Culture News

Parazol Studios: A Multipurpose Art Space Coming Soon to Downtown Phoenix

Later this month, downtown Phoenix will welcome grass-roots funded multimedia art spaceParazol Studios.

Tomas Karmelo, Obed Gonzalez and Pedro Perez say they hope the space, near Seventh and Pierce streets next to Space 55, will serve as an umbrella for up-and-coming local artists.

Karmelo, Gonzalez, and Perez used Kickstarter, a crowd funding website for creative projects, to raise more than $5,000 in just 21 days. Using this money and some of their own savings, the artists will build a 2,500 sq. foot multipurpose studio set to open on June 30.

All three of the artists grew up "in the hood basically," says Karmelo. As budding filmmakers, they remember feeling slighted by more established artists. In response, the young and diversely talented men hope to create a "non-pretentious" studio spot where others can feel "welcome to come in and ask questions."

"We don't want to be the high brow type of studio," Karmelo says. "It takes a little bit of love and appreciation to make [young artist's] dreams come true. Of course, we'll be critical too."

With renovations already well underway, the trio expects to hold their first open house "of sorts" on the 30th, but will definitively open doors to the public on July 6, for First Friday.

In addition to workspaces for all three founders (who have been working out of their homes until this point), the studio will feature an open space available for photography and cinematography work. The studio will also house public workspaces with computers and a "cyc," or cyclorama, wall and will provide most equipment a photographer or videographer would need to complete a project.

Local artists can pay an hourly rate to use the space, cameras, lights, backdrops, and computers with discounts available to students and other groups, according to Karmelo.

Since the three men work on diverse and separate projects, the new studio will also serve as overarching entity under which their work will come together. Karmelo credits his mom with sparking the idea for the name "parazol" - a slightly altered spelling of a Spanish word for umbrella.

"I said, 'how about parasol?' and [Obeb], he gets this little smile...that's when you know somethings dope," Karmelo says. "So Parazol, with a 'z.'"

"It's a point of pride to be young guys from an underrepresented group," Karmelo adds. "It's validation. The sense of accomplishment and complete gratitude knowing we have a vibrant community supporting the arts."

You can watch the Parazol Studios Kickstarter video below. We particularly enjoyed the skateboarding toy poodle (named Tiny and who belongs to Obed's mom) at the end. You can also find them on Facebook. "

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria