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Published Tuesday March 5, 2024

SARSEF Fair Shirt Designs from Local Artists

Every year, SARSEF celebrates the SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair by releasing a new t-shirt design. For the last three years, local artists have been commissioned to create a design that captures the spirit of the event from their perspective. Many SARSEF Fair projects center around exploring solutions to local issues or being curious about natural environments or dark skies across Arizona. We wanted our shirt designs to mirror this connection that many students make between science, engineering, and their own lives and community.

In 2022, Julie Bonner took Southern Arizona to space, reminding students to reach for the stars. Her design was the first in our local artist series. Last year, Isaac Caruso featured a robot searching the skies for science-themed constellations. Isaac’s shirt design will still be available in the SARSEF store this year if you missed out last year.

This year, Derrick “Deersinger” Gonzales has created the newest SARSEF shirt that showcases how science can foster community and a connection to nature. Don’t miss the SARSEF Awards and Expo on Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am-3:30 pm at Reid Park, where you can view and purchase this year’s shirt!

More about this Year’s Artist, Derrick “Deersinger” Gonzales in his own words:

Deersinger is the traditional name I was given, but you can also call me Derrick. I’m from the Tohono O’odham Nation. It’s located in Sells, Arizona. To me it’s the motherland, I’m part Pascua Yaqui and Pima Maricopa as well. As a child, I’ve always been fascinated with the world and every living thing within it. Seeing the beautiful landscapes when it’s green to when it’s brown, the wonderful smells of food and rain, hearing traditional songs to modern music, feeling the wind breeze the hot the cold, my family says pencils, crayons or markers seemed to always be in my hand when I was younger.

During seven years of messing around with colors, drawing figures, creating characters and pulling from different elements at the traditional ceremonies helped my foundation. Growing up in the urban culture as I went to high school sparked my attitude. Freethinking had an influence on my art style getting messy with spray paint, paint markers and social adventures. It helped me a lot by understanding who I am and what kind of impact I can make and the voice I have.

Attending an art university just boosted my passion for the important things in life which I always had around me like community, history, culture, and native ecological science. Gathering these main life markers as well as gaining knowledge helped my growth as these factors entered my path. It’s a blessing and brings me joy sharing with others expressing what I’m capable of showcasing skills I learned within art. Because that’s how it was a long time ago. Helping, encouraging, standing with one another comes from the heart.

Being older, having these experiences and the new things I will learn goes to show that nothing’s impossible, displaying myself through images, explaining what I know, what I found out and learned, teaching in a new way, showing examples of what the people did and the skills they had/have. Exercise the mind to push one another for the future of our little ones, on how to take care of mother earth, and show honor and pay respect to the ones that were here before us. Live in the present, learn, have fun, understand, use good communication skills and help one another. Look towards the future and figure out how to sustain what we have.

That is why I’m so excited to be able to express myself in this creative way to be that tool to showcase all the beautiful minds and talents we have living in this world with us. To the people, animals, family, food, plants, ceremonies, tools, traditional homes, games, weapons, songs. Every living thing on this earth. Helping in this good way to be who I’m becoming as a Native human being: an artist, rebel, student, brother, son, cousin, father, friend, classmate, teacher, an individual that helps others, using my skills to showcase my creative spirit. Wanting you to do the same – tap in. Thank you, Deersinger.