100 Creatives

98: Carol Panaro-Smith

As the artsy sibling of our fellow Phoenix New Times blogs, we run into some of the coolest and most talented folks in town. While Chow Bella brings you "100 Favorite Dishes," in honor of Best of Phoenix -- which is just a summer away, expect it on news stands and computer screens near you September 30 -- Jackalope Ranch proudly presents "100 Creatives."

The Creatives are the cultured superheroes -- and heroines -- of metropolitan Phoenix. Have a suggestion for someone you'd like to see? Leave it in the comment section. Maybe we'll convince your favorite Creative to do a fly-by with us.

98: Carol Panaro-Smith

Panaro-Smith has been a visual artist and educator in the Valley since 1978.
She teaches Alternative Photographic Processes and Mixed Media at Scottsdale Community College and Arizona State University.

She teaches workshops nationally and at Alchemy Studio (she's founder and director) in Phoenix. She also is co-founder of a.ware with Julie Hampton, a D.I.Y. endeavor. Her own work along with collaborative work with partner James Hajicek has been internationally recognized and collected. She has a blog called It Is and It Isn't.

What's on your Inspiration Wall, real or imagined?

1. A list of Italian swear words. How to pronounce them, their meaning and origin.
Example: Grullo: means simpleton (Tuscany)
2. A reproduction of an illuminated manuscript illustrated by Joris Hoefnagel
3. A blue ribbon with the words "Great Artist Award" given to me by my son.
4. A doodle with the words "LOVE, do not judge," written obsessively over and over. (Idly created by me during a particularly stressful phone conversation.)

1. A snapshot of Etta James and me singing a duet.

What was your last big project?
James Hajicek, my husband and partner, and I recently finished a body of work titled, "Arc of Departure," which deals with the ending of a larger series of photogenic drawings. The collaboration began in the summer of 2001. The work premiered at Etherton Gallery in Tuscon, December of 2009 in an exhibition " Poetics of Light" along with artists, Kate Breakey and Masao Yamamoto.

What's your next bg project?
James and I will finally be starting our last remodeling project at our home/studio, Alchemy Studio. We will also begin compiling images and text for our next book project, which will chronicle our tenure working with photogenic drawings.

How much do you hate being asked what your next big project is?
Do you mean the anxious pit in my stomach when I realize how much needs to happen before either of these projects is completed?

What's something you want Phoenix to know about you?
Even though I have sometimes grumbled about living in the Valley, it feels like home to me. I am proud to be part of the history that defines the burgeoning art community and look forward to future collaborations within both academia and the community at large.

What's something you really don't want Phoenix to know about you?
I'm a closet Bravo Reality TV watcher but only when I iron. So, I guess that's two things.

The Creatives, so far:

100. Fausto Fernandez
99. Brian Boner

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.