Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Art of Business in the Business of Art

"French Thompson" (C) 2012 Miachelle DePiano.

Running a business in the Phoenix region is only for the strongest and hardiest of people. Small business owners take advantage of a very distinct tourist and transient resident season to survive. Those small business owners who provide necessary services and products stand a chance of surviving. Small business owners who provide a luxury and endure the financial droughts are indeed the hardiest of them all.

French Thompson is an example of survival in such a fiercely competitive environment. The 15-year owner of French Designer Jeweler on Main Street in Scottsdale, he survives while a multitude of art galleries and boutiques around him have come and gone. Thompson's gallery provides an array of fine art jewelry, catering to those desiring to find something more deeply personal and expressive.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Apache Tears

"Maria Walton" (C) 2012, Miachelle DePiano Images

On March 27, 2012 the running world was rocked to hear that running legend Micah True, aka Caballo Blanco, was missing.  On March 31, 2012, True’s friend, Ray Molina, found him.  True was lying beside a stream, his legs dangling in the water, his eyes looking up to the sky. The White Horse had gone for his last run. 

True’s love of running and his desire to help humanity continue to inspire. Thrust into the limelight after Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run became a national best seller, True sought to balance his popularity with his desire to remain authentic. One rewarding aspect of his sudden popularity was meeting his girlfriend, Maria Walton. Walton sought him out for advice on marathon training, and the two connected spiritually.

On May 6, 2012, Walton held a memorial run for True at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Friends and fans alike in the Phoenix area attended the run, and presented Walton with tributes to True. She held up well until it was time to speak to everyone before the run. She was choked with emotion as she thanked everyone. After the run, she opened up about her life with True, the difficulty of representing True, and  recounted fond memories.

Friday, March 16, 2012


"SHE" (C) 2012, Miachelle DePiano

She became the driving the force of all that I do and all that I am. From conception I swore to protect her, naively thinking I could do so by sheer will power. I have learned will power is not enough; it takes stamina, endurance, patience, and perseverance. She challenges me metaphorically and literally. She tests my resolve, questions my reasoning, and confronts my beliefs. She makes me contemplate what I stand for, makes me consider what battle is worth waging, what war is worth winning.

She reminds me constantly that dreaming is not only ok at my age, but fundamental to my own existence. Her presence demands I give birth to my dreams; her survival demands I nurture and raise them to full maturation. Her future successes require I achieve mine, that I not let age or fear or gender hinder my progress and development. My job is to remind her that not only must you have the dream, but you must work to make the dream reality. She is not yet remarkable to the world, but she is remarkable to my world. My cause, my campaign, is to be her champion and show her how remarkable she truly is. My hope is that she learns she is worthy and deserving of all that she desires, on her terms, in her time.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's a Wild, Wild Life

Cris Rankin, with Banjo. (C) 2012, Miachelle DePiano

Cris Rankin is not your typical mom. She skateboards. She climbs trees. She does not care for cooking, but she is handy with tools and can fix about anything around the house, and then some.

And for twelve plus years, she has been part of A1 Animal Talent, providing animals of all types for film and photography needs.

As a young woman, she trained dogs out of a purely personal interest in animals.

"When you’re an ‘animal person,’ it’s what you are, no matter the animal,” Rankin said. “I’m the only weirdo in the family.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

"It's not the shoe..."

(C) 2011, Miachelle DePiano. Micah True speaks at AVE in Chandler, AZ.

Back in October, I was given the opportunity to hear ultra running icon Micah True, aka Caballo Blanco, speak at AVE in Chandler, AZ and publish a story on his presentation in the Santan Sun. The presentation was a fundraiser benefiting True’s non-profit charity, Norawas de Rarámuri which works to preserve the Rarámuri, and their running culture.

Before the presentation began, I had a few quiet minutes with True. We talked about my recently torn calf muscle and the issue of running barefoot or in Vibrams. His next statement echoes in my mind to this day as I get back into running:

“It’s not the shoe, it’s what’s in the shoe.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

“El Podrido”: The Rotten Makes Good

"El Podrido", (C) 2011, Miachelle DePiano.

When we are in our teens and our 20’s, the majority of us experience that euphoria of feeling invincible, that we can and will conquer the world. Nothing can defeat us, regardless of our good or bad choices. Then Fate steps in, and we learn a new definition of invincibility. We learn it is not our physical being that is invincible, but our spirit that is invincible, and we find out just how invincible our spirit really is.

Five years ago, El Podrido (the Rotten), a graffiti artist as well as a welder and metal artist, learned such a lesson. Originally from New Mexico, El Podrido always dreamed of living in Arizona, and moved to Phoenix. Deeply influenced by graffiti, he lived a dual life. By day, he was a certified welder, and by night a graffiti artist. Eventually he became recognized for his work, and was invited to create murals.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hell on Wheels

"Patty Slamaise", (C) 2011, Miachelle DePiano

When I was a little girl, I used to watch roller derby on television with my mother. As a young girl, I was amazed by these amazons. They were rough, they were tough, and far meaner than any “professional” wrestler I watched. They would zip around the arena, as easy as you please, and somehow beat each other up.

Fast forward some 35+ years. As I was on the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Tempe, I saw a young woman on roller skates, in full safety gear, and pretty much covered from head to toe. I wondered if she was a derby girl. She rolled by me and smiled.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Listening to the Voice

"Twisted Steel" (C) 2011, Miachelle DePiano
You cannot interview an inanimate object, but that does not mean the object cannot talk to you. And just because the inanimate object talks to you that does not mean that it says the same thing to you that it says to another human being. But sometimes, there is a magical moment when in the gathering of a mass of humanity, you can see that the object’s voice and the object’s message is heard clearly by all gathered in its presence.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with a Surrealist: Maynard Breese

(C) 2011, Miachelle DePiano

Maynard Breese, Arizona-based digital painter and printer, is a man of character; not in the cliché image of staunch nobility and forthrightness, though he does eschew those qualities. He is full of character. It fills him completely, and you can’t ignore it. Talking to Maynard, you don’t know exactly what his lightning-quick intellect will deliver. You don’t know if you’ll get the softer, more generous Maynard, or if you’ll get the entrepreneur who makes sharp declarations and calculated decisions. Maynard, tall and lanky, pale with a shocking top of curly black hair and dark eyes, is alive with his own hunger and drive to succeed personally and to better his fellow man. He is unconventional, and that is his appeal.