Michael Viglietta's Opening Reception of "Eroding Languages: People, Places And Things"

Join us for the opening reception of monOrchid's represented contemporary abstract artist Michael Viglietta. "Eroding Languages: People, Places And Things" will showcase on Friday, September 21st from 6:00-9:00 PM with a cash bar and parking at 1015 N. 2nd St.

With a background in television and movie production, the New York born artist eventually shifted gears to pursue his passion of painting. Between layers of materials and the words, numbers and sayings scattered within, Viglietta creates a unique dialogue between each painting. In it's entirety, Eroding Languages is driven by Viglietta's observations of the spaces around him; shaped by courage, frustration, joy and fear. The process of building up acrylics, plasters, wax and paper clippings allows for him to process the perplex world he finds himself in - discovering answers as he creates.

"I build my own history by layering sediment and eroding it, letting artifacts once hidden in the paintings find their way to the surface..." - Viglietta

"Eroding Languages: People, Places And Things" will be displayed at monOrchid Gallery until December 7th.


214 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004


Introducing monOrchid's Newest Represented Artist: KC Haxton

"The Whip" - $8,500 - 60x46

"The Whip" - $8,500 - 60x46

    An artist can pull inspiration from a variety of sources; life experiences, travel adventures and the personal connections made throughout. KC Woolf Haxton, monOrchid’s California based artist, has encountered notable circumstances time and time again to pull these inspirations from. Born in Santa Cruz, California and traveling often with his family throughout his childhood, Haxton was fortunate enough to see more places than most teens, let alone adults. 

"The Reign" - $8,500 - 60x46

"The Reign" - $8,500 - 60x46

    By creating with oil and mixed media, Haxton documents what he has experienced throughout his life and aims to display these personal influences in each body of work. By making himself "available to the whispered truths that are so easily drowned out by the cacophony", he first allows for organic observation and then reports the discoveries in his artwork. The painter and designer describes his style of painting as romantic, satirical and delicate... 

"Honesty, clarity, and precision are qualities that I admire in something presented as new thought, and I do my best to hit that mark with my work." - Haxton

KC Haxton by Aaron Haxton

KC Haxton by Aaron Haxton

Enjoy selected works by Haxton in monOrchid's current show "The Coterie Exhibition", showcasing June 23, 2018 through September 7, 2018 before his solo show in 2019. 


Introducing monOrchid's Newest Represented Artist: John Tuomisto-Bell

"Follow The Leader #2" (#1/4) - $11,500 - 23 ½x 12 x 7½

"Follow The Leader #2" (#1/4) - $11,500 - 23 ½x 12 x 7½

    We are pleased to announce monOrchid's newest represented artist, John Tuomisto-Bell, the Phoenix based sculptor. He is best known for life-size male forms and colossal heads, work that creates a powerful sense of emotion when in sight. These sculptures take a strong influence from “existential themes, and the paradoxical relationships between violence, sexual identity, and religion”, states Tuomisto-Bell.  

    The process used to create these sculptures can entail kiln temperatures reaching some 1300 degrees fahrenheit and the heating of bronze to an average of 2500 degrees fahrenheit. With over 25 years of experience working with the “Lost Wax” method of casting bronze and operating a full-service art foundry, Tuomisto Bell Studio Foundry, his dedication to working with such brutal conditions is commendable. 

"A Bomb" - $30,000 - 68x18x18

"A Bomb" - $30,000 - 68x18x18

    At his Phoenix studio, he has constructed all necessary equipment to produce, cast and fabricate his work while manipulating the traditional bronze material with acrylic paints and patinas. As monOrchid’s first represented sculptor, we take pride in giving our community the opportunity to see his work face to face.

John Tuomisto-Bell by Wayne Rainey

John Tuomisto-Bell by Wayne Rainey

Catch a glimpse of John Tuomisto-Bell’s powerful sculptures during monOrchid’s 2018 group summer show, “The Coterie Exhibition”, before his 2019 solo show.


Introducing monOrchid's Newest Represented Artist: Judith Ann Miller

"Divinity of Innocence" - $2,000 - 20x20x2"

"Divinity of Innocence" - $2,000 - 20x20x2"

    Judith Ann Miller started her art career in Arizona some 24 years ago and is a proud founding member of the iconic Holga's art studio residency. As an artist who has seen the change and growth within this city first hand, her work reflects the layers of history, demolition, and rebirth. 

    Miller began painting as a teen and leans toward the unseen beauty of found objects, smaller oil representational pieces, and free flowing abstracts. Her father introduced her to the world of “garbage” hunting at an early age, the activity she once found entirely embarrassing that would soon develop into her principle artistic process. She finds herself drawn to “what seems to be disregarded in this culture: ‘junk’, philosophy, ephemera - seemingly obsolete items”, which speak to her focus on personal connections and how we relate to the world around us.

"Family Evolution 1" - $2,000 - 9.5x64x2

"Family Evolution 1" - $2,000 - 9.5x64x2

“My ultimate challenge will always be walking that fine line between the rough and unrefined nature of my finds, and then letting the more complicated thoughts and motives speak through them.” - Miller

     Aside from spending most of her time at her downtown Phoenix studio, Miller enjoys gardening, yoga travel, and reading. We look forward to sharing her work with our community and are proud to have her as a member of monOrchid's represented stable of artists.

Judith Ann Miller by Wayne Rainey

Judith Ann Miller by Wayne Rainey

We invite you to enjoy Judith Ann Miller’s work during “The Coterie Exhibition” presented by monOrchid June 23, 2018 through September 7, 2018 before her. solo show in 2020.


Introducing monOrchid's Newest Represented Artist: Michael Viglietta

"Shelter" - 40x40 - Mixed Media Canvas

"Shelter" - 40x40 - Mixed Media Canvas

          It takes a great deal of experience to find a person's path to success. That path can guide us into a specific career, to reach a personal goal or simply push boundaries we may find uncomfortable. In the end, it's always a journey well worth taking. 

          Someone like Michael Viglietta, the newest addition to monOrchid's represented artists, truly understands what it's like to make an unexpected turn while on a particular path. The New York born contemporary abstract artist found himself in Los Angeles after graduating college to pursue a career in movie and television production. After years in the industry, Viglietta began focusing on his hobby of painting. Fast forward a few years, and the dexterous Phoenix based artist is bringing a new flavor of art to monOrchid's gallery walls for his mid-September solo exhibition. 

                                        "I like wearing down; erosion of materials. 
                                 I've scraped, burned, melted wax, used razor blades,
                                  and power washed...what a big mistake." - Viglietta

"Bully" - 48x36 - Mixed Media Canvas

"Bully" - 48x36 - Mixed Media Canvas

          Viglietta is drawn to the process of layering, removing, and thickening a variety of mediums to his canvases - finishing with a diverse display of colors and textures. He references this method to an archaeologist's digging, figuratively inserting his own artifacts to later be discovered. When he isn't striping layers of oil paint and newspaper clippings off his canvases, the artist can be found hiking Arizona trails and traveling around the country. 

Michael Viglietta by  Wayne Rainey

Michael Viglietta by Wayne Rainey

Michael Viglietta's solo show will be displayed in September 2018 but we invite you to view a handful of work during the up and coming show presented by monOrchid, "The Coterie Exhibition" - June 23, 2018 through September 7, 2018. 


Sky Black completes first Phoenix mural at monOrchid!

New mural born in Evans Churchill neighborhood....


Welcome to the neighborhood, Sky Black's first Phoenix mural, “Persist Majestic”! In this scene, a lone coyote is trying to make its way through the rubble & destruction of Phoenix. Its home has been razed but in the end, the coyote survives as it creates a new playground of exploration. 

With Phoenix's rapid rate of development, our city finds itself enduring prosperous transformation. When you look out across the horizon, cranes can be seen in almost every direction; a reminder that this vast metropolitan area is undergoing change and growth, while fostering adaptation for its inhabitants. Black's coyote is symbolic to all of us - as we explore new territories, we learn to approach change with positivity in order to sustain ourselves.

monOrchid's new mural can be found on the north-east alley behind The Dressing Room. This piece is something you definitely will want to see in person! Feel free to take a photo and tag us too! @themonorchid

*Sky Black "Before We Forget Ourselves" exhibition will be showing until June 15, 2018 at monOrchid Gallery.

Introducing monOrchid's Newest Represented Artist: Antoinette Cauley

"Numb the Pain With the Money" - 36x36" - Acrylic on Canvas  

"Numb the Pain With the Money" - 36x36" - Acrylic on Canvas  

monOrchid has been integral in promoting artists careers for almost 20 years. With a prospering 2018 underway, we are representing an exceptional cadre of diverse artists, both emerging and established world wide. It is our distinct pleasure to introduce Antoinette Cauley , who joins accomplished painter Sky Black, as one of monOrchid’s new represented artists.

"Money Made Me Do It" - 36 x 36" - Acrylic on Canvas

"Money Made Me Do It" - 36 x 36" - Acrylic on Canvas

As a Phoenix native, Antoinette’s work is reflective of her home city - the gritty & the beautiful. Her work is heavily influenced by rap music & hip-hop culture with a focus on social injustice & politics. She was named the 2017 + 2018 Arizona Foothills Magazine Best Local Artist & can be found in her free time working with youth ages, teaching art classes that focus on drawing, painting & color theory.


Mark your calendars for her upcoming solo exhibit in March 2019!


Antoinette Cauley - www.antoinettecauleyart.com

Sky Black Opening Reception at monOrchid Gallery 3/16/18

Sky Black “Before We Forget Ourselves”

Opening Reception at monOrchid Gallery



Before We Forget Ourselves opens Friday, March 16 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at monOrchid Gallery located at 214 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, 85004. Sky’s solo exhibition, which opens in conjunction with Art Detour’s 30th anniversary, will show a range of themes from future-esque, surreal landscapes painted with vivid pastels to contemporary themes such as overconsumption and greed. Sky narrates his paintings in ways that show fusions and collisions of humankind and nature. It is often his goal to show humankind as belonging to the animal kingdom as much as the crunch belongs in peanut butter. 

    Born in Flagstaff, Sky’s visual vocabulary extends from adventure to nostalgia, blending classical, old world themes and techniques with his stylistic subjects. There is always a level of uncertainty embedded in the paintings as the viewer is continually challenged to decipher their own meanings. These enigmatic themes are assisted by the complex combinations of inanimate and animate objects. 

“It is always my goal to challenge the viewers perception of reality.” - Black

    Sky’s unique style is as experimental as it is creative and always leaves a trail for the mind to wander. Sky passed on a full ride scholarship to put his ambition as an artist to the test. Though not formally trained, he is constantly studying, researching, and observing. His work has appeared on covers of magazines and newspapers, been collected internationally, and shown around the country in galleries and competitions.

Show dates: March 16, 2018 - June 15, 2018
Sky Black - www.skyblackart.com

Third Friday Closing Reception 2/19

Please join us for the Closing Reception this Friday, February 19th from 6-10pm featuring an intimate evening with the artists and an opportunity to hear the artists speak about their artwork and creative process. Currently we are featuring two new exhibitions: People, Place and State the solo exhibition and 10 year retrospective of Chris Maker in Shade Gallery. While Bokeh Gallery features Conjuring the Consecrated the solo exhibition of Cherie Buck- Hutchison. Both exhibitions will be on display at the monOrchid until February 28th, 2016.

Marriage Proposal @ Monorchid

This story pre-dates my employment at Monorchid. And I'm lucky, because the story has already been written by the most qualified person to recall such an event.

Jordan and Jason got engaged at the Monorchid on a First Friday. Monorchid's Ashton Brown worked with Jason to help pull everything together, I was lucky to be there that night, and witness the occasion.

Jordan relates the entire experience in a beautiful piece of writing on the How He Asked website, replete with gorgeous pictures of the happy couple and our space.

Cool side note: Jason actually made that hanging structure himself. Kudos to him! And congratulations to the two of them.

It's one-of-a-kind experiences like this that make the Monorchid so interesting. (This stuff happens all the time!) It's being a part of helping someone's ordinary day become an absolutely unforgettable one that makes working here so rewarding.



I did it. Lived up to my end of the bargain. If you recall, I described this bargain in my very first post to this blog more than a month ago. I promised to take a dance class if Savage Rhythm would bring their inspiring business to The Monorchid. Since then I have been very busy (read: strategically otherwise-involved).

I’ve never danced before in my life - definitely not in front of a class full of people. I've always wanted to, but it's terribly intimidating to me for some reason. This past Wednesday, however, I made good on my word.

I decided to wear my red Toms Brand shoes. Red: because there’s got to be some extra magic in bright red shoes, right? As it turned out, it didn’t really matter what shoes I wore. I was still a sitting duck in the crosshairs of this particular lesson in humility. Allow me to explain.

I’ve always been the kind of guy to learn things on my own, in the quiet (and the privacy) of my own space. I don’t prefer to look foolish in front of others. I prefer to practice and practice and practice on my own until I'm a BOSS at whatever it is that I'm doing. Only THEN do I feel comfortable showing it off to others.

So taking this class was a big step for me - literally something I’ve been hiding from my entire adult life. I've known this as a battle between my right brain and my left brain all along: the ego informing the artist in me to sit still and shut up. It can be very difficult overriding that imperative.

But back to the dance class.

What I must have looked like to everyone around me was a guy learning to dance for the first time ever. What I felt like was the unfortunate effect of some mad scientist’s splicing of the Tin Man and Pinocchio. That’s right, folks - I felt like a rusty wooden malfunction with a big heart. Here’s a picture:

Notice the complete lack of ease in the tension of my arms. I appear almost paralyzed by ineptitude. (I was.) Here’s another:

Look at my face. Note the RAPT attention. I couldn’t be more concentrated if this were the first moon landing and my direct responsibility to land the ship. Here’s one where I look like I’m doing something:

And here’s one where I stand and look confused while all the others do something:

But it wasn’t all bad. Look, here’s one where I’m both smiling and doing something:

The point of the matter is that I got to experience firsthand a really unique and exciting addition to our weekly schedule. Jonathan Lindsey and Tressa Steele are two of the coolest, most genuine and caring people you’ll ever meet. They’re also outstanding teachers.

To be honest, if it were just me and my ego alone on an island, I’d never do this again. EVER. But Jonathan and Tressa were so helpful and so encouraging that I actually think I will be attending this class again despite my insecurities.

I don’t like to be defeated by any thing, so I’m going to have to figure this dance thing out. Who better to learn from than my two new friends?

Next time, I’ll hope to see you there. Come tap me on the shoulder and let me know you read this - we can look foolish and get a good workout and have a little fun together.

- Tim

The Monorchid - A Place of Hope

We were privileged to host an event this past Tuesday (3/17) for the RadiatePHX crowd, including many of the City's business and community leaders.  The Downtown Phoenix Journal was kind enough to write a pretty outstanding article describing not only the event, but also the heart of The Monorchid set within this beautiful community.

This article appears to be based upon Wayne's speech presented the night-of. You can read the full article HERE or by clicking on the picture above, but this is my personal favorite part:

"This building that is monOrchid is much like downtown Phoenix in many ways. Not that many years ago it was a broken and under-utilized place – a warehouse for forgotten things. It was inefficient and expensive to refit but its history and authenticity were still mostly intact, and that authenticity was an absolutely essential component for it – and its neighborhood’s – revival.

The investment was worth it.

Today we gather here and celebrate the many future possibilities that are Phoenix."

Beautifully done, Downtown Phoenix Journal! We at The Monorchid are very grateful for the wonderful relationship we share, and we're especially proud to be a contributing part of this City's exciting evolution.

Arizona Doesn't Need to Lose Out on the Film Industry


It was 6:00am on the nose when I rolled into the parking lot at Monorchid yesterday. Already, a large truck was parked just outside our garage door, and a couple of people I’d never met before were waiting excitedly in the lot.

The day was to be all about Jordon Davis-Foss and his 12-hour marathon film shoot (as I liked to call it). Jordon had described a little of his vision to me when we first met only a couple of weeks earlier after he came by for a surprise tour of the space.

What I remember of this initial interaction was Jordon’s quiet confidence. He didn’t brag about himself or his “years of experience in film”, and yet he carried himself with a gentle authority that somehow still commanded respect. He was quick to smile, quick to laugh, and quick to compliment the space.

What I took away was this: that he was filming a video for his senior thesis at ASU, that the video would include a gallery heist in an art museum, and that he planned, ambitiously, to complete a whole sequence of scenes in a single day here at The Monorchid.

I also knew that he was planning to shoot across each of our spaces, moving from the Main Gallery to the North Studio into our Bokeh Gallery, and even out the back door onto the patio. He also liked the idea of using our rolling gallery walls to create a dynamic, modular set.

But all of these were just ideas and plans - his mind engaging the potential of our space to create the set he had envisioned for his film. Oftentimes, ideas can become lost in the shuffle of practical action and the needs of a pressing schedule, so it remained to be seen just how exactly his ideas would play out.


But Jordon and his team never ceased to impress, from the moment he and Marlon (the assistant director) entered through our garage door lugging bags full of breakfast burritos for cast and crew.

Over the course of the first hour or two, cast continued to trickle in and help themselves to food, exploring the newly installed artwork while Jordon and Marlon worked with Alex Miller (owner of Thunder Grip and Electric and the 3-ton truck parked outside) to begin converting the Main Gallery for their first scene.

As Jordon and his team went about their work over the next several hours, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the complete lack of havoc. These guys were on a schedule, but they weren’t hurried, they weren’t flustered. Most of them were college aged, but they consistently handled themselves like seasoned professionals.

I went about my own work with the door to my office open wide, smiling quietly to myself at the sound of Marlon’s voice commanding the set. Over and over again, this sequence:

“Scene Alpha Beta, Take One.”


Around 11:00am, I’m on one of my routine check-ins to make sure everything’s continuing to progress smoothly, and one of the guys mentions how great it would be to have some press around this shoot. The idea’s a good one. I don’t make any promises, but I do commit to pulling what strings I can.

I contact two local newspapers, call Wayne and work with him to develop a list of news anchors across multiple local news stations, call and email every one of them I can, then I wait.

It’s not until after 2:30pm that I finally receive an affirmative response, but I do receive the response. It’s a voicemail from Channel 12 News informing me that a photographer is on the way and should arrive within 30 or 40 minutes.

Obviously, I’m ecstatic. (As are Jordon and Marlon when I tell them.) The timing is perfect, because we’re just beginning to shoot the final sequences. I say “we”, because Jordon invites me to be an extra in the final scene. Naturally, I am more than happy to comply.


Enough about me, though. Let’s bring this to a finer point. There’s a reason this particular film shoot is relevant (and it’s why Channel 12 was so quick to bite). It just so happens that Arizona is one of only 11 states that continues to refuse tax incentives to production companies.

This unfortunate reality has been strangling the state’s true potential for big-budget film opportunities. In fact, when the news piece runs on Channel 12 at 10:00pm, it’s rife with headlines like “Arizona Loses Out in Film Industry” and “Film Industry Dwindles in Arizona”.

(You can watch it HERE.)

Turns out, incentives are so steep in places like New Mexico that production companies are willing to rewrite entire scripts to accommodate the lower cost of location. Because of this, two Arizona house bills are being proposed to help attract the movie industry back to Arizona - HB2621 and HB2144.

In his interview with Channel 12, Jordon speaks to the freshly budding economy in his home state of Michigan, describing the billions of dollars Detroit has seen as a result of its interaction with the movie industry. Here’s the direct quote:

"I wish Arizona had a deeper film experience. I come from Detroit. We've got a lot of jobs, created billions of dollars in revenue for Detroit and the State of Michigan out of our film program and I wish the same could come out of Arizona.”

(You can read the whole article HERE.)

This is a real issue for our beautiful state: movies want to shoot here. They want the context of our landscapes, of our culture. And the groundwork has been laid! The Monorchid isn’t the only studio fully prepared to handle an influx of serious film projects; but like the others, it’s a local business that would benefit greatly from the passing of these bills, along with the rest of the state.

Job creation, an influx of big money, much-deserved exposure for one of this country’s most magnificent states - there’s much to look forward to if we can take these small steps toward immense gain.


But I’ll get off my soapbox now. Let’s jump back to yesterday. Yesterday was a day unlike any I have ever had before. I was lucky to assist in a really interesting film project; I was able to play a part in a serious movie for the first time in my life; and I even ended up on the news for a split second of time: also a first. I made friends and connections that won’t soon be forgotten. I’d call that an exceptionally productive day.

So much thanks go out to Jordon Davis-Foss for bringing his film, The Take, to The Monorchid. To Marlon Hawkins for his careful direction of cast and crew. To the whole lot of these wonderful people who were so respectful of our space. To Wayne for providing solid contacts. To Delbert Vega, the photographer who came out to get our story; and to Channel 12 for creating a place for us in their coverage and for speaking out in response to this important state matter.

And thanks to you, as always, for reading.

- Tim


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nude

I went on my first nude shoot this past week. Talk about diving in headfirst: my second professional photo excursion of all time, and it’s a nude shoot. When Wayne asked me to assist, my initial reaction was a polite-as-possible “no thanks”. But I knew better. There’s no part of my personality that will allow an opportunity to learn something new pass unconsidered. When he told me that he had decided to involve me on purpose so I could experience the nuances of working with this type of subject, I was sold.

As was the case on our first shoot, there was much time spent in gathering and positioning gear. Lights and lights and lights - so many lights. Cables, stands, cameras, computers - cases and cases filled with gear. Every time I’ve ever taken a picture, it’s been a simple matter of pushing a button on my camera or my cell phone, then dropping it back into my pocket and moving on. Not so with Wayne. With Wayne it’s a production. (This must be the difference between the pros and guys like me.)

The shoot took place at the subject’s house. The subject’s name is Troy*. We roll up - we being Wayne, myself, and ‘Boats’ - and it’s my job to begin unloading the (two!) vehicles bursting full of gear. I line the lights and accessories side by side along the walkway leading callers to the porch. On one of my trips, Wayne introduces me to Troy, an unassuming young guy, likely even younger than myself. He seems quiet, and kind, and intelligent. I don’t know what about him informs me of these qualities, it’s just a feeling in my gut.

Wayne is preparing a series.  I don’t have all the details, but from what I’ve been able to gather, he hopes to portray a relationship between the artist and his or her own living space. The nudity will not be gratuitous; it’s meant to expose something of the artists’ vulnerability in self-expression. It’s a metaphor to describe the way the true artist is stripped of everything when fully invested in his or her work, the way the individual ego dissolves into something more visceral, more universal, less manufactured - the creation superseding the creator.

I don’t know anything about Troy or even whether he himself is an artist, but by the stacks of books, half-completed drawings, discarded canvases and scraps of paper scattered everywhere across the house, I’m confident he matches Wayne’s direction. For some reason, I’m surprised that Troy doesn’t answer the door naked. I don’t know what my pea-brain expected, but to find someone normal, even very similar to myself, volunteering for this shoot still catches me by surprise. Troy quietly sits on his couch rifling through a magazine while the three of us position lights and cameras all around him.

I don’t want to go into detail about the specifics of this shoot. For that, you’ll have to wait until the showing. But at one point, Wayne invites Troy to come and see a set of shots. Troy pulls on a pair of jeans and stands beside me at the computer. The pictures are good. Very good. Troy turns to Wayne, surprised. “I’ve never done this sort of thing before, you know,” he says. “I’ve never even taken a picture of my dick before.” We all laugh. But this is all the more telling: the truest possible impression of the image Wayne’s envisioned. This young man - modest in his own way yet unflagging in the face of such exposure. There’s an absolute honesty to it. I am impressed.

After a multitude of photos and poses and lighting adjustments, Wayne calls it a wrap. “We’re out!” he says. The three of us unload Troy’s house of all our gear. Thirty minutes later, the vehicles are packed and we’re shaking Troy’s hand to say our thank-yous and good-byes.

Back at the Monorchid, we unload the gear one last time. I can’t remember when I last felt quite so tired. Back at Troy’s house, Wayne made a point of saying that, despite all the many times he’s done this work before, it never fails to sap him of his strength. Everything he has goes into this: the act of attaining in his mind an original vision, the backbreaking work of re-creation.

I can’t speak for Wayne; but whatever this series portrays, it will inevitably carry the weight of his own courageous exposure. I have felt that, and seen it, and feel it even as I write this little story. This series will describe something inherent to each of us. I’m excited for you to see it once it’s done.

- Tim

*Troy Farah is a talented local writer, and we were very pleased to collaborate with him on this project.

Inspiration, Sip & Twirl, and BIG Plans @ Monorchid

So it’s hard to believe that less than two weeks ago, I was employed as a Scheduling Manager at an Aerospace Machine Shop. We make these small turns in life, sometimes out of boredom, sometimes for the adventure of it or out of basic need, and we find ourselves somewhere altogether new. That’s kind of what it’s been like here: and every single day is something new and unexpected.

Today it’s the buzz of a message from Wayne, linking me to a new story blogged by one of our favorite wedding planners, Sip & Twirl. Sip & Twirl recently planned a truly outstanding wedding here at the Monorchid for Brandy and Kristie. This was only a couple of weeks before my time, but the write-up and the photography turned out to be almost as impressive as the event itself.

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

You can see it for yourself HERE.

The cool thing about this wedding was the way it portrayed the forward direction of our community. Brandy and Kristie were Sip & Twirl’s first gay wedding recognized by the state, and they did an absolutely fantastic job of creating a moment that will hold in their memory (and each of their guests’ memories) forever. And we got to be a part of that.

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

Photo by Brittany Janelle Photography

Wayne was as pleased by the article as Ashton and I were and has decided to work with us to put together a Summer Special Wedding Package. We’ll be posting that as soon as we can work out a truly enticing deal for whichever of you has been catching the bouquets of flowers at all these past weddings.

Keep an eye out over the course of the next week or so - we’ll be posting to this blog and also to our Facebook Page HERE (if you haven’t already “Liked” us, I don’t know what you’re waiting for).

As always, thanks for reading.

- Tim

P.S. - we shamelessly utilized photos from the Sip & Twirl article; they were too good not to pass along. All props for photos go to Brittany Janelle Photography.

Documenting the DeGrazia Works @ GreenHaus

Yesterday I got to assist on my first professional photo shoot, directed by MonOrchid/Rainey Studios owner, Wayne Rainey. The plan was to archive some artwork from the walls of our immediate neighbor, GreenHaus. The owners moved out earlier this month, leaving the building empty once again, and ready for the demolition crews.

The artwork inside includes a 48’ long mural spanning the east wall and a smaller piece on the north wall. An original estimate quotes the cost of saving these paintings at over $250K, so the developer has asked us to archive the work with ultra high res photography instead.

The murals are by renowned artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, dated at some 60+ years ago. The building was a bar at the time, and legend has it that DeGrazia agreed to creation of these works in order to cover the cost of an unpaid bar tab.

Since I now work for Wayne, I get to enjoy the happy circumstance of assisting on the project.


So we meet up at 8:30am and get to work. In addition to Wayne and myself, we have recruited help from Christopher ‘Boats’ OShana and Chadwick Fowler. Boats has an office here at the MonOrchid and has a lot of experience in photography. Chadwick is a local pro photographer, and it's his rig we're using today (the Phase One camera we're using is valued at around $40,000!); he and Wayne have worked together many times before.

First, we assemble equipment. Fortunately, the murals are on interior walls, so we will have much greater control of lighting compared with an outdoor shoot.  We grab Wayne's hefty Speedotron equipment, a grip of stands, light modifiers, flash heads and cables, measuring tapes, computers, the camera, a hand-sketched plan, and of course, coffee.

Wayne has made it clear that in order for this shoot to finish a success, we will need to be exceptionally cognizant of precision in our set-ups. Because the mural is 48’ long, we will need to capture segmented frames and stitch them together in post-production. Each frame will need to be carefully planned so that it overlaps both the frame before it and the next frame in line. Lighting, camera angle, camera height, distance from the subject - all these factors and more will need to be strategically accounted for. Consistency across the work is key for ultimate integrity of the original and will be a necessity for post-production, too.

Wayne's Hand-Sketched Plans for the Newbie Assistant (Me)

Wayne's Hand-Sketched Plans for the Newbie Assistant (Me)

Once the camera’s up on the stand and we’ve got lights, we begin my measuring the height of the mural, finding its center point, then matching the center of the camera lens to that exact height. We position the camera at a distance from the wall that frames the work the way Wayne needs it. It happens to be exactly 12’ from the painting. Wayne and I walk to the opposite end of the mural, measure 12’ out from the wall, then draw a line of blue tape along the empty concrete floor to mark the distance.

Next, we need to position and direct the lights. We do this at first by eye, one light to either side of the camera, one large black barrier (called a flag) to each light. The flag blocks the light from hitting the camera, eliminating lens flair. While Boats helps Wayne set the lights, Chadwick levels the camera stand and the camera, and I take careful notes of all measurements (now we’ve added: distance of each light from the wall, distance of each light from the center of the camera stand, direction of each light with relation to the center of the frame).

Before we can take our first test shot, we need to measure light at multiple points within the frame. This is done by connecting the camera to the Speedotron pack and the lights via radio slave (radio slave: I tell Wayne this would make a really good band name), then calibrating the light at each point with a flash meter.

This is how we do it: Wayne stands at the mural with the flash meter, holds it to the top left of the frame. Chadwick flashes the lights from the radio slave, then Wayne checks the meter’s reading. Again at the lower left of frame. Center of frame, top right, bottom right and so on until there’s consistency across the frame. There’s much talk of “hot” and “cold” and “spectrals” and “flares” - all of which is new to me.

Finally we’re ready to shoot the first frame. It’s been well over an hour of preparation. Chadwick hits the shutter release. There’s a click and a flash, a few more clicks and adjustments, and finally a very good image populates the computer screen to his left. Wayne walks over for a look while Chadwick confirms focus. Wayne nods, grunts a simple, “Looks good,” then it’s over just like that. And we’re on to the next frame.

Measure four feet from every point (center of camera frame, center of each light frame, etc.) and shift to the right for frame two. Confirm all measurements, then retest the light. Adjust and reshoot. Confirm overlap and consistency, confirm focus, then shift.


We move in a pretty steady rhythm until we get to the end of the mural, which extends into the very corner of the south and east walls. This is where lighting becomes a real trick, because we’ve lost the space required to set a light to right-of-camera.

Wayne and Boats tinker with light positioning, then meter points in the frame. Over and over again the left-of-frame meters significantly hotter than the right. Over and over again we readjust the lights, then test again. Eventually, we all decide to break. It’s been several hours on this shoot and it’s time to clear our heads.

Less than 10 minutes later, we’re back at it. Strips of gaffer tape hang from the dishes of each light, acting as additional “miniature flags” to lower the heat of the light in certain directions. We’ve tried lighting from multiple positions, we’ve tried reflecting light off portable white walls; we’ve tried flagging both lights, flagging only one light, adding and removing lights.


In the end, it’s Boats’ arm that saves us. As a joke, he throws his arm up in front of one light and says, “How ‘bout that? Does that fix it?” As a joke, Wayne snaps a shot. Unbelievably, he notices improvement. Tells Boats to do it again, move his arm just so.

Wayne snaps one more shot. Reviews it at the computer. Compares it to the last several frames. Checks the histogram, then turns and says, “That’s it - we’re done.”

After this it’s just a quick clean-up/set-up at the smaller painting on the north wall, a quick metering, a quick click and a quick flash, and we’re done with shooting for the day. Boats and I clean up while Wayne carries the computer to his desk to start on post-production. It’s been about 5.5 hours since we started.

By the time I leave MonOrchid some 3.5 hours later, Wayne and Boats are still at work on tweaking all the separate frames precisely into place. We may not have saved the painting, but we’ve done the best we can to help it last.

I realize just how fortunate I am - to be a part of this. To be a part of Wayne’s commitment to the people and the ethos here in Phoenix. So much of his effort goes unnoticed. (This time, though, I thought you all should know.)

Thanks for reading, and for caring; and for being a part of our community.

- Tim


Art & Advocacy. I Have a Name.

Slow. Stop. Imagine:

Imagine you’re seated in an office, or a bedroom, or at the window of some café. Your cell phone reclines beside you. Maybe it’s snowing outside and the vapor drifts lazy from the surface of your mug. Maybe it’s 95 degrees out and a glass full of tea and ice sweats rings into the wood of a table where you’re seated with a laptop and a friend. There’s the slow cool flow of AC brushing gently across your skin. Music plays softly in the background.

Outside this somewhere, in the same world you have come to know, a mother and her child crouch in rags beneath the shelter of a bridge. 40 mph winds screech and tear against the rashes on their skin. An elderly veteran expires on the sidewalk in the heat of an Arizona day, in plain view of a couple dozen passersby just like you or I.

Slow. Stop. Remember:

Imagine for a moment the version of yourself that recognizes this reality. See yourself rising to the occasion, deciding to help in any way you can. Maybe you take to the streets of downtown Cleveland with $20 in your pocket, find the hunched figure of a homeless man and invite him to share a meal. Perhaps you volunteer at a women’s shelter, or donate to a cause.

The point is, it’s easy to pass our days in the feverish push of a daily existence. Family, profession, bills, advertising - all these rote distractions pull us forward from one moment to the next. It can be hard to remember that much else in this world exists beyond ourselves.

Slow. Stop. Look:

Wayne Rainey, owner of The Monorchid, and Jon Linton, founder of the I Have A Name Project, have teamed up to conceptualize a project which allows us all to become a part of something larger than the individual worlds within which we exist. The project is called Art & Advocacy. I Have a Name. You can read about it HERE.

The project takes place here in Phoenix, but its reach extends all borders; it tells the story of the homeless, but it’s larger than any single demographic.

Art & Advocacy is about raising awareness, it’s about community involvement, it’s about addressing the human element of this daily flow of activity we call Life. It’s about seeing outside of ourselves and touching the heart of something so much more global, so much more rewarding, so much more… enduring.

Slow. Stop. Engage:

Each of us has a story. Each of us has a name. Each of us is only different from the Other by degrees. We are all one family. Art & Advocacy tells the story of you, tells the story of you in action for a cause that helps us all become more beautiful, more conscious, more worthy of the space we co-inhabit.

Join us at the Monorchid as we strive to make a mark that’s truly lasting.

- Tim