Lisa Pauling: Founder of Be You Jewelry and Jewelry Artist

Lisa Pauling, founder of Be You Jewelry and jewelry artist, photographed at Bunky Boutique, by Nicki Escudero

Lisa Pauling, founder of Be You Jewelry and jewelry artist, photographed at Bunky Boutique, by Nicki Escudero

Lisa Pauling
facebook.com/BeYourDreams

Jewelry artist Lisa Pauling puts love into every piece of hand-stamped jewelry she designs for her Be You Jewelry line. The 36-year-old Phoenix resident had more than 15 years of retail experience before deciding to start her own business this summer, and now she shows at artisan markets around the state, including Pineapple Triangle, and her wares are available at local shops Bunky Boutique, MADE Art Boutique, Practical Art, and Clothes Minded, in addition to her online store. She also creates exclusive designs for nonprofit organizations and hopes to open her own store someday.

Pauling talked about her jewelry-making process and why she’s so passionate about local businesses. You can also watch a video of her naming her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, and meet her in person Friday, December 26 through Sunday, December 28 at the Scottsdale Artisan Market — find more info here.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m from a small town of 280 people called Storden in Minnesota. I didn’t go to college right out of high school. I was working full-time, and my brother was living here, and I was like, “You know what, it’s time.” I moved down here on a whim when I was 23 and started going to school and worked retail while I was doing that. I was a jewelry distributor for (jewelry line) Chloe + Isabel, and everyone would always ask me if the products were mine. I decided to start making my own jewelry, and I stayed here because of the weather. Continue reading

Dayna Mathews: Career Coach and Founder of Dayna Marie Coaching

Dayna Mathews, career and personal branding coach and founder of Dayna Marie Coaching, photographed in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Dayna Mathews, career and personal branding coach and founder of Dayna Marie Coaching, photographed in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Dayna Mathews
twitter.com/KickAssCareer

Dayna Mathews wants everyone to have a kickass career, which is why the career and personal branding coach founded her own consulting company, Dayna Marie Coaching. The 26-year-old Phoenix resident works with clients to help them land their dream jobs, and her services include resume writing, LinkedIn profile makeovers, interview preparation, and job lead assistance. She’s also a public speaker, conducting career training around the Valley.

Mathews shared her top tips for scoring a dream job, as well as shared why she loves calling the Valley her home in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I graduated college in May of 2010 with a bachelor of arts in communications from University of Minnesota Duluth, and I just knew I wanted to get out of my small town of Taconite in northern Minnesota and see what else the world had to offer. After college, at the time, I was with someone who wanted to move, too, and we moved to Phoenix in October of 2010. I thought I’d be here for three years but haven’t looked back since. Continue reading

Misha Mendicino: Fashion Designer and Owner of Misha Mendicino Designs

Misha Mendicino, fashion designer and owner of Misha Mendicino Designs, photographed at her studio, by Nicki Escudero

Misha Mendicino, fashion designer and owner of Misha Mendicino Designs, photographed at her studio wearing one of her designs, by Nicki Escudero

Misha Mendicino
twitter.com/MishaMendicino

Misha Mendicino doesn’t just design beautiful women’s clothes — she’s on a mission. The Phoenix designer, who won the 2014 title of Designer of the Year at Phoenix Fashion Week, donates five percent of all sales to a cause she cares deeply about, elephant conservation through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Mendicino started her line Misha Mendicino Designs a year and a half ago, out of a desire for the kinds of styles she craved but could never find. Now, she comes out with new looks twice a year, with her line consisting of comfortable dresses, pants and a jacket. Find her looks online and in local boutiques Velvet Boutique, Daniela Jay Boutique, LONNI Women’s Fashion Boutique, Allie Ollie Boutique, Charmed Avenue, and Random Boutique.

Mendicino talked about her design aesthetic and her goals as a designer. Watch her name her five favorite reasons for living in the Valley in a video, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came to Phoenix in 1992 to go to flight school. I moved here from Maui and attended Western International University and Aero Mech Flight School. Their programs intertwined to give you a bachelor’s degree in technical operations and professional aeronautics.

I was born in Santa Maria, California. When I was 17, my friend and I decided we wanted to move to Hawaii, so we moved there on a one-way ticket with $800 in our pockets and no plans of coming back. She’s still there. I got a job as a flight attendant and moved to New York. I had a back injury that forced me to quit my job, so I moved back to Maui to heal.

I missed aviation so much, I decided to go to flight school. I’m a commercial multi-engine instrument-rated pilot. I flew cargo for awhile and did some passenger service in the San Juan Islands in Washington and ended up coming back to Phoenix, since I really missed it. I’ve been back here since ’97. Continue reading

Christine Cassano: Phoenix Mixed Media Artist

Christine Cassano, Phoenix mixed media artist, photographed at her studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Christine Cassano, Phoenix mixed media artist, photographed at her studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Christine Cassano
twitter.com/cmcassano

Phoenix artist Christine Cassano has turned extreme pain into inspiration for her current body of mixed media sculptural work, blending biological and organic influences with technological themes. A hiking accident 10 years ago resulted in a hip dislocation, hip socket fracture and full hip replacement for Cassano a few years ago, while she developed an auto-immune thyroid condition the same time as her accident that only went into full remission last year. Now, the 40-year-old Phoenix resident says she feels healthier than ever and is thrilled to focus on her art, having had eight exhibits the past year alone, as well as her freelance work as a graphic designer.

See Cassano’s work as part of the Tempe Mill Avenue post office installation in December, and check out her 150-piece wall installation at Tempe Center for the Arts for the venue’s biennial through January 31.

Cassano explains the inspiration behind her art below, and you can also watch a video of her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m from Virginia Beach, Virginia. I graduated from art school with a BFA in studio art from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia in 2001. I wanted a different life and contrast from the ocean where I grew up, so two months after graduation, I packed up a moving truck and drove across the country. Continue reading

Cathy Beach: Owner of Pepper Boutique in Scottsdale

Cathy Beach, owner of Pepper boutique in Scottsdale, photographed at her store with her dog, Pepper, by Nicki Escudero

Cathy Beach, owner of Pepper boutique in Scottsdale, photographed at her store with her dog, Pepper, by Nicki Escudero

Cathy Beach
facebook.com/ShopPepperOnline

Cathy Beach’s Pepper boutique in Scottsdale is relaxed and inviting and features bohemian clothes perfect for free spirits of the Valley. After opening only a little more than six months ago, the cozy shop (named after the 28-year-old Scottsdale resident’s very cute dog) is already turning a profit and is featuring a fall blowout sale, so everyone can get a taste of Pepper. Look out for some new men’s styles in the boutique, a holiday special brought on by customer demand.

Beach talked about what it’s like to be a successful young small business owner and what she thinks of the Phoenix fashion scene after living in L.A., and names her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia and moved here when I was 12. I went to high school here at Saguaro High School, got my undergrad in psychology at ASU and went out to L.A. for grad school, where I studied clinical psychology at Pepperdine. I worked in wholesale apparel during grad school and after in L.A. This past spring, my mom’s cancer reoccurred, so I moved back to Scottsdale to be closer to her. Continue reading

Hugo Medina: Phoenix Muralist and ASU Art Faculty

Hugo Medina, Phoenix artist, in front of his acrylic and aerosol on canvas, 'The Westward Ho,' at MonOrchid in Phoenix, photographed by Nicki Escudero

Hugo Medina, Phoenix artist, photographed in front of his acrylic and aerosol on canvas, ‘The Westward Ho,’ at MonOrchid in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Hugo Medina
twitter.com/Hugos_Art

Hugo Medina‘s art is seen all over the Valley, as the painter and custom metal fabricator has more than 30 murals up throughout the Phoenix area, from a 300-foot-long mural at Fountain Hill’s Fountain Park, to more than five in the downtown Phoenix area.

The 41-year-old Bolivia-born Phoenix resident is heavily involved in the Phoenix arts community, serving as an adjunct art faculty member at ASU teaching a community mural course, as co-founder for the Calle 16 mural project, and as board member for Artlink, Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission and Arizona Artists Coalition. He won the Phoenix Public Art award in 2012 and is currently planning for the Phoenix Festival for the Arts and Art Detour. He’s also working on a new installation for Cycle 5 of IN FLUX, a public art installation program.

Medina works as a custom metal fabricator and on his own paintings, the latest of which can be seen at his Home exhibit at MonOrchid in Phoenix through Friday, November 28. Join him this Friday, November 21, for the free artist reception at the gallery, from 6-10 p.m. Medina will talk about his collection at 7:45 p.m.

Medina talked about where his passion for art comes from, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was chasing my heart. My sophomore year, I taught at a vacation Bible school at a Native American reservation in San Diego and fell in love with the Southwest. I moved to Arizona in 1998 after I graduated college.

I was born in Bolivia and moved to New York with my family when I was 7. We were chasing the American dream. Continue reading

Hector Coris: Actor with Scottsdale Musical Theater Company

Hector Coris
facebook.com/ScottsdaleMusicalTheater

Hector Coris loves inhabiting different characters and bringing them to life on stage. In the past four years, the Phoenix resident has performed in more than dozen local theater productions, having caught the theater bug back in college in New York before bringing his talents to the Valley. He’s gearing up to next star in Scottsdale Musical Theater Company‘s The Producers, at Tempe Center for the Arts Wednesday, December 31, Friday, January 2 and Saturday, January 3. The New Year’s Eve show also features a post-show gala.

Coris, who works at ReachOut Healthcare America in Phoenix, also is the associate producer for Scottsdale Musical Theater Company, as well as works in marketing and publicity. He talked about why he’s so passionate about local theater and what he’s looking forward to about starring in The Producers. Continue reading to watch a video of Coris name his favorite parts about living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I grew up in New York. I did a show here in March of 2009 for two weeks at the Mesa Arts Center, and I loved being here in March because it’s perfect weather. When I went back to New York, I got laid off from my job, so my partner and I were looking for a change. We decided to move to Phoenix. Continue reading

Kirstin Van Cleef: Founder of IN FLUX

Kirstin Van Cleef, founder of IN FLUX and outreach and temporary projects manager at Scottsdale Public Art, photographed at her home in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Kirstin Van Cleef, founder of IN FLUX and outreach and temporary projects manager at Scottsdale Public Art, photographed at her home in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Kirstin Van Cleef
facebook.com/INFLUXAZ

Vacant Valley storefronts get new life thanks to IN FLUX, a public art initiative founded by Kirstin Van Cleef, outreach and temporary projects manager at Scottsdale Public Art. Van Cleef founded the program in 2010, and it gives artists the opportunity to take over a vacant space and fill it (or cover it) with innovative visual and performance art. The 34-year-old Tempe resident started IN FLUX in Downtown Scottsdale, and she now works with public art programs all over the Valley to bring creative works to otherwise desolate spaces. IN FLUX completed its latest annual month-long call to artists in August, which garnered a new roster of impressive artists to show off their work.

Van Cleef is involved with Scottsdale Public Art programming this weekend, as artist and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art muralist James Marshall, aslo known as Dalek, comes to town for a Meet the Artist party Friday, November 7 at 7 p.m. at the Museum — find more info here. Saturday, November 8, Dalek hosts a Community Mural Project at 10 a.m. — find more info here.

Keep reading to learn how IN FLUX works, and to watch a video of Van Cleef naming her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents brought my sister and me here when I was 10. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, then we moved to Colorado and New Mexico, then here for my dad’s work. I went to Cactus Shadows High School and ASU, where I got a degree in photography. Continue reading

Lance Greathouse: Founder of Wheelchair Labs

Lance Greathouse, creator of Wheelchair Labs, photographed at his garage in Glendale, by Nicki Escudero

Lance Greathouse, founder of Wheelchair Labs, photographed at his studio in Glendale, by Nicki Escudero

Lance Greathouse
www.wheelchairlabs.org

Lance Greathouse wanted to make things better for his brother, Brent, who had been diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s disease in 2000. After the disease left his brother immobile and in a wheelchair, Lance noticed how people would treat Brent differently, so he set out to create the coolest custom chair for his brother. In his new chair, people responded more positively Brent, and the idea for what would become Wheelchair Labs, a nonprofit organization donating custom wheelchairs to those in need, was born.

Although his brother lost his battle with Parkinson’s, Lance continues to fix up chairs and donate them to those in need. He also builds robots and elaborate tailgating grills, contraptions which have helped land him on television shows such as Robot Wars and BattleBots and have made him a standout annual Burning Man arts and music festival attendee.

The 54-year-old Glendale resident, who works as a dental field service engineer by day, hopes to one day make building custom wheelchairs his full-time job. Greathouse has never been paid a salary for his custom creations, and he’s donated 20 chairs in the past year and is always in need of more donations to help others. Learn about how he got into building custom wheelchairs below, and keep scrolling to hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native, and my parents are also natives. I attended Alhambra High School, as did my father. I grew up watching (TV show) Wallace and Ladmo and having fun with friends and family at (amusement park) Legend City. I attended Arizona Technical Institute and earned a degree in electronics.

I’ll never leave Arizona. I can’t think of any other place I want to live. It has a little bit of everything — pines, lakes and desert — and I love it. Continue reading

Joy Li: Fashion Designer and Co-Owner of Studio Joy Li

Joy Li, photographed at her Studio Joy Li in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Joy Li, photographed at her Studio Joy Li in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Joy Li
twitter.com/STUDIOJoyLi

Joy Li is one of the Valley’s most prominent fashionistas. From being a fit model at Liz Claiborne, to designing for big brands such as Skechers, to owning her own Old Town Scottsdale studio and boutique for the past seven years, Li is on a mission to make functional, stylish clothes women will love wearing. Li, a 53-year-old Scottsdale resident, is the perfect model for her clothes, as her perfect-for-layering, classic-yet-edgy pieces make them ideal for on-the-go lifestyles such as hers.

Li recently released her fall line, with pieces starting at less than $70. She talked about where her love of fashion came from, and what her design process is like. You can also watch a video of Li talk about her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came by accident from California, from the Redondo Beach area. I was in a relationship that brought me out here, and when I came, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in Arizona.

I was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in New Jersey. I went to high school in upstate New York, then studied design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. My dad wouldn’t put me through fashion school, so that’s what I studied. Continue reading