There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Matthew Marshall | Artist and Educator

I was born in Mesa and raised in the suburbs of Chandler. My Mom’s family immigrated from Austria after WW2 and eventually settled in Phoenix in the 60s’. Growing up in an immigrant family undermined any sense of “belonging” I felt growing up in Chandler. In a way, this gave me a sense of freedom knowing that my identity is not tied to the physical space I occupied. This detachment is a driving force in the artwork I make. Chandler is a very young place, a city that strived for convenience and comfort over the preservation of history and culture. This leaves a vacuum in terms of cultural identity, a place where almost everyone is from somewhere else. Read more>>

Carol Cambridge | Founder of The Stay Safe Project

I’m from London, Ontario Canada originally although I have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for 28 years. As early as age 7, I found myself standing up for those who couldn’t speak for themselves, those who were afraid and those who had been abused. I stood up to bullies on the playground, on the police department and in later years bullies who threaten and intimidate others in corporations across North America. My Dad taught me that NO ONE ever had the right to bully me, abuse me or physically attack me. He taught me that girls were as strong or stronger than boys and he gave me the confidence to understand and believe that I could do anything that I set my mind to. Read more>>

Julian Chavez | Artist

I’m from a small town called Winslow in Arizona. My upbringing definitely was an artistic one. My family is artistic and I think that played a huge role for me growing up. My dad, uncle Jason and my uncle LD we’re my biggest influences into getting more into art and being more creative as I grew up. My uncle LD was an amazing tattoo artist out of Flagstaff Az, just growing up and spending time with him when I did before he passed was huge as in learning to do my own designs and characters. My Uncle Jason is my biggest influence by far, I look up to him and go to him with every piece before it’s done and get his input and advice on the piece that I’m doing at that time. He’s the reason why I’ve stuck with art for as long as I have, just becuase he has always supported me and given me honest criticism to help me grow as an artist. Read more>>