Artist Annie Lopez Hates Cloudy Days

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Best of Phoenix hit newsstands Sept. 26. In conjunction with this year's Vintage Phoenix theme, New Times is collaborating with R. Pela Contemporary Art to present "Hot Plate!" It's an exhibition of one-of-a-kind, Phoenix-inspired commemorative plates made by local artists. Leading up to the show's Oct. 4 opening, we're profiling each of the contributing artists and visiting their studios. Today: Annie Lopez.

Artist Annie Lopez entered the art scene in 1982. She started out as a photographer, shooting in both color and black and white. However, as she grew as an artists, she began experimenting with alternative photographic processes.

See also: Hot Plate! Best of Phoenix Commemorative Collaboration Opens Oct. 4 at R. Pela Gallery

Lopez finally landed on a style she likes called cyanotype, a process of photographic printing that uses a chemical solution and the sunlight to produce a print with a cyan-blue tint. Because the process requires the sun, Lopez is frequently working outside. She says she hates when it is raining or cloudy.

Lopez has produced her art this way for more than 25 years now. Recently, she started taking her cyanotype prints and sewing them into dresses.

The artist finds inspiration in her daily experiences and from her family history. She says she is constantly writing down new artistic ideas throughout the day, whether she's still in bed, eating dinner, or driving in her car.

Lopez says you can often find her researching at the library or manipulating her images at copy machines around town.

What's your earliest memory of Phoenix? Two memories compete for space in my brain. The first is sitting in a hot car parked outside A. J. Bayless as my mother shopped for groceries. I assume five kids were too much to handle in the store and she did not want us home alone. Also, I remember whipped cream mounds covering chocolate chip pancakes at Uncle John's Pancake House on Grand and 16th Avenue. My father would take us there on Sunday mornings after 7:30 mass at St. Gregory's.

What inspired your plate for this show? A family tragedy. As a kid, I asked my parents why there was no great aunt attached to my great uncle. The story they told was suited more for grown-ups. Even at 10 years old, I recognized that they had exaggerated facts, but it sparked an interest in genealogy. After years of research, I learned that it was just a terrible accident and three people died.

Phoenix needs more: Politicians willing to devote resources to neighborhoods other than downtown.

Phoenix needs less: Street construction closures and narrow-minded conservatives.

What's on your plate this fall? Landfills, old people, and probate. Life Interferes.

See Lopez's work when "Hot Plate!" opens October 4 at R. Pela Contemporary Art.

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