“My years of work as a researcher opened my eyes to the creativity that lies behind the scientific method. At the heart of science is curiosity and innovation; I believe art is a means to question the world around me.”

Alexandra Jimenez is a recipient of a 2015 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

Screenprint_ZaDesigner and illustrator Alexandra Jimenez is a descendent of the immigrant communities that shaped the culture of Tucson, and, as a current resident, she feels an urgency to document this district where increased urbanization is beginning the erasure of its visual and cultural history. Collaborating with her sister, Sharayah Jimenez, an architect who focuses on historic preservation, Jimenez is crafting Abecedario de Sur—a written and visual narrative that weaves together the histories of buildings with the people, the culture and the geography.

Abecedario_del_Sur_aAbecedario de Sur is a geographical alphabet book designed to function as a geographic and cultural tour through two important corridors in Tucson: South Sixth Avenue and South Twelfth Avenue. Abecedario del Sur highlights these streets’ unique typography and historical narratives as relayed by resident business owners, many of which are the Mexican families that have operated on these streets for generations. As the reader advances through the book, they simultaneously travel further south on the streets, collecting letters from the signs on buildings along the route. A corresponding screen-print series by Jimenez will provide another public access point to the work. The culminating art show and book release will be a celebration that brings together both the localized community in the south and the greater community of artists and educators in Tucson.

PortraitofAlex_aArizona native Alexandra Jimenez is an artist and researcher. Her image-making uses a variety of processes—design, illustration, animation, and printmaking—that often involves digitally combining hand-illustrated elements with photography, watercolors and vector images. Currently, she is using these art forms to explore both the personal and collective histories of the Sonoran Desert, including her own heritage and the changing landscape of Tucson, Arizona. Her book of design, history and collected narrative, Abecedario del Sur, will be published this year.

Jimenez began her higher education at Cornell with a degree in Animal Sciences focused in entomology and later went on to study Visual Communications at the University of Arizona. Her background as a scientist informs her perspectives and approach to art-making: a design problem or illustration project becomes a quest for the right question to ask, and the resultant image, the answer.

Alex is documenting the process of creating Abecedario de Sur on her website: www.alexclamation.com.

Perspectives: Alex! Jimenez

In 2015, the Arizona Commission on the Arts awarded designer and illustrator Alex! Jimenez an Artist Research and Development Grant in support of her project Abecedario de Sur, a geographical alphabet book designed to function as a geographic and cultural tour through Tucson's south side.

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Land Tracings

In June 2016, the Arts Commission presented an exhibition at Chartreuse, a contemporary art space on historic Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix, featuring work by five members of the 2015 cohort of Artist Research & Development Grant recipients. These five artists work in various media and address multiple thematic concerns, but at the core of their artistic practice is a common need to document a passing moment.

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Arizona Public Media visits a sonically-powered art installation that lets visitors influence rhythms and tones designed by Tucson musician Jim Colby, 2017 Artist Research and Development Grant recipient. Listen to the story on Arizona Spotlight (starts at 18:19). Photo: Andrew Brown bit.ly/2GNANCd ... See MoreSee Less

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What is your Creative Spark? Laina McWhorter of Phoenix describes her photograph, The Mother Road, "A relic of the Mother Road invites curious travelers to wander through time on the streets of Seligman, Arizona. I am fascinated by the history of Route 66 and the kitschy roadside attractions that popped up along its route during its heyday to entice visitors to stop."

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What is your Creative Spark? For Aisawan Chanpraphap of Maricopa, it is "Breath. The picture depicts the emotion of losing a tooth or maybe multiple teeth for the first time. I want it to represent the feeling of confusion and dismay at everyone's first encounter with losing their baby teeth. It represented my creative spark in that it shows where I pull my pieces from and what inspires me to make art, which is the human emotion and what makes us human."

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