Mesa Painter Xandriss on Why Every Artist Needs Persistence, Confidence

Meet Mesa artist Xandriss.EXPAND
Meet Mesa artist Xandriss.
Bruce Cormier

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 11. Xandriss.

"I’m very independent, take nothing for granted, and believe anything short of my best effort isn’t worth doing," says Xandriss, the one-name artist whose creative approach is rooted in her Mesa upbringing. 

She grew up the youngest of seven kids as part of what she describes as a poor, Southern Baptist family in the East Valley suburb. Though her parents struggled, they worked hard, she recalls, and wasted nothing. "That has always had such an impact on my own attitude and work ethic," the 38-year-old says. 

It's no exaggeration. The artist applies for all the opportunities she can handle — and doesn't let rejections hinder her creativity. "I’ve been passed over more times than accepted, but persistence and confidence to keep sharing my art is key," she says. "I’m thankful to have been in lot of great shows with many other talented local artists over the years."

Still based in Mesa, now with her own four kids and husband, Xandriss creates acrylic paintings distinctive for their "use [of] a single continuous line to make up or fill in an object or whole scene." The line twists, turns, and sometimes changes in color and thickness. But it never crosses over itself. 

Perhaps most notably, she created such a mural of the Superstition Mountains for the sixth edition of IN FLUX, a public art program that sees temporary works installed around the Valley. Xandriss' piece, titled Waltzing in the Superstitions, is on view at Scottsdale's Marshall Square through December 2016. 

"Everything about that project was so big, exciting, and taught me so much," she says. "It’s given me a lot of joy to have that work seen by so many and to be told of the influence it has on them to do big and difficult things."

The experience had her eager to take on more mural projects, and she's already preparing for another. This time, it'll be on an apartment complex near downtown Mesa and bring together community participants, though the artist will design, direct, and complete the work. 

Xandriss also will show a painting at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in October, during its annual "10 x 10" benefit show — and she's hard at work on the board of directors of the Millet House Gallery, also in Mesa. "We are about to start working to put together our next themed group show scheduled to be in November," the artist says.

As her schedule picks up, however, she's careful not to lose track of the dedication that's got her this far. 

"I push myself to the edge of my ability with each work," Xandriss says. "I appreciate when it is hard and keep going because it’s during the struggle that growth occurs. I use every experience to learn and build on. I am happy and fortunate to have a growing audience."

Waltzing in the Superstitions by the latest creative: Xandriss.
Waltzing in the Superstitions by the latest creative: Xandriss.
Xandriss

I came to Phoenix with a fresh perspective and yearning for life. I was born here.

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I make art because it’s as natural and necessary to me as eating a good meal. It’s exciting to watch a blank canvas transform into an image I love. It’s empowering to know that every bit of it from idea to finishing paint strokes is wholly from my own mind and hands. I feel more connected to myself and my own creator when I’m making my art.

I’m most productive when my house is quiet. When my older kids are in school and my husband and youngest aren’t awake yet for the day. I’m able to relax, go inward, and focus on planning and projects when I don’t have distractions. I crave and thrive in solitude.

My inspiration wall is full of... I don’t have one of those, but I do see the merits of it, as a visual person. I’m also a forgetful person, so I write everything down if I consider it important. I am always taking notes and have a tack board and notebooks filled with them. Sometimes I say to others that "the brain forgets, but pen and paper never do."

I’ve learned most from reading articles and studying about every aspect of things I’m interested in. I know that everything I want to do better has already been mastered and written about by someone else. I take full advantage of that and am always seeking to take in that knowledge.

Good artwork has something to say and is produced with skill, labor, and heart. It’s personal and comes from its creator’s soul and voice. It’s a visual expression uniquely theirs, much the same as their literal voice, ideas and words. It not only has something to say, but something interesting. It holds the viewer’s gaze, engages and connects with them. It speaks to the eyes and mind of the individual and if they are stirred, a silent conversation occurs. Good art makes a person think and feel something.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more full-time galleries where art collectors and enthusiasts can go any regular day without an appointment and see and buy art — and confidence in itself and recognition on a regional and national scale.

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
52. Gabriela Muñoz
51. ColorOrgy
50. Liz Magura
49. Anita and Sam Means
48. Liz Ann Hewett
47. Tiffany Fairall
46. Vanessa Davidson
45. Michelle Dock
44. Nia Witherspoon
43. Monique Sandoval
42. Nayon Iovino
41. Daniel Davisson
40. Andrew King
39. Michelle Moyer
38. Jimmy Nguyen
37. Tiffany Lopez
36. Kristin Bauer
35. Donna Isaac
34. Douglas Miles
33. Sierra Joy
32. Francisco Flores
31. Amy Robinson
30. Julio Cesar Morales
29. Duane Daniels
28. Kelsey Pinckney
27. Ben Smith
26. Rembrandt Quiballo
25. Corinne Geertsen
24. Tess Mosko Scherer
23. Slawomir Wozniak
22. Elly Finzer
21. Josh Brizuela
20. Amy K. Nichols
19. Angela Johnson
18. Grant Vetter
17. Michelle and Melanie Craven
16. Erick Biez
15. Leah Marche
14. Lisa Von Hoffner
13. Amada Cruz
12. Amber Robins

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