We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Ann LaRoche and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mary Ann, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In life, it is imperative to take risks if anything is to get accomplished. We each have our own level of comfort, and trying new things, making decisions, choosing this or that, it all takes some degree of effort. Some people thrive on these things, while others struggle with change or choices. Anything new from an idea to conception is a risk, but how you participate in the process is what makes the “risk” easy or hard. I didn’t always find risk easy, it was a miserable, foreign, difficult process for me, that I have had to work on. It is all about your own mindset and who you surround yourself with. It starts with the idea, then you have to really decide, do you want to do the work to make it happen. Most things take effort, change, trial and error, discipline, and dedication. I know people say this about risk but it is true, “You have to keep at it”! It isn’t going to be easy at times, it is going to be a challenge, that is why it is a risk in the first place. You have to commit to working through the obstacles, and you have to find supportive people to surround yourself with. Those people have to be your cheerleaders who help you think it through. Finally, it is a blessing if you pray upon it, and really work with GOD. If I hadn’t taken risks, I would have NEVER reaped the reward from all the hard work. It would still just be a thought. Instead I took action!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Art is not just a medium that you use to “make” a visual conception with. Art is how you process, view, think, feel, embellish, battle, review, tackle, and develop. Art comes out of us all in so many ways. For me, I wanted to “make things” and build what I was passionately feeling or thinking about. My journey started with making things that people could think about, and hit them with the idea that there is more than one way to think about things. I am ambidextrous so I think about things from both sides a lot. My art started as a point of view to really take in and learn from as the individual who was looking at it. I am a worker bee, and I wanted to be self employed. To that, I had to find a creative outlet that people would want in their home. I don’t think I compromised at all, by switching gears and matching up making/creating in a way that captured an audience to buy my work. As an artist, I wanted to create, build, and keep learning new techniques. So, I had to take a risk and decide what would be next for my personal thirst to accomplish all of these things, and stillmake a living.

From there, I wanted to make things that people could use daily, and enjoy, so I started blacksmithing and creating functional art like light fixtures, gates, and furniture. As I said, an artist has no real definitive medium from which to create, it is the act of creating that is the art. Taking something from your mind, and bringing it to life, that is art. My finest art piece has been creating SEEDs for Autism, and what it has represented to so many lives. It isn’t on a canvas, it isn’t on a wall, or hanging tangibly for people to view….it is something that has purpose, meaning, and takes TONS OF CREATIVITY and artistic flair. It is exciting to take all the paths and lessons I have developed on my own journey and now share them with others. SEEDs is a place of artists who mentor, and make a difference. It is a passion that affects beyond a visual sense, and impacts lives. That is the best art to create in the world! None of this has been easy. It has been a daily, I mean a daily struggle. I am always in over my head, and yet because I have faith, and rely on the input of others, this has a true to life story with reality written all over it. To be successful, you can’t be a quitter, you can never quit. You can change paths, change players, change your mind, but you can never quit!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Where would I take someone who is visiting from out of town,….Ugh, this is a hard one. My life is pretty boring. I stay at home a lot. I know I would have to take them to at least see some of the most visually spectacular places here in Arizona like Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Walnut Canyon to walk the paths and see the ruins. I would want to take hikes with them to show them the awe inspiring beauty that makes this state so unique. I think we would go to the Wildlife Zoo, and possibly the Heard museum. For food, well my husband and I like to cook and hang out in our beautiful backyard. So, we would do that too. As for a very special dining experience I would have to say El Encanto in Cave Creek or Aunt Chiladas at Dreamy Draw . Again, for me it is the food and the scenery that make the experience memorable.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Life is certainly a journey. It takes tenacity, awareness, open-mindedness, and truly wanting to make a change that can only come from deep within. You can whine, cry, be depressed, hurt and broken, but you can also be happy, dream, and act on making life better. I have done all of these. For me, I was tired of being a victim, and wanted to really dive in where it was dark, and make the changes within to be whole, and purposeful. I had a dream to fulfill and I couldn’t do it being broken, I had to start liking myself and let go of the false horrible view I had of myself. For me it was a process to get there and truly heal. It came from different times in my life when I would find the right book and commit to reading it and absorbing it. Those books were: The Courage to Heal, The Artists way, The Purpose Driven Life, The Dream Giver, and the bible. Each of these books helped me grow, enriched my heart and taught me how to believe in myself in a whole and healthy way. Finally, it took being around the right people who didn’t hold me back, make fun of my ideas, and encouraged me. I have to firstly thank my brother Paul, my hero who taught how to care with all my heart for others and be alongside as their champions. Secondly, my mom, who made me grow up early in life with responsibility and awareness to be strong when others couldn’t be. Finally, my husband and best friend Randy, who cheers me on each and every step, and helped me make my dreams realities.

Website: https://www.seedsforautism.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SEEDSforAutism/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsrMiJCxKSJFS7IKOSrTkzA

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