Carlos Rivas Answers the YabYum Seven

Photos courtesy of Carlos Rivas

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Carlos Rivas. I was born in El Paso, TX. I am a local artist out of downtown Phoenix.

2. How did you get your start? 

Three events come to mind when I think about how I started.

1:  One day taking a stroll with my mom, I heard the roar of a glass blower’s oven. We went over to see him work. I was six years old and its the first time I heard the word Artist. Right there and then I knew I wanted to be an Artist.

2:  I used to live with my grandpa. Where I come from is a very crazy place, so my grandfather was strict and only allowed us to go out one day of the weekend. One weekend, I went out on a Friday. There was a huge party on Saturday and, of course, he said I couldn’t go. We argued, and argued until he got mad and raised his voice. When he raised his voice you knew to back off. The last thing he told me was, “Why don’t you paint? It makes me happy when I see you paint.” Immediately after, he went to his room and passed away. Now every time I paint I feel it makes him happy.

3:  The third significant moment as an Artist was when I walked into the Arizona Latino Art & Cultural Center with one of my pieces. Mario Mendia greeted me and told me that if  I brought back my piece framed he would display it. I did and he put it in the front window. What that did to my self-esteem I will never be able to put into words.

3. What inspires you?

Art, God, helping people, and the smile on my children’s faces.

4. What do you like about AZ?

I came from a not very progressive city. Every time we visited family on the West Coast, I just wanted to run away and stay there. One of my brothers moved to Phoenix. I remember that the first time I came to visit Phoenix felt like a mix of my hometown and the West Coast. It’s homey, friendly, and has good food. At the same time, it’s a large city that is progressive and I’ve been able to witness its growth.

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

People can see my work on murals that I’ve done throughout the city. 26th Pl & McDowell, 12th St & Oak, 15th Ave & the Durango Curve, Barrio Cafe. And, my most recent, behind Sky Lounge & Bar Smith. I also have an exhibit at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown. I am a resident artist at the ALAC so my work is always there.

6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Before I die, I want to make sure my children Karla and Seven are prepared to take on the world. I also want to fill them with truth. I also want to paint as many buildings and canvases as possible as they will be here when I’m gone. That way my Art will continue to inspire when I’m gone. You only die if you’re forgotten.

7. What is your mantra? 

My mantra is probably to follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Following a dream isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it!!


A work in progress painted during the Vial of Sound release show. Photo by Mark Anderson
For more info and pictures, please visit his website
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