorn

At what point did you know you were an artist? I knew I was an artist when I decided that art and the creative sphere would be my trajectory of a lifestyle. I made a conscious decision to dedicate my studies and life to the pursuit of learning new skillsets so I can give voice to that personal motivation of bringing my artistic expression into the 3D form as my contribution to society.


Little Rock Wood sculpture, Painting + Drawing 17 years active IG: @sandraleesell Representation: Justus Fine Art M2 GALLERY If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? Wood sculpture - I find the subtractive process of carving with the chainsaw the most rewarding and effective. It provides immediate gratification qualities. I am extremely pleased to have found a process that uses the actions, tools, concepts and ideas that give me great pleasure. Painting has always provided me with challenges, but I believe that when I began carv-

ing wood sculptures in 2011, my paintings got better. The connection of body movement and thought process has developed much more. Drawing is the base of everything. I capture my thoughts as often as I can. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? When I was around 12 years old, I wanted to be an artist. As I grew older, I realized it would be hard to make a living. So, I joined the Army and completed the twenty-year commitment for a pension. How do you feel about the demands of social media and self-promotion to thrive as an artist today? I find social media quite overwhelming, and as a platform of promotion, it only works if you can function inside it. I am not very good at navigating it; many younger people seem to


Rogers Multi-media Sculpture 5 years active IG: @goopw0rld At what point did you know you were an artist? Well, at first, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Growing up, I felt different from everyone else around me. I noticed that I thought about things differently, dressed differently, acted differently ... but as it ends up, this was my gift. My gift of creativity, passion, and ability to create novel concepts. I am an artist!

do fine. It would be nice to have a dedicated helper that managed the social media aspect.

first time, I was able to connect with everyone around me in a new way, a way that was genuine and special. I wouldn’t give this up for anything. What new trends in art do you find intriguing? Recently I’ve been really fascinated by digital artworks and renderings that people create of their original characters. The effect that they achieve is the most magical mashup of fantasy and realism I’ve ever seen, and the detail that they go into is spectacular. An example of this is @yugxl on Instagram.

When I started sculpting, it was like a new path emerged into my future. I felt like, for the



Cabot Medium Mixed Media + Costume Design 22 years active

IG: @brandewilkersonstudio

Representation: Fenix Arts Fayetteville

How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? Maintaining the work schedule is a habit for me. I try to dedicate 2 days a week to marketing/social media/website listing etc. The other days for creating, unless family duties overrun that, which has happened often these past couple of months.

At what point did you know you were an artist?

How do you feel about the demands of social media and self-promotion to thrive as an artist today?

This has been more recent for me; I would say my early 40s. I have denied that title my whole life because I never felt I fit. Working in the creative communities of fashion and design allowed me to grow creatively. Having the support of the arts community in recent years helped define my skills & find the confidence to share it via different mediums.

Overwhelming. I like the Instagram platform for networking, but the work needed to keep up engagement and learn the new algorithms every few months is exhausting. I have met some amazing artists via Instagram, so I stick with that. I have recently joined TikTok and trying to learn more as I go. I have to pick and choose where I put my social media energy.


10 years old, but I decided to make it a career in High School Education and further refined my area of interest at the University.


Multi-media eartworld Representation: Art Ventures NWA What first drove you to create art and do you still feel a similar urge? I found myself surrounded by many materials I could make art from (Bamboo, tin, paper, plastic, etc.) I am still interested in things around me and how they speak to me about what is happening in our current climate. I will say that I have developed from just making art with things around me to using them to critique the systems of control. At what point did you know you were an artist? I started making art when I was

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I have different reasons for choosing any medium I work with at any given time. 1. The materiality of the medium as it contributes to the concept. 2. Process: I am interested in how the process of making my piece contributes to my concept. 3. Construction: the ability for the material to respond to the piece’s production. How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? As a family man, I try to make a piece every two weeks or month, and with this practice, I can designate some time aside from my work schedule and family matters to work on my pieces.

Self-promotion is exhausting, so I try to intermingle sharing my work along with photos or videos of the creating process. I try to share what I love seeing other artists share. I figure if it’s drawing me in, it will draw others to me, the ones that matter anyway. How would you define 2022 in art? 2022 in art means remapping the world through art: deconstructing sytems of oppression.


Springdale Graphic Design, Illustration + Photography 4 years active IG: @lupe_arra Etsy: pitachips What first drove you to create art and do you still feel a similar urge? Growing up, I initially wanted to become a veterinarian. I was in a tedious medical academy program in high school while also taking art classes on the side. I felt torn between two passions and even considered medical illustration. It wasn’t until the second year of college that I decided to pursue art. Before that, I changed my major four times in one semester


Fayetteville Acrylic on canvas + panel, paper sculpture, watercolor, or mixed media 25 years active IG: @mariottichristinapaint How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? I work as a preschool art teacher at the New School, which frankly takes a great deal of my focus and energy. I’m very committed to truly introducing the children to the principles of art. I do my best to spend weekends and some evenings working on my personal work, but I sometimes find it hard to find the energy after a long day of teaching 80 pre-K children! I find that once I get into the studio

and settled on graphic design. I always had an innate passion for art and to help out animals. At what point did you know you were an artist? I think I knew I was an artist when I was in the first grade. We were required to make a drawing for class, and I drew a scene where my dentist took out my baby molar in Mexico. I remember not feeling any pain and depicted my dentist and I smiling while she was holding the molar. The drawing ended up receiving third place in a visual arts contest. I felt like an artist as I expressed that particular vivid memory in that silly drawing. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? I’ve managed to support myself as an artist by just putting my work out there and trying out new things! I was hesitant to start freelancing and an Etsy

shop at first because they felt like intimidating tasks. Now, they are things I love. I believe it is important to keep a positive attitude and learn from your tiny failures throughout your process.

and begin to work, the energy and excitement for it finds me. What new trends in art do you find intriguing? Kinetic sculpture fascinates me. For instance, the Dutch sculptor Theo Jansen who makes wind-powered “walking” sculptures, endlessly inspires me. I have always had a love for science and engineering running concurrently to my interest in art, and his ability to combine those is frankly mind-blowing. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? I believe it’s more important to focus on the process than on the end result, and I’m letting the process lead me. The doing of the work always leads to good results for me, and I’m always focused on the next work… the next ideas. That is where my joy comes from.



Illustration, Painting, Printmaking, Murals

25+ years active IG: @hurdwiredstudios Representation: Hearne Fine Art Gallery + The Galleries at Library Square What first drove you to create art? I have always been active in the arts, from high school band to being a part of dance groups in my youth. As time went on and I matured, I found that visual arts were my real secret passion and talent. The switch from music to visual arts was born of a need to explore and express my inner journey and thoughts about my community, the world, and my place in it. Are you still driven by the same urges? Yes, I am still very driven to pursue a career in the arts, and I regularly produce new work. It is a reflex now and keeps evolving as I practice daily on my skills and learn to use new techniques and mediums. How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? I have learned to treat being an Artist like the professional skillsbased career that it is. Working on my art is a high priority for me. Family and taking care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually are first. It really has become my main job. I have a daily routine with dedicated time to work at home and in my studio. I put in at least 4 to 10 hours a day practicing, producing and playing. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? I have learned to create my own

opportunities over the years as well as lookout to find new opportunities that I feel will fit best with my skill set. I spend a lot of time talking and networking with other creative people and nurturing good, mutually beneficial collaborative relationships. Because I work so much, I have a lot of art to show and sell at galleries, museum stores and workshops. Sometimes I take on commissions. How do you feel about the demands of social media and self-promotion to thrive as an artist today? I like that more artists these days are making their own way with social media platforms to build

an audience and get new potential clients to see and collect their works without having to solely rely on galleries and museums. It can be very tricky to manage at times, though, because the algorithms have been programmed to promote and reward the people who are most consistent with the most views. Deep in my heart and based on my own experience, I feel that no computer program will ever beat word of mouth, showing up and talking to real people face-toface and interacting with them one-on-one. That’s the real stuff!

SARAH TURNER Bentonville


4 years active IG: @st.bends At what point did you know you were an artist? I have always been driven to make — this is true — but I was a bit of a floater in high school. I knew I loved working with clay and using my hands to sculpt, but high school classwork never captured my full attention. My first step into really believing I was an artist was really making the decision to pursue a degree in fine arts. When I was finally a Freshman at Alfred University attending my Foundations Art Classes, I can remember so many of my class-

mates complaining about the projects and assignments we were tasked with. They saw the assignments as pointless or a waste of time and energy. I, on the other hand, could not have been more excited! I wanted to spend all of my time in the studio. I cared about the research I was doing and the world I was beginning to dive into. I knew I was willing to devote all of my time to this kind of work and that I would feel fulfilled pursuing it for a long, long time. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? Mostly with my sweet 8-5 job! Having a place to refine skills and simply produce is working wonderfully for me. I do take on commissions as well as other larger projects working in the background.

SARAH LASSITER Little Rock Mixed Media Collage + Painting 5 years active IG:

Representation: M2 Gallery What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? When I was drawing as a kid, I remember being motivated by my own improvement. It’s so exciting any time you start to close the gap between your mind’s eye and what you are able to create. The first time I kept something resembling a consistent art practice was around age 13, when I began to fill sketchbooks with abstract doodles. It toed the line between therapy and compulsion, and I loved that feeling of satisfaction when I flipped

through the finished collections. Today it’s pretty similar. The allure of progress continues to energize me. As soon as you get the hang of one thing, you start to see myriad other areas you could improve. That continual challenge keeps me hooked. The act of creation is still exciting and enjoyable, and it’s still gratifying to step back and see bodies of finished work that I’m proud of. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? I see myself spending a few more years developing work independently before either pursuing further education with an MFA or teaching art in Little Rock, maybe somewhere like The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts or Pulaski Technical School. It feels important to continue to spend time honing my own practice before I jump to the next adventure.



Little Rock Alcohol Ink + Modeling Paste 9 years active IG: @Beauty_Art_By_ Shakeelah Representation: ARTSpace On Main If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I do work with multiple mediums; my first love is always going to be the pencil. So graphite and lead are my friends. I love to sketch. It is what I started out doing, and I still find comfort in doing it. Today, acrylic acrylic ion, it

however, I mostly use and alcohol inks. I love because, in my opinis the easiest paint to

work with dries fast, curse, it’s works well

for art projects. It which is a gift and affordable, and it with other mediums.

I love alcohol ink because of the vibrancy of the colors. They are so beautiful to me. Inks are a lot harder to work with because they are not made for all surfaces, but once you get the right technique down, it is worth it. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? I have another career as well. That helps. I also look for sales on the materials I use. When sales happen, I stock up. I am recently getting into festivals and fairs, and lastly, I make sure that this part of my life is placed in my budget. I take my art seriously and invest time and money into it. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? At present, I think it’s leading me

to the next chapter in my life. I think I have made a full circle. I started with art as a main goal in life. I have gone and come back, and I realize now that I love it here and am ready to stay.

EDWARD LOUIS LOVE V a.k.a. EDDIE LOVE Fayetteville Painting 21 years active

Representation: Artist Uprising (Dallas) + Fort Houston (Nashville) At what point did you know you were an artist? This is a complicated answer. And I’m long-winded in my storytelling. Like I said in the previous question, I’ve always been into creating art of some kind, ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I made comic books in middle school, I wrote really terrible action novels and poetry, and I was in an extra-cur-

ricular drafting & design (architecture) class for all three years of high school. I wrote screenplays for a few years. I went full force into music/bands at 19 & really thought that’s what my life was gonna be. But I truly

didn’t understand or realize that anyone can just decide to “be an artist” as a lifestyle/career choice. It took me a really long time to come to terms with the definition: “I’m an artist,” even though I always have been.

ROXY ERICKSON Centerton Acrylic + Oil on Canvas + Murals 15 years active IG: @roxyshmoxy

What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urge? I honestly can’t remember anything specific other than just always feeling like I was a creative person who needed to make things. When I was a kid I think I created art as a way to show off to my peers, once I went to art school I started diving into more compelling reasons for making art. For me art is totally an evolutionary process. My life experiences drive my subject matter so even though I generally stick to similar themes and styles the work changes as I do.

How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? I’m not very strict with my schedule and it tends to change month to month depending on what big jobs I have lined up. Summer is mural season and those jobs are generally planned out several months in advance. Once the season is over I tend to move onto commissions. I have days where I just sit on my computer and reply to emails, apply for grants and painting gigs, etc... Winter is when I am usually the most productive with my personal series since I’m inside more. Having a home studio is extremely helpful for me to maintain both an artistic practice and keep my life in order.

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one?

JOEY CANNON Gravette Installation Art 12 years active IG: @candohardware + @petpopnwa

What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? I was first driven to create worlds I wished existed. Sometimes places that I couldn’t afford to visit. There is an essence of this that still drives me today. On the other hand, though, as I’ve observed families enjoying our installations with their children, I see how great it is to bring people together.

I love to work with wood, given its simplicity. Structures can be built quickly at a relatively low cost. I love that different paints/finishes completely change the feeling of a project. Rubber is great for forming organic/fleshy sculptures. Each project is a bit different, but it’s exciting every time we get to work with a new medium How would you define art in 2022? There seems to be a trend of doing really far-out stuff and not caring who doesn’t like it. So to me, art in 2022 can be defined as individual expression again, rather than homogeneity. I hope this can continue into 2023 as well. .


ly, I started exhibiting my work. Since that moment, I have continued painting whit some interruptions but always looking for the opportunity to be better. At what point did you know you were an artist? I always have enjoyed painting; I simply paint. I never question if I am or not an artist. But in my particular opinion, an artist starts when they start creating original art. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? Well, I love acrylic because it allows you to be fast in your work. Sometimes you have an idea that can’t wait for the drying paint, so at that moment, I use acrylic. On the other hand, I love oil because you can play with the color reflection and the juxtaposition to achieve amazing effects on the view. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you?


Bentonville / Mexico Oil + Acrylic 30 years active IG: @Lulart_nwa Representation: Art Ventures NWA

What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? When I was a kid, my Spanish teacher asked us to make a drawing to illustrate the lecture. I really enjoyed that moment. After, when I was in high school, I had a particular painting teacher who helped me to improve my technic very much. I wanted then to study arts, but my parent didn’t believe in a future as an artist, so I studied to be an Engineer. However, I continued painting by myself, taking seminars and workshops to learn more and more. Final-

By now, I have the art exhibition Goal 14, Water for Life at Art Ventures, but this exhibition will be traveling through different cities in Arkansas. The next place is Little Rock and then Roseville. We want to finish it in Bentonville, but we are already looking for one more venue. I will start a new exhibition that makes me so excited. I will be in a traveling art exhibition with 37 Mexican artists showing our art to all the Mexican Consulates in The United States. It will start this December in California. I am open to all opportunities I want to experiment with. I will have an exhibition with the students of Arkansas Arts Academy (their works) in the school. They will be participating in a project called “Tzompantli,” knowing a little bit about Aztec culture. I created this project to show my culture and history of México. For sure, I will be working on new projects for me and the community.


Rogers Acrylic IG: @davidgomez_art davidgomezpeaceofheart .com Representation: Monat Gallery (Madrid) At what point did you know you were an artist? I have always “wanted” to be an artist. Even after I started art school, I did not feel like an artist. I truly experienced becoming an artist after I had burned all my bridges to a corporate career (no, I did not quit or do something dramatic). I decided that after my last layoff, I would not pursue going back to a corporate job. When my dad and mom came to town to check on me and my family, and I had been pursuing my artwork for a year, and my dad saw my resolve, he said to me, “I think this is what you’re meant to be. I never encouraged you to be an artist because I didn’t know anything about being an

artist, but I now see that you do. Be an artist and be the best.” I was 38 years old. That’s the moment I truly felt like an artist. How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? While I didn’t paint physically during my corporate years, I never stopped painting creatively in my mind. I imagined and imagined and explored ideas that never saw the light of day until now. I feel like my art career has moved very fast, mainly because of all the creativity I did not get to use during those years. Nowadays, I feel like those shelved ideas are resources that I can pull from any given time. How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? Getting busy is the best advice I can give. Participate, submit, enroll — any activity that gets your art out of the studio or storage and shares it with the world gives you an opportunity to make a living as an artist. It usually takes more than one source of revenue.

What new trends in art do you find intriguing?


I’m excited about the artists-run fairs that are popping up. This format positions the artists in direct contact with the public – dealers, collectors and designers, giving the artists more access to the art market.

Little Rock Painting + Sculpture 18 years active IG: @jwhartist Representation: Boswell Mourot Fine Art

I will be participating in the Superfine Art Fair in L.A. this month (October 2022) and plan to attend others in the future.

How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities?

How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? I am fortunate to have gallery representation in two galleries, Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver, Colorado and Boswell Mourot Fine Art in Little Rock, as well as an architecture career.

I have a practice of getting up early in the mornings to work in the studio for 2-3 hours before I start my architecture practice. This allows me time in the studio every day, but it is not easy.



What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges?

that this line of thought runs in the background of my mind even when I am not in the studio. I take time to look through the sketches and notes to develop a concept for a complete piece or a plan to explore a form or surface. Because I teach fulltime, I want to make sure that once I am in the studio, I can focus on making. So, I do my best to keep my thoughts and space organized. I work in the studio in the evenings and on weekends. Summer is always a highly productive season. I can focus larger uninterrupted blocks of my time on making new work.

Like most people, I was looking for a creative outlet. As a teenager, I took art classes, and making resonated with me on a very personal level. I was a quiet, somewhat introverted kid, so visual language and making artwork became my way to communicate. I now see my work as a physical manifestation of thoughts and ideas. I would say the root of the motivation to make art is essentially the same.

How have you managed to support yourself as an artist? Currently, I sell my work at Boswell Mourot Fine Art in Little Rock. I also do commissions and workshops. I did young adult and adult workshops last year at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, and it was a great experience. ASC has beautiful space and great equipment.

Little Rock Ceramics, Painting + Mixed Media 25 years active

IG: @yelenapeeetroukhina

Representation: Boswell Mourot Fine Art

SHELLEY MOUBER Fayetteville Mixed Media 25 years active IG: @artistshelleymouber

At what point did you know you were an artist? That was a hard place for me to get to... I have never had

How do you balance your creative routine with other life priorities? I have a sketchbook with me to keep up with ideas. It seems any formal art education, so I had anxieties that I was doing things ‘wrong’. Years of practice and experimentation, great work, awful work, then finally realizing it wasn’t my work. It was all about my process, my journey of healing. What new trends in art do you find intriguing? I am the least tech-savvy per-

son ever. That being said, I love augmented reality art. Of course, my favorite art obsession is interactive art experiences. It reminds me, in a way, of Halloween as a child and going to fun houses. The wonderful difference being that you are surrounded by art. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? I say this often, art saved me. My journey is spontaneous and exciting – I never know what’s next. The only thing I do know, I have to create. I have to advocate for others through my art. Helping others is a necessity, and the platform I use to advocate is my art. It’s leading me.... everywhere.

GRETA KRESSE Little Rock Oil Paint + Ink 7 years active IG:

At what point did you know you were an artist? I think it has always been important to me to call myself an artist first, regardless of the job I held. It kept me focused on my intentions with my career and identity. The first time I really felt confident in my work, though, was after I finished a 7 week art program at the Mt. Gretna School of Art after my sophomore year of college. I had entered the program feeling like I had no identity or perspective as a painter, and through making the worst and best work of my life, I discovered some confidence. I think the best advice I can


Fayetteville Oil, Acrylic, Leather, Metal Studs, Cotton Canvas + Guitars 3 years active What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urges? When I was younger, it was boredom, but now that I’m older, it’s probably still boredom, but with the added need for a break from daily adult responsibilities. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? My favorite is leather, especially leather jackets, because it’s functional art. Wearable art that you can show off anywhere and not leave at home on your wall. Guitars are a close second because of the same reason. The

give to young artists is to make a lot of work without being precious. I fought for that trust in myself and my work. If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? Oil paint feels conducive to a longer conversation with my subject. I love that I can make a full painting and come back the next day and scrape the excess paint away, destroying the painting but leaving something compelling to work back into. I can be aggressive with the color and layering while still retaining the luminosity and depth only oil paint has. I like ink for the exact opposite reason. It is permanent and at its most beautiful when I work quickly and confidently. At my best, I am able to utilize what makes both of these mediums work for me.

third is oil. The colors are more vibrant and slow to dry, followed by acrylic if I’m too lazy to wash my hands after using oil plus, acrylic splatters better than oil since it’s not as thick.

rather see a piece hanging on my wall than as my desktop or phone background. To me, art is like thank you notes. Much more meaningful handwritten than typed.

What new trends in art do you find intriguing? I’ve found the VR and immersive art exhibitions/experiences to be very interesting and promising. That’s what I’ve always gone for with my leather jackets. Art should be an experience. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of NFTs and crypto art, but maybe I just don’t know enough about it to appreciate them. In my uninformed opinion, unless a person is a digital artist, I just don’t really see the point. Personally,




ASHLIE NIELSEN Fayetteville Painting + Tattooing 5 years active IG:@ashley.nielsen

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one? I’m a “painter” first and a tattoo artist second, and I’m constantly working on connecting the two and working through the mental disconnect. I love how freeing painting is, how quick I can make something come together, and the room to change things and experiment while making. With tattooing, it’s quite literally the opposite. It’s permanent, and while you can make changes, you definitely have to take time to let the skin heal. I do enjoy that it makes me more conscious about my artistic choices, creating in a way that has a bit more guidelines and connection to skin. How would you define art in 2022? I think everything and everyone is growing at a rate that we’ve never experienced before, I think art now is shedding old academic skins, and the younger gener-

ation of artists is creating art that is accessible, understandable, and more inclusive. I’m not really sure how to define 2022 art, but I think, as a whole, it’s focusing less on materialistic value.


Bella Vista Mixed Media 8 years active IG: @art_of_egodram At what point did you know you were an artist? After I quit art school because they were considering kicking me out anyway, I actually kinda gave up on the idea of making art as a serious career for myself. I’d paint and draw when I was home from work for my own enjoyment, and if someone happened to buy something, then great. This little “hobby” of mine was the norm for a very long time. But, as it tends to go with most people in similar circumstances, Iraq changed everything. That environment tore me

apart and smashed the pieces back into each other in ways I didn’t think were humanly possible and in ways that I still struggle to understand. Upon my return, I started to notice that not only was the noise now tainted somehow but that it had become overwhelmingly “loud” to the point that at peak “volume,” the world around me would cease to exist; leaving just myself and the sketchbook I’d kept tucked under my ACU jacket. Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you? Hopefully, into a bigger studio with better equipment, better lighting, fiber internet, and a wine rack.







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A Special Section Presented Suzannah A Special Sectionby Presented bySchreckhise Suzannah Schreckhise

nwaMASKproject nwaMASKproject



Suzannah Schreckhise is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She earned a Bachelor of Art at the University of the Ozarks.. She has participated in and won awards at numerous state and national exhibitions, including shows at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Topanga Gallery in Los Angeles as well as exhibited at the Ceres Gallery in New York City. She received 1st place at the NEA Big Read Recycled Art Exhibition at the Windgate Gallery at UofA Fort Smith. Her art has been featured in several publications, including the international juried magazine Studio Visit. In 2021, her work toured the state as part of Arkansas state Women to Watch exhibition Paper Routes, curated by Allison Glen for the Arkansas National Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; she was juried onto the committee's artist registry in 2019. She won 1st Place at the RAM 2019 Annual Invitational that was awarded this 2020 solo show and a cash award. Suzannah was awarded the Artist 360 grant in 2020 sponsored by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. She is juried into and selected as a purchase award for the 2023 Small Works On Paper Traveling Exhibition sponsored by Arkansas Arts Council.

Writer Molly Bess Rector Photo of Art by Stephen Ironside Photo of Participants by Andrew Kilgore Design by Kim Seltzer This project is funded by Artist 36O, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance with support from the Walton Family Foundation Thank You to Idle Class

Suzannah Schreckhise T

he NWA Mask

Project is a series of art masks and oral

histories funded by an Artist 3 60 grant from the Mid America Arts Alliance. The sculptures (which also serve as functional masks, plus one quilt) are constructed using materials contributed by the participant it honors in combination with personal items of my own. The masks, made in response to interviews with participants conducted alongside poet Molly Bess Rector, serve as little altars to the person’s story as told through material objects, with my support represented by contributions of items that hold personal significance for me. This body of work exof art, tools, and plvx creating these five works, months to construct and four. This year was a time action, and as I deepboth the participants contributed, I found accommodate a broader beauty, and comfort. serve as a kind of experience being of the people in my

plores the intersections ace. I spent a full year each mask taking two the quilt taking about of both reflection and ened my encounters with and the materials they the project shifting to interpretation of safety, The resulting pieces a visual diary of my changed by the stories community.

This Zine is a small showcase of that diary. To see more photos of the original materials, the people who contributed, and the final pieces, and to read the full story for each piece in this series, and to learn where they are being exhibited: visit


It's unfair how a lot of institutions ask people to move here and say it's

diverse when at the heart that is just shellac.

Seven Ari

Making very challengwas aware of I faced trying a way that wasn’t through my white When I don’t know thing I want to comis just to start and myself as I go. This inthroughout my work ular when I chose to after I had hand sewed faces. I didn't realize until I got finished

Crocheted angora and wool yarn, vintage quilt blocks, silk, wool, cotton fabrics, Sevens #movethemonument t-shirt 40" x 52" x 20" 2022

The story

Seven told is one of experiencing racist abuse and discrimination. this piece was ing for me, as I the limitations to tell her story in completely filtered bias. the answer to somemunicate, my process ask for guidance within tuitive process unfolded on this piece, in particcut up the quilt pieces and crocheted the Santa I was going to do that with each quilt block.

As I cut up work that I had tried my hardest to execute thoughtfully, I was aware I was making a choice, and I thought about the ways Seven’s story was about having no choices about how her community received her activism, and the feelings of powerlessness following what happened to her hard and thoughtful work. I wanted to show my understanding and offer some limited solidarity (realizing it still fell very short) by creating a consistent pattern and then tearing it, cutting it, and stepping on it. This process represented the way the Northwest Arkansas community responded to Seven’s efforts toward equity and justice with #movethemonument and the activities of the Black student union she founded.


A lot of people define themselves by the things that have happened to

them, but I define myself by what I love and who I love.

Bellamy Brooks

To make this mask, I used

Wool crochet yarn, vintage beads, crystals, screen, embroidery and Bellamy’s dress, Marble Base 13" x 23" x 12" 2021

crystals, vintage beads, Mexican charms, and a Japanese figurine from my personal collection. The figurine of a dancer appears in the middle of the hand made flower constructed from scraps of the first dress Bellamy Brooks wore in public. The ballerina figure represents the freedom that comes with true self-expression, and is inspired by Bellamy’s statement that when she wore this dress for the first time, she felt “ joy, childlike energy, glee, bliss, ecstasy, euphoria.” After hearing Bellamy’s story and learning about her advocacy for the trans community, I wanted to make a mask that represented the support and energy required to be authentic in our harsh world. I used the one eye for protection and, for courage, charms representing the heart.


“ My mom did this too, and I came this way: full circle.”

Hand-quilted Cathedral Window mini quilt, screen, embroidery, jade stones, Mexican charms, beads and Rosie’s yarn and birthing shirt 13" x 22" x 11" 2021

Rosie Rose

fabric vintage make a mini layered under from wool and mother made. that is the tank giving birth to her Raven. The cut and shirt is layered over turn wrapped in the izing the generations ence they have on jade from my stone/ Mexican charms and love.

To make Rosie’s mask,

I used a scarf my mother made for me along with some off white from my collection to quilt that is yarn Rosie made a scarf her own Layered on top of top she wore while youngest daughter, macramed birthing the wire, which is in wool and scarf, symbolof women and influeach other. I also used crystal collection and that symbolize family

During our interview, Rosie’s older daughter joined the call and said of Raven, “I’m proud of my sister’s strength,” which I included in beadwork on a miniature pillow. The pain, strength, and interconnectedness it takes to lose a mother, to become a mother, to enter this world, and to love one another are the themes of this mask. It was an honor to be entrusted with making a piece of art that captures three generations of women, and to add my own multigenerational material to represent how each of us is part of this legacy.


It’s easy to love yourself when you’re loved by others.

Zeek Taylor

parties, growing up, To make this crochet, embroial hand sewing. I head to top the mother’s going-out it with beads and jewThe eye the monkey er’s ruby ring.

Screen, crocheted wool and plastic yarns, sequin fabrics, beads and stones, embroidery, as well as ruby ring, feather earrings, and silver/black blouse that belonged to Zeek’s mother.

17" x 22" x 4" 2022

When I thought of making a mask

that represented Zeek Taylor, I thought of fun, mardi gras tales of and monkeys. mask, I used dery and traditioncreated a monkey mask out of Zeek’s blouse and encrusted els from my collection. holds open is his moth-

For the lower part of the mask, I used sequin fabric from a blouse I wore to parties when I was younger, which I embroidered with the pattern of linoleum that was on the floor of Zeek’s mother’s Beauty shop, where she taught him to dance. I was so touched by the way Zeek described his mother: how she incorporated her beauty business into their family, the consistency of uniforms she wore everyday to work, that when she got dressed up to go dancing with Zeeks’ dad, “she looked like a princess.” This mask speaks to the love and support Zeek felt from his mother and the fun and security he had in his home.


it was important to her that David was surrounded by the things that

he loved when he died.



Silk and cotton fabrics hand sewn around cotton rope, and mother of pearl beads (from Mary's friend David Locklas). Pocket squares and scarfs, cigarette case 16" x 25" x 5" 2022

This mask held personal resonance

for me, as it honored two friends from college, David Lochala, who died in 2018, and Mary Zunick, who supported David through the end of his life and contributed pocket squares, silk scarves, and a fancy cigarette case that had belonged to him. I combined the items Mary gave me with silk fabrics and mother of pearl beads of my own. David was a performer — a musician — and I remember him as always being sharply dressed. In making this mask, I wanted to be able to use and show all the colors of the pocket squares and scarves Mary contributed, as I felt they spoke to David’s creativity and vitality, so I hand wound the fabric around rope and hand sewed them together on the back. The cigarette case that is the base and foundation of the piece was influenced by the theatrical masks. In her writing for this project, Mary stated that it was important to her that David was surrounded by the things that he loved when he died. The mask communicates the power fabric items have to make us feel secure and loved. security he had in his home.


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Ji Won Choi, Red Jogakbo Dress (detail), Antecedence Collection, Spring/Summer 2021, recycled cotton. Lent by the brand.