Brandish is a series of photographs about the tools that artists in Albuquerque, New Mexico use to bring creative work into this world. It is a collaboration between myself and writer Josh Stuyvesant for the magazine, Brandish is about each artists’ most-leveraged tool — that tool without which the artist would not be able to do his or her specific batch of creativity.

See the origonal series at Pyragraph.



Amanda Machon
Lead Vocalist of Red Light Cameras

“It’s my little friend, the cough drop. It gives me a little love before and after the show. I’ll do my warm-up and then I’ll throw a cough drop in and chill before we start, and when we’re done I put one in just to kind of sooth everything. I’d have a hard time living without it.”


Austin Madrid and Kendra Crooks
Owners and Producers at JAK Media

“Our hard drives are our most personified tool because they’re our constant antagonist. It’s so strange that whatever we make has a shelf life on these things. The last hard drive that died was the first one where everything on it was backed up. It was a wonderful thing.”







Brett Randell

“Travel is a big part of my songwriting and touring processes. Over the last six years, I’ve stayed on 100-150 couches, and it’s people’s hospitality and awesomeness that keeps me going and circles back into the songwriting. A couch for me isn’t even the thing—it’s a person opening up their house, friendship, and space.”



Chela Gurnee
Jewelry Designer

“The Foredom rotary tool is super versatile. It can be a drill, it can polish, it can sand. It’s like 10 tools in one. I use it every time I’m in the studio for one thing or another, sometimes in five applications a day.”


Chris Burnett
Web Entertainer and Host of 10 Drink Minimum

“I think the art of the talk is a lost art. The power of talk, the power to improvise, to sit down for two hours and talk about anything, to play off other people and show my intellect and comedy and sadness. People often ask, ‘What’s the show about tonight?’ and I say, ‘Well, I don’t know yet.'”


David Santiago

“I use Instagram to post pictures my audience can engage with and follow along the journey with me from beginning to end of each of my paintings. They’re in the city with me, right behind me, as the adventure unfolds.”


Emily Hill
Freelance Writer

“I’m car-free. So as a freelance writer, I bike around everywhere, often to meet clients. And I want to look fancy. Sometimes biking and looking fancy is hard. But my secret is bike shorts. Under any skirt, dress, etc., bike shorts enable me to get around while still looking professional.”


Gage Bickerstaff
Guitarist/Vocalist in The Lymbs

“Most of my songwriting starts with this Les Paul. It’s the first thing I go to, my portal into my artistic realm. I’ve had it long enough—it’s got scars and history. This is the guitar I’ve used the entire time I’ve been in The Lymbs, and it has become signature in creating the tone that we have.”


Hannah Kauffmann

“The collective knowledge of the Tricklock Company members is the tool I brandish. We have such varied and diverse backgrounds. We’re all trained in very different aspects of creation, but we share a common vocabulary of what it is we are trying to create. And because of that we’re able to function together beautifully.”


Lisa Nevada
Contemporary Dancer and Choreographer

“Hair ties, clips, accoutrements. Keeping my hair out of my face helps to keep me focused on the creation process. Hair can be very distracting; it stops the flow of the body’s creation. Dancers use the body as the tool to communicate. If your hair is a distraction, it takes away from whatever you’re trying to express.”


Jason Fink

“I completely refurbished this plane from being a rust-bucket flea market find. I have that connection to it. A lot of my work is power tool driven; I’m not going to grab this for every project. But the ability to remove controlled amounts of wood makes the plane the essence of woodworking. It becomes symbolic of the whole thing.”



Kevin Pierce
Production Designer

“My notebook is the tool I brandish because it holds all the information I’m going to forget eventually. It’s tangible. I can always go back for names, numbers, addresses, locations, notes, drawings, measurements. It becomes an assistant. It holds the concrete evidence of conversations, meetings, and ideas that take form.”



Kyle Ruggles

“My ears are constantly on. I hear sounds and frequencies no one else seems to hear. It’s almost a superpower in that sometimes it’s to my detriment. But it’s because of my ears that I find the idiosyncrasies and the secrets of any song, score, or jingle I play or listen to. They’re my dictionary.”



Lance McGoldrick
Installation/Assemblage Artist

“I’m immensely attracted to decay. Everything I do is made up of things I’ve found that are in states of decay. I don’t polyurethane my pieces. I’m making no attempt for my pieces to be permanent. I fully accept that they are impermanent, that they are from decay and that they will continue to decay.”



Lauren Poole
Actor and Comedian

“I brandish costumes and makeup. I didn’t realize until the Lynette video got popular how much I rely on creating different characters to express myself or come up with funny ideas. I think since I was a little kid all I wanted to do was play dress up and I just do it as a grown up now, too.”



Leslie Martin

“Weather can have a beautiful impact on metal, which is my primary medium. Being from Oklahoma, I realized how big a role the weather plays in its culture, and I want to explore how different kinds of metal react in different ways to extreme weather, just like different people react in different ways to it.”



Nate Gutierrez
Projection Artist

“We should push light to be a more recognized medium because it’s so fundamental to everything that humans do. To be able to harness light and to manipulate it and bend it to your will—light’s the tool I brandish because you can do anything with it.”


Rocky Norton

“I started getting lessons on dark rooms inside myself. When that light came on and I started reading the writing on the walls is when my point of view grew in awareness. Without my point of view evolving, there wouldn’t be a paintbrush, a camera, a grinder, willingness, acceptance. There wouldn’t be anything. I would just sit and stare and wonder.”


Teresa Romero
Fashion Designer

“I do all my designing on dress forms so I can visually see it before it comes to life. And all my dresses get named. They’re like my people. You work with and spend so much time with them that it’s like giving birth to this thing that then goes off into the world.”