Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Carlton Louie | Student & Photographer

I was born in Tucson to two immigrant parents from Hong Kong. My time spent in Hong Kong growing up was my first exposure to photography. With an abundance of camera stores and photographers, there were plenty of resources to help me get started photographing subjects that interested me. Because of this a lot of my family were hobbyist photographers and gave me my first lessons and in High School, my uncle gave me his old Minolta 35mm film camera. I was bitten by the film bug as it gave me a completely different approach to taking pictures. Film led me to slow down and approach each subject carefully. My southwest upbringing influenced my subjects as I was fascinated by the midcentury and early 20th-century architecture that is preserved in Tucson and all across the Southwest. With my father growing up in southwestern New Mexico I became very attracted to the abandoned buildings that are left to decompose in the brutal desert. Read more>>

David Nuttall | Artist and Cartographer

I was born in the small mining village of Aberfan in South Wales. I only lived there until my family moved when I was 5, but the events around the disaster and recovery there impacted my Dad’s work and life and I can still see the knock-on effects now. I was taught that I should attempt the things that I wanted to and that often “money was not the most important thing” when making a decision. I was lucky to have a geography teacher that saw my love of maps and suggested I apply to become a cartographer and be formally trained, instead of continuing schooling, and my parents supported me in this direction, including lifts to work before I had my own vehicle. The ethics of doing the things you love, in life, in sports, work and with friends and family was strong and my brother, sister and myself all went to different schools and took different paths, showing how unique/different our parents thought we were and that we should be treated accordingly. I know my ability to speak to a group or a crowd comes from my Dad and seeing him remain calm in many situations has definitely influenced how I try to handle situations. Definitely “inherited”: Calmness, humor and dedication. Read more>>

Prabhs Matharoo | Co-Owner of Studio Singh – Knife Maker

My family is originally from India and moved to Muscat, Oman close to 40 years ago and a few years after their moving, I was born. I had a very fortunate upbringing, with parents who worked very hard to provide a great life for us; I learned the beginnings of my work ethic from them. The biggest change that’s had the most impactful change has been immigrating to the US I came to Tucson, to study Architecture at the University of Arizona, when I was 17 and while I had family in the country, they weren’t living with me. The closest family I had was a flight away and that’s when my independence started to form, knowing that the only person that could give immediate help, was me. I won’t lie: it was terrifying. I wasn’t even 18, living in a completely new continent and going from a strong support system to only having a virtual one. Through the years, going to school, learning more about myself, making mistakes and learning lessons I grew in ways I never through I would Going through the immigration process has given me a lot of perspective on life. Read more>>

Alejandro Macias | Visual Artist and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona

I was born and raised in Brownsville, TX, near the Gulf Coast and along the U.S./Mexico border. I have a background in visual art and after spending the majority of my personal and professional life in South Texas, I moved to Tucson, AZ in 2019 after acquiring a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona School of Art I believe coming from a marginalized border area, I have been deeply affected by my upbringing as a second generation Mexican-American. In 2016, amidst an important and historical election, I felt compelled to make the socio-political leap and address themes of heritage, ethnicity, immigration, assimilation, identity within contemporary America. I am mostly a figurative painter and draftsman and use the figure as a vessel to constructively address issues that are most important to me. I believe the work itself has made me reflect internally on who I am, while also making me externally aware and empathetic of the people around me. Read more>>

Brandy Isadora | Photographer & Author

I’ve spent most of my life in Arizona, so I feel a deep connection with Phoenix, particularly with the art community. From the time I was very young, I was immersed in the arts in one way or another. As a child, my parents collected vintage movie posters and glamour headshots. The walls in my home were covered with the faces of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Bridgette Bardot, Errol Flynn, David Lee Roth, and many others. As a result, I became fascinated with photography. However, it wasn’t until many years later that I would even consider photography as part of my career. When I was eighteen, I invented the Bisadora Hip Purse, which received an Engineering Patent and launched my career as a handbag designer. During my time in the fashion industry, I learned a lot about photography, marketing, and being an entrepreneur in the art world. Over time, I realized that I loved combining my skills as a photographer and writer. In 2014, I decided to turn that passion into a career. Read more>>

Julie Hudson | Spiritual Guide, Published Author & Singer-Songwriter

I’m from Holden, Maine. I had a strict religious upbringing in a small rural town. This set the stage for my spiritual path, although I didn’t stay in the religion. I left around age 30 after discovering through reading about other people’s near-death experiences that there was more to “God” and the “Afterlife” than I was taught! This transformation caused me to change completely! I dropped judgements, limiting beliefs, and hesitations to live fully. Eventually I found myself living from the heart, which I define by choosing love over fear in every decision I make! What follows is profound inner peace, joy, and gratitude. This is how I became a spiritual practitioner, published author, and singer-songwriter. Living from the heart increases my creative flow and therefore affects both my business and my clients in very positive ways. Read more>>

Réka Nagy-Vicsacsán | Réka N. Vicsacsán | Communications Specialist, Founder & President

I was born in Romania into a family of Hungarian origin. My background and upbringing impacted significantly who I am today. Due to belonging to a minority group I learned to appreciate multiple cultures that have surrounded me. I have also understood the importance of preserving one’s culture and what difficulties does one face during the process. Being raised basically in two cultures, I have acquired some knowledge from both that shaped who I am today like being a more acceptive and open minded person, to value innovative ideas, as well as being appreciative of the differences that separate us from others, not just the similarities that connect us. Read more>>