We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremy Arviso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeremy, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born here in Phoenix, Arizona and have lived throughout the Valley. I’m comprised of the Diné (Navajo), Hopi, Gila River Pima, and Tohono O’odham tribal nations. Lived most of my childhood and adolescence on the outer margins of society not quite sure where my identity fit. I was told constantly by my mother that we were Indian, but I never seen any where we lived in the city. In school and in the movies, Indians were always the bad guys or very poorly treated and it was a very embarrassing. At a young age I knew there was something not right about the world we lived in and it would take me many years to figure that out. In all actuality, I believe I’m still trying to figure that out, most Native Americans are and it’s one of the driving forces of why I create. It’s 2022 and we’re still fighting invisibility and repression of our voices. The little but remaining lands we have the government and big business wants to take away from us. They’ve already taken our land, resources, water, air, language, our children and our religious beliefs from us in the past and now they want to take our culture, image and fashion. We’re not standing by and letting it happen anymore and I’ve used art, design and fashion as my vehicles of expression. A lot can be said with one t-shirt graphic or accessory and I’ve used these as weapons against colonialism. Learning about the past and educating yourself about history is a requisite for many higher education institutions but they are not teaching what has happened to the Native American. We’re teaching each other and empowering one another through social media and other platforms of information sharing. My Indigenous heritage has most definitely impacted who I am today and is what keeps my work on a path to decolonisation.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is an extension of my life experience. What sets me apart from others is my life experience, I’ve been able to travel the world and see places I’ve only dreamed of. On these travels, I take what I’ve seen, heard, ate, smelled learned and put that into my work. Recently, I was admitted into the 1ooth Santa Fe Indian Market which is the oldest Native American arts and crafts show in the World. I’ve very honoured to be included into this esteemed annual event, it’s my first time. I’ve had to fail many times to get to where I’m at professionally, it’s not an easy road choosing this life and a lot don’t make it so I’m grateful. Making the decision to quit the use of drugs and alcohol 27 months ago has drastically changed my life and is the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my career. I’d like to be known as RVSO, owner and designer behind the Original Landlords brand and I’m just getting started at the ripe age of 43.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve actually done this with friends from Tokyo and hosted them here for a whole week in 2016! In 2022, I’d make accommodations for them to stay at Cambria in downtown Phoenix for the first two nights. We’d check out some of the murals my friends have painted on Roosevelt Row and pop in on local spots like the Churchill (sup Tell) and Cahokia (hey Eunique & Melody). Have dinner at vegan restaurant Earth on Grand Ave then some drinks at my friend Ari’s bar Cobra. Live music at Crescent Ballroom then pizza and drinks at Ziggy’s for some pinball. Then, we’d get on a short 25 minute flight north to Page, AZ via Contour Airlines ($69) to see the world famous Upper Antelope Canyon (www.adventurousantelopecanyon.com) to get photos in the light beams and shoot over to Horseshoe Bend for an IG shot! Rent a car and drive south to the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona for an immersive experience of the transition zone from the Colorado Plateau to the Sonoran desert. It’s one of the most beautiful drives in the southwest. The next few days would be spent relaxing pool side at the Talking Stick resort.
(I work in tourism and am the marketing director for Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours if you can tell, lol.)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My story involves a multitude of family, friends, colleagues, collaborators, mentors and even enemies. First and foremost I would like to recognise my mother Jackson Harris who brought me into this world and raised me as a single mother. She showed me at a very young age that hard work and determination is what would take me out of the hood and to always believe in myself no matter what anyone said. She also gave me the gift of gab and I learnt the art of hustling from her side of the family, a tribe of gypsies and thieves if you will. My father’s side is where I got the creativity from, my grandmother is a retired farmer, jeweller and silversmith. She still weaves the famous Navajo rug style from sheep wool and I’ve started a collection of collaborations with her! It was from her that I have my earliest memories of arts and crafts, dedication and the practice of skill. The men in my life were seldom around and I was literally raised by women, my entire life has been in the company of matriarchy. My sister Jessica has been my partner in crime since birth, we’re the epitome the idiom “ride or die” and have survived through some challenging circumstances together. I’d like to give my friend Chopper Dave of the shoe company Vans a shoutout for keeping me laced! He’s always believed in me since meeting him 20 years ago and has been a consistent motivator, mover and shaker. My brother Adam Dumper of The Blunt Club has always been a supporter of my work and a trail blazer for Hip Hop. I’d also like to give CAHOKIA SocialTech & ArtSpace a shoutout!
Other: TikTok: @rvso78