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Java.March.2017

“We can spend so much

“We can spend so much energy battling with the external world, going for just the right look, fitting in with the right people and maintaining the right public image. Real success for me is not about financial gain or even about being a public figure. It’s about being fulfilled—and that would be the case even if I still had to work a full-time job and art was just a hobby.” Success in art has as many definitions as there are artists to achieve it. For Brown, the most powerful art springs from a well-developed sense of connection. Fulfillment comes from finding an internal space where new ideas can sprout and flourish. This happens both during the time he spends drawing and when he’s interacting with friends and fans of his work. Brown also describes his transition to full-time artist as a slow and steady process. “It doesn’t feel very natural to suddenly decide to switch. I was able to just ease into it, so that I wasn’t front-loading it, and I stayed in contact with myself. I knew that if I paid attention, I’d continually find out what I needed to do next.” The entire east wall of the Westminster apartment building on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix is covered with shades of greens, blues and grays in an evolving pattern. The broad, organic swoops fade into digitized boxes along the two-story edifice. On top of the waves of green lie one hundred concentric rings painted in red, gold and yellow—a psychedelic version of the rings of a chopped tree. The Westminster wall is one of Brown’s most recognizable murals in Phoenix, and until recently it was visible from several blocks away. Now, a six-story development obscures the view from anywhere except the alley between the two buildings. Like most residents of downtown Phoenix who have been here for some time, Brown’s daily life has been affected by the abrupt construction and scenery changes taking place. The need to keep a thriving arts community alive is more present than ever before, and is more challenging than ever. Brown’s response to this is to be as proactive as possible. He said, “I think the trick is just to stay focused and not let the noise 10 JAVA MAGAZINE

distract me. There is a lot more noise, but artists are the signal, and if the artists stay focused, the signal will grow stronger.” Another one of Brown’s responses to the changes in Phoenix comes in the form of a new space set to open in March. What has functioned as Brown’s studio for the past year will now open to the public as a community space geared toward visual arts. It will also be available for private events. Megaphone Space, an uptown gallery/community space tucked behind Hula’s Modern Tiki, is a collaboration between Brown, Lani Hudson and Christian Adame. Megaphone Space will serve as the venue for the Sleisure 20th anniversary celebration on March 10, and will have its first art opening on March 18 with “Saguaro Watching Us,” a collection of saguaro paintings by Brown. On April 21, the second gallery show, entitled “Pattern Recognition,” will feature new works by artist JJ Horner. Megaphone will also host several art-related events, including free-drawing and collage nights, which are designed to encourage newcomers and veteran artists to become more involved with the community and the creative process. “We’re coming to the point where people want something besides the gym. They want that same exertion of power, but with some freedom to it. Creating art is an accessible way to do that. You don’t even have to talk—just make that time functional and powerful for you,” said Brown. In times of upheaval, we are continually looking for ways to find balance in our lives. Artists like Andrew Brown are providing options for rediscovering that balance. “If you draw for ten minutes, you start to shed your default background thinking,” he said. “Whether you’re shading circles, drawing squares or doing something more abstract or gestural, the more you do it, the more you get in the space where you’re expanding your time. You’re in ‘reality time’ and not clock time.” For upcoming events at Megaphone, follow @megaphonephx and @sleisure on Instagram, or go to www.soldierleisure.com. Photos by Charles Darr JAVA 11 MAGAZINE

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