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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Phil Young - Inspiring Artist


This is Phil Young, an inspiring and phenomenal Cherokee and Scotch-Irish artist. I had the pleasure of meeting Phil for the first time this past April when artist Gregg Emery (my husband) and I, did an artist talk at Hartwick College. Phil is my husband's college art professor and much more, they traveled together to the Southwest and Phil made a deep, resonating connection with Gregg. While we were visiting, Phil gave us intimate views of his most recent work and a special in-depth tour of his studio!! We were so fortunate to have this undivided time with Phil. Gregg and I own quite a few of his pieces of art from years back. However, his most recent work continues to be deeply provocative as Phil has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and comes face to face with this via his artwork. Since I have been known to do 'Inspiring Artists' posts, as I walked through his studio layered with a lifetime of art-making, I thought 'I'm so going to blog about this!!!' So here is a peek into the images, art and words of Phil Young.



"This work is honoring the Creator, the Earth, our non-human neighbors, my family, and the communities from which I come, some of whom are still disconnected. It is also meant as a recognition of years of grappling with cultural outrage, invasive MS, and an affirmation of the powerful, loving beauty of this variegated world and my family stories to reclaim history and identity with hope, humor and healthy being."


"Each night I give myself a Copaxone shot, one of the medicines with some success at lowering the severity and rate of “progression” of Multiple Sclerosis. It is like meeting a friendly scorpion which acts as a decoy for the MS shark, feeding on the medicine instead of our bodies. This form of autoimmune disease attacks the myelin sheath around our nerves, much like insulation around electrical wires. So, when I’ve had double vision, or more recently, great difficulty walking, the messages from the brain and central nervous system don’t come through correctly."


"The drawings often incorporate the back and front diagram of an “idea” body, printed on the instructions from the manufacturer of the medicine. Upon this graphic, muscularly healthy body are grids of injection sites to be rotated: the abdomen, the back of the upper arms, and the right and left hips. There are even warnings such as “inject at least two inches from the navel”. I have enlarged, cropped and printed these shot sites as black and white negative squares on clear acetate. The viewer can expect the unpredictable predictability of MS to generate narratives of continuity and disruption...

...The materials are red sandstone from my home state of Oklahoma, a mixture of charcoal, conte pencils, pastels transferred used to make a form of "carbon paper" (tracing paper), some iridescent acrylic (usually copper), and pencil on a(r)ches cover buff. The numbers were blind stamped into the paper from both sides, somewhat randomly, as were the areas of scratched and pounded points. Sometimes the charcoal and other dry drawing media were blown after they left random marks when the transfer paper was taken off. The tool to make the numbers was one that permanently put serial numbers on car engines and other parts. It will make impressions in steel. The small round puncture holes which also can be seen going in and sometime rising up are a graphic equivalent of giving me(the paper) a daily injection of my Multiple Sclerosis Copaxone medicine."


This is a glimpse of the inside of Phil's studio. Phil built this studio himself and he built it on rafters so that the whole space could be picked up and moved where-ever he goes!! I find artist studio shots to be as much self-portraits as facial self portraits.


Here Phil is showing us an art piece that is a play on kitsch jewelry that is often found at trading posts.


These photos from two series: “Trading Post Ruins: Delaminations and Cancellations” and the others from “Kinship”, both installations.
The process is; "I found Fiber based paper to be the right one to give me the quality and range of experimentation that I’ve sought since I began these. So, I go into the darkroom armed with the dremmel tool, hammer, Jerry’s mechanic stamping tool, nails, and in the Kinship series, a range of fishing hooks. In the dark, I begin to attack the paper, again from both sides, with the tools. I use the rather small pointed dremmel tool, again related to shots or pock marks, etc. and when used as a drawing line, it sometimes creates a surface like scarification of the skin or incisions. I also use permanent pigment pens, black, silver, copper. Writing is quasi-legible and again includes portions of family stories, some frenetic, Parkinsonian-like marks like my Dad had near the end of his life."


"After all the work on the photo paper, it is then exposed. Instead of putting the whole piece into the developer, I spray it like working on a painting. When the spray is more from the side, it catches on the raised scarification lines and reinforces a kind of topography. TP ruins pieces, the acetate is laid down on top of the paper before it is exposed, thus leaving a ghost like image of the words, which has some interesting ironies as related to some of the specific texts."

Another kitsch jewelry piece!!


"The planks of wood are wooden cedar shingles, each of which are from a rejected bundle which has marvelous holes in them. What you saw are part of a series which I made which includes sections from a poem I wrote, “Wetumka”. What I did was use a dremmel to write in the letters. The marks are very much in line with the marks in the installation papers and that appear in my most “mature” paintings and drawing/collages. After this first stage of the “gouged” inscriptions, I go back and do some subtle painting by staining randomly to reinforce both deterioration and the elevation of family story (again some minor use of iridescent acrylics, hair, dried blood color). How these particular shingles will be displayed is yet to be determined."

Click on Image to See POSTCARDS!

If you are interested in purchasing any of Phil Young's paintings (such as the one at the very beginning of this post), I found that Phil is represented by the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, let me know!

Reader Comments (3)

I love this intimate look at an amazing artist. What a powerful influence he has had for generations of artists at Hartwick and beyond. There is rarely a week that goes by that I don't rely on his teaching or simply smile at the thought of our travels or sharing mutton on the road. Thank-you for rekindling my memories and opening up this amazing artists work to your extended blog family.

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstain boy

hi Amaretto! His work looks incredible! thanks for sharing this!
My son used to attend ONeonta, Hartwicks neighbor! Are you from that neck of the woods?
That makes it ever More feasible to have sandbox time! haha
Im not sure what we can do Am, I am quite unmotivated and feeling like Im in a slump this week. Maybe we can make a summer playdate! haha!
thanks for your comment earlier.. You would LOVE giggles blog, if u haven't already been there. Have a great weeek. ♥

June 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlucy

what a cool studio.

do i need to stop by and pick up medusa?
also check this out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26687004@N02/?saved=1

any color ideas? i'm looking into making a stencil and taking nyc by storm.

June 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterisabellllla

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