Ruben Gonzales, Monica Robles, and Dave Bjorn to Open Retail/Design Studio on Roosevelt Row

The Rise Project's "pop-up" contract at 610 E Roosevelt Rd. (formerly Perihelion Arts) in downtown Phoenix expires at the end of August, but Ruben Gonzales and 11th Monk3y Apparel and Designs are sticking around. 

The local artist and designer has been selling his screen-printed hats and tees out of the front of the space alongside the work of his friend and Rise Project founder, Joseph "Sentrock" Perez

Come September, Perez will take his hip-hop-based youth arts operation elsewhere and Gonzales will join efforts with local artist Monica Robles and Dave Bjorn to open a collaborative retail/design studio.

The three come from pretty different backgrounds; Gonzales has been a regular in the local breakdancing and street art scene and started creating apparel two years ago when his friends introduced him to screen printing and digital art software. Robles' graphic design, photography, and painting has been featured at Paper Heart, Kitchen Sink Studios, and Produce Gallery. And Bjorn's involved in the local design community; he founded Dojo Collective, a community outreach program for design, in 2009, has worked with Tumble Center for Youth Development in Phoenix, and is currently a health policy consultant.

Gonzales says that together, the artists will collaborate on various projects, while splitting the space. He'll stick to selling his artwork and apparel out of the front room, Bjorn will run his business consulting firm and side projects upstairs and will be "facilitating community art and design projects out of the space to connect creative professionals to their neighborhoods." Robles will display her work throughout the space. 

"We want to provide people an office away from their home, but still have that at home office feel with out the house distractions," says Gonzales. "I want to do simple printing classes, Monica might be doing photography classes and [Bjorn] I think is going to do his stuff, how to network, website, consult ..."

No word on the future of Amy Young's Perihelion Arts, which has been on hiatus since May. Young told Jackalope Ranch at the beginning at the summer that she planned to return, and that she'll continue to represent the work of local artist, Rachel Bess (whose work will now be displayed at Lisa Sette), in Europe. 

See more of Gonzales, Robles, and Bjorn's work on their websites and stay tuned for more information. 

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