YabYum Seven: Kris Manzanares

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All photos courtesy of Kris Manzanares

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a dusty dog knocking around in my back yard studio. I make fairy houses and log cabins. I use the bark I’ve stripped off trees and leftover vegetables to make sails. I cut off branches to make dysfunctional boats. I sew things together. I sit in my studio while mulberries drop and fester all around me, and happily paint until it’s time to go pick up the kids.

How did you get your start?

One liquid summer day while I was exploring a creek in the Maryland woods, I discovered that the clay banks were actually made out of real clay. I dug some of that dry stuff clay out with a little stick and took it home to make weird, lumpy cups and animals that cracked and fell apart. Such joy! I didn’t know it then, but I had found my heart’s desire. After scores of years of school, I find my most fulfilling thing to do is just that: to sit around and make things.

What inspires you?

Whenever I finish a work that’s good it feels so great I immediately want to make another. Or if I sell a piece, then that’s motivating, too – it means my work is out there communicating with the world.

What do you like about AZ?

It’s newness. The culture is not so old and entrenched as it is in the East – there is definitely a cowboy element to it, for better or worse, where people are going to do whatever they want, no matter what anyone says.

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“Girl wearing a felt hat”

Where can we see your work?

Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 11 Miles of Color until April 30. MonOrchid during the month of September.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I feel like my art has not gotten to the place where I can step back and say, “Yes, that’s it! I’ve got it” Maybe I will never get there, and that’s OK because the journey is amazing, but I’d like to get a little closer, maybe to a, “Yes, I think I’m onto something.” Or maybe to collaborate on a project with one of my kids when they grow up; that would be awesome.

What is your mantra?

What if I’m a mermaid . . . ?

Or any early Tori Amos. I don’t have word mantras so much as musical mantras: Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Gorillaz, Beck – they keep me going.


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“Girl With Kite”

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“Girl wearing fantastical bird skull hat”

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