Nicole McCord of Tempe's Urban Art Tattoo and Piercing on Pinterest Tattoos, Mythology, and Inking Dark, Sultry Ladies

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Josh Chesler
McCord's eccentric style of tattooing fits best with bigger tattoos, as evidenced by the outlines of back pieces and leg sleeves behind her

When Nicole McCord started tattooing in 1996, she was under the same mistaken impression that she believes a lot of young people fall for.

"I originally didn't want to be a starving artist, and I was one of those kids who assumed that tattooers were all rock stars," McCord says. "I was wrong, obviously, but it's very rewarding. I'm glad I'm not just doing something to pay the bills."

When she's not tattooing, McCord spends her free time on her other artistic passions, like painting and drawing.

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Steven J. Tepper, New ASU Herberger Institute Dean, Talks Arts, Policy, and Community

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Andy DeLisle
Steven J. Tepper is the new Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU
No need to wonder whatever became of the little boy whose mom sent him to his first drawing class at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. when he was just 10 or 11 years old.

You'll find Steven J. Tepper heading the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where 4,700 students are studying in five schools.

His purview also includes the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus.

Until recently, the institute's new dean was an associate professor in Vanderbilt's sociology department and associate director for that university's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.

He continues to serve as research director for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project based at Indiana University, which gives him powerful insights into what becomes of art students once they graduate.


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Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on Growing Up with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Race, and What It Takes to Do a One-Woman Show

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Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni stars in a one-woman show written by her and produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni wants to talk about race in America -- and she's got an idea of where she wants to start. The writer-actor-director-producer extraordinaire will bring her one-woman show, One Drop of Love, to Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, November 1.

Inspired by her own experiences with race, family, and reconciliation, One Drop of Love endeavors to explore these concepts in a funny, relatable way. In addition to giving two performances, Cox DiGiovanni will be hosting a panel discussion and community dialogue on Thursday, October 31, at the Arizona Opera Center. We spoke with the creative about her performance, her history, and her first-ever visit to Arizona.


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Bob Boze Bell Brings "201 Zany Zonies" and The 66 Kid to Tempe and Phoenix

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Bob Boze Bell
"Terry Goddard vs. Margaret Hance"
Bob Boze Bell wears many hats, most of them cowboy.

The longtime Arizona resident has worked as an artist and author, contributing work for big screen productions as well as publications including National Lampoon, Playboy, Arizona Highways, and New Times. This is in addition to serving as a publisher and co-owner of True West Magazine.

Despite being called everything from author to historian, Bell considers himself only one thing. "I'm just a cartoonist with a passion for the Wild West."

Even before moving to Kingman, Arizona, from Swea City, Iowa, in 1956, Bell, like many children of the Atomic Age, was obsessed with all things western.

"Ever since my grandma said Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk whoever walked the Wild West and Wyatt Earp was my favorite TV show. . . That really kind of launched me on a journey to find out the truth about the Wild West that's portrayed in television and movies."


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Hannah Minkner on Making Friends, the Power of Instagram, and Forging Your Own Way

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Madeleine Alexandra Browning
Hannah Minkner will be speaking about her love of collaboration at the Method + Madness Conference Saturday, October 18.
"Seriously, it's all about making friends."

That's one of the last lines in Phoenix photographer Hannah Minkner's "about" section on her website Weekends Are for Lovers, or WAFL. But after spending even half an hour with Minkner, whose background is in design work, it is clear that this is not just a hokey, feel-good cliche for the 25-year-old. It is a way of life, infused in everything she does, and it has gotten her where she is today.

In her talk "Be Free, Not Cheap: Why I Love Collaboration" Saturday, October 18, at the Method + Madness Conference during Phoenix Design Week, Minkner will explain why she's so drawn to getting to know and work with other creatives, rather than just taking on clients, and will probably show you some pretty amazing photos of friends she's made along the way.


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Chuck Palahniuk on Beautiful You, Arousal Addiction, and Chick Lit

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Courtesy of Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk will be at Dobson High School in Mesa on October 23.

When he graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree in 1986, Chuck Palahniuk probably didn't think he would go on to be a bestselling author and one of the most popular novelists for a generation that isn't exactly known for its love of books.

And when Palahniuk, now 52, began taking fiction-writing classes while working for truck manufacturer Freightliner, he might not have thought it would lead to him writing over 15 (and counting) internationally renowned books translated into several languages.

But it did. Though the author hasn't let it affect him too much.


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Josh Higgins on His Work for Obama, Inspiration, and Changing the World Through Design

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Courtesy of Josh Higgins
Josh Higgins will be speaking about the moments that changes his life at the Method & Madness Conference Saturday, October 18.
It hit him on a Friday night and was delivered by Jimmy Fallon. Josh Higgins watched as the Late Night host began writing his famous thank you notes on air. "Thank you, Barack Obama..." Fallon said as the image with the word "Forward," white against a blue background with that famous Obama logo filling the "o," flashed up on the screen. The image that Higgins, as President Obama's design director for his 2012 campaign, and his team had created was displayed for the entire country to see. It was then that Higgins realized the scale of his work and the impact it was having on the country.

"What a trip," Higgins says.

Of course, he immediately called his roommate in to share the moment. Higgins says there are a couple moments that changed his "trajectory," as he calls it, in life, and he'll be talking about them on Saturday, October 18, at the Method + Madness conference during Phoenix Design Week.


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Wanda Sykes on Having Kids, Turning 50, and the Problem With Being Too Cool

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Roger Erickson
There aren't many people who sound like Wanda Sykes.

Then again, there aren't many people like Wanda Sykes, period. The longtime comedian who's battled cancer, come out as gay, remarried and had children all while in the spotlight, safely stands in a category all her own.

But it's not just her personal life that has managed to go in all different directions. When it comes to her career, Sykes keeps her plate full as a writer, actor, producer, and first and foremost, a stand-up comedian. Between her many projects, we caught up with Sykes on the phone to discuss motherhood, comics who are too cool for school, and why she doesn't bother with labels.


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National Geographic Photographer Steve Winter on How a Turtle Changed His Life

Categories: Events, Interviews

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Sharon Guynup
National Geographic photographer Steve Winter his close calls, memorable moments, and conservation efforts at Mesa Arts Center on October 15.
After you've been charged by a rhino while riding an elephant and come face to face with some of the world's largest cats in the wild, speaking in front of a packed auditorium must seem run-of-the-mill.

At least, that's how we imagine National Geographic photographer Steve Winter will feel when he takes the stage Wednesday, October 15, as part of the eighth season of National Geographic Live at Mesa Arts Center.


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Ralphie May on Filthy Comedy and What He Learned From Sam Kinison

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Courtesy of Ralphie May
Don't let May's size fool you, his comedy is more than just a handful of fat jokes.

Ralphie May didn't take the stereotypical route to comedy stardom. But it doesn't really matter how you get there, because you're going to pay your dues in one way or another.

"There are a lot of different paths to be a stand-up comic," May says. "But there's no easy path to do it; all of them really grind you down."


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