and videos of edible and medicinal plants native and invasive to the Tempe/Phoenix Valley, accompanied by descriptions of each plant’s unique ethnobotanical history and applications.

One year after completing my thesis, I was chosen to attend the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency, while also being awarded a stipend to support my project proposal documenting edible and medicinal plants native to Joshua Tree National Park. After nine rigorous weeks in the desert, the residency concluded with a solo show at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery in Joshua Tree, California, as well as selected works becoming part of their JTHAR permanent collection. Over the next two years, I continued working in this same vein – creating digital botanical illustration composites of edible and medicinal plants growing all throughout Arizona, photographing flora in Saguaro National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and the Sonoran Desert National Monument, to name a few. Later on, during the summer of 2019, I spent a month in Costa Rica teaching photography as part of the Mesa Community College study abroad program, while also conducting my own research creating digital composites and videos of medicinal plants native to the country. Shortly after, in the fall of 2019, I was a visiting artist for James Madison University, including a solo show and an artist talk presenting this research.

Lastly, in the fall of 2020, I received the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson Night Bloom Artist Grant Award, which has funded the continuation of my Vivarium research documenting useful plants growing throughout Arizona. Today, I continue to work on this Vivarium project, constantly surveying the rugged southwest desert for new plants.

I am a photography and video-based artist and educator living in Phoenix, Arizona, who has spent the past ten years extensively researching medicinal flora growing throughout the Southwest and beyond, as means for ethnobotanical documentation and artistic expression. This botanical research began shortly after completing my Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Oregon in 2012, where I became particularly interested in the unique intersection of culture and nature. After spending just one year documenting medicinal plants, I soon realized the potential for the new work and decided to use it in my application for graduate school at Arizona State University. Not only was I accepted and invited to conduct my Master of Fine Art research beginning the fall of 2013, but my new portfolio of plants also won me the Arizona State University Dean’s Fellowship Award, consisting of a sizeable stipend to support my proposed research on medicinal plants native and invasive to Arizona.

Towards the end of my first semester in graduate school, I was awarded with a commission by the Arizona State University Health and Wellness Services to photograph medicinal plants native to the Sonoran Desert. After completion, the project became part of the ASU Health & Wellness permanent collection. During my second year of graduate school in 2015, I was the award winner of the Nathan Cummings Travel Grant, where I received funding to travel to Alaska to research and document native flora. A year later, in 2016, I was the recipient of the Graduate Education Completion Fellowship Award from Arizona State University, consisting of a large stipend to aid in the completion of my thesis and

the continuation of my research beyond graduation. Titled Vivarium, this thesis work consisted of still life photographs

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Ryan Parra Photography