Chris Santa Maria
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When I was 14, my mom would drive me to this old building in downtown Phoenix called The Artery. It had an artist-run exhibition space on the ground floor and studios in the basement. On Saturdays, I would go down there and spend up to 8 hours just making work with this kooky middle-aged airbrush artist.
I remember the skin on his arms looking like it was vacu-sealed to his veiny flesh. And he had one of those thinning rat tails you can only find at a Sci-Fi convention. He would scream explitives at me - like a drill sergeant instructing his platoon - while I dismantled my Iwata HP-C airbrush, cleaned it, and put it back together again. Then he had me spray a grid with hundreds of colorful dots (ranging in size and saturation) until I could steadily control the flow and pressure of the tiny machine.
Then we talked about what I wanted to make. I dug up a few examples of things I was really into during middle school.