When asked whether she'd rather continue performing or move into more traditional exhibition, Roschi is quick to confirm her status as a lifelong performer. "There's an immediacy to it," she says. "[Performance art] gives people another way to go out and engage, rather than watching TV or a movie." Even if it means giving out free hand massages and letting strangers leave kiss marks on her clothes, Roschi is determined to get Phoenicians to turn off American Idol and tune into local talent instead — a fact that doesn't go unappreciated. — Wynter Holden


VISUAL ARTS

Peter Bugg
www.peterbugg.com
Last October, Peter Bugg went to a wedding in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. "People were asking me, 'How do you like Phoenix?'" he says. "And I was still like, 'I don't love it there.'"

But by winter, Bugg had changed his mind. "I started looking around and realized how much of an impact Phoenix had on my art."

Phoenix has benefited from Bugg's art, as well. A series of high-profile shows about our obsession with pop culture and tabloid news (most notably "Paper or Plastic," which offered mash-ups of celeb magazine covers, and "World Exclusive!" about the graphic tease of tabloid headlines) merged the 29-year-old artist's interest in photography and his observation that most of the information we get about Hollywood comes from pictures, rather than from text. It's an insight that drives Bugg's work, an insight he honed while still an art student at ASU.

"Living here has really informed my work," Bugg says. "Before I moved here, I was taking photographs of my family and my friends, but then I got here and I didn't have any family or friends to photograph." After a recent internship at a paparazzi photo agency in Los Angeles, Bugg returned to Tempe determined to apply his new insider's perspective to art. "It forced me to really think about what I wanted to do. And what I really wanted to do was make art about my passion for pop culture."

That passion has resulted in an exhibit at last year's Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of Art, and an attention-grabbing show about the wicked life of Britney Spears (invitations to the opening were glued to empty prescription drug bottles). With his most recent show, Bugg stepped away from using other people's celebrity photos and turned his own lens on his audience: In Unseen Footage, Bugg sicced a group of motion-activated surveillance cameras on eye lounge visitors who came to see the exhibit.

"I still don't love the hot weather here," Bugg says. "But Phoenix is an amazing place." It's the perfect place for a visual artist, Bugg says, because it offers a more immediate audience. "I actually meet other artists here all the time, which leads to conversations about art and opportunities for collaboration. That's not something you get in, you know, New York or L.A.

"Artist friends of mine complain about living and working in New York City," says Bugg, who just graduated from ASU with a master's in visual art. "Because out there the attitude about artists is, 'Oh, great, another one of you.' But out here it's, 'Oh, you do art? Cool! We should hang out!'" — Robrt L. Pela


Spencer Hibert
www.spencerhibert.com
At the tender age of 30, Spencer Hibert has already made art for the masses. Literally.

Inspired by video games and "pop psychedelic" art, Hibert's got a background in painting, but a few years ago, he decided he wanted to sculpt.

More specifically, he wanted to make characters like his own personal creation, the Miigii (pronounced mee-gee, with a hard "g" — you can read more at www.miigiiland.com) out of molds and resin. So he got himself a job at a mold supply company in town and learned how. Part of the appeal: "I can take a really, really long time on a piece and then present it in a bunch of different mediums."

His hand-cast Miigiis — whether they're opaque, semi-opaque, or clear — stand about six inches tall. You can see one on the cover of this week's issue. We've customized it, and Hibert invites anyone with so much as a Sharpie to do the same. He sells them with a sticker sheet of cartoon features, sort of Mr. Potato Head meets Slime.

You can buy Miigiis around town (more on that in a minute), but that wasn't enough for Hibert. He found a local vending machine company and sold the owner on the idea of making a smaller, 50-cent version of the MiiGii to be sold in machines alongside fake mustaches and gumballs.

With a minimum required order of 300,000, the vending machine company must have taken this guy seriously, because Hibert was asked to make a prototype to be sent to China. He didn't actually get to go to China to make the mold himself, so the thing went back and forth for a while.

"They forgot the butt crack at first. It was all over the place," he says.

Eventually they got it right, and today you can find the mini Miigiis everywhere. Hibert's next vending machine project is even more ambitious. One element: He's asking 10 illustrators from around the world to design sticker faces.

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3 comments
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Terra
Terra

Ewww, the last comment did not like my punctuation. I am sorry if it is difficult to read. But I hope it still makes the point and can be taken in a constructive manner. Thank you!

Terra
Terra

I found the article about "Robert Kilman and Safwat Saleem" to be incredibly insulting. As an active member of the local film community, I had never heard of these two before the Big Brain nominations. I came to NewTimes expecting to learn something more about them, and their up-and-coming talents.

Instead, I read nothing but insults towards our city. I have traveled across the country, but in Phoenix found a WONDERFULLY talented and visionary community. So I have to ask, “Kilman, are you kidding me?” Have you been to a recent A3F screening? (If not, many of the films can be found online now.) Have you ever watched the Media Guys? SyntheticHuman Pictures? N'Raged? Junk Draw? They all make incredibly good films, not to mention the films by your fellow nominee from Squishy Studios. And if comedy isn’t your style? You'll find no lack of drama, horror, action or suspense here. "Leashed" is the name of one short I really enjoyed, but I don't recall who made it.

If you want to “improve the standard of creativity in… local filmmaking”, let me give you some sincere advice:

First, find out what that standard already is. Sure, there's dozens of amateur films for each one that is note-worthy. But every filmmaker has to start somewhere, and I believe in encouraging the students & beginners. I don’t use them to set the standard when organizing a competition, however.

Second, leave your over-inflated ego in LA, and start networking here. We are a young, but rapidly growing city. It has been said that Phoenix will be the "Next Hollywood" and for good reason. Let’s work together and make that happen (without the pollution and corporate crap please. Indie ftw!)

All filming aside, we have a vast and wide-spread variety of artistic attractions. Have you visited The Lost Leaf? Been to many First Friday events? I can't list everything going on in this city. It's literally an everyday, ongoing, kaleidoscope of creativity.

Congrats on your nomination! But as you continue improving your art and gaining recognition, please remember - before YOU question "whether or not Phoenix is attractive to creative types." You should realize we are already here.

Nicholas DiBiase
Nicholas DiBiase

With all due respect to Atherton and Keener, Dudlik takes this one by a mile. That little whippersnapper has reanimated th' mummy of Phoenix functional and aesthetic design culture. What one year ago seemed like a battlefield populated by a scattering of wounded ronin now feels like an unstoppable polycerebral juggernaut of radness. Kind of like "Oogy Boogy" from "Nightmare Before Christmas."

 
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