Sunday, November 27, 2011

WHY Pt. 1 & Pt 2.

An Intro Into the Story of Marc Brown

    It was recently suggested to me that I should post my short documentary about my brother and his suicide.  There are probably a few strong reason's why I have neglected to do so, but to be honest, I can't describe or rationalize any of them.  The last 10 months have been an intensified vacuum of RISE infrastructure architecture.  Only in the last month have I allowed myself to slow down and reflect.  it has been 6 years since I made this short film, and I find I am still asking the same question.  Or so it may seem.  The question...Why?  It is still there, but it has certainly expanded beyond my experience and my brothers decision.  Personally, "WHY" was the beginning of my conscious decision to discover why my brother made his choice.  This simple question has now evolved in to a quest to investigate our culture and the attributes that contribute to the loss of self sovereignty.

WHY Pt. 1

WHY Pt. 2

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RISE RAW Artist Interview

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of participating in a RAW Artist event.  RAW is a national organization who's mission is to give local artists a vehicle or platform in which they can showcase their work.  Since RISE has an emphasis on the healing attributes of art, we were asked to be apart of RAW's "Junction" event.  Below is our interview for said event.

To find out more information about RAW,  hit up their website below.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Story of R.I.S.E. according to Thomas: Chapter 2

ISOLATION:  The tale of transmitted depression.

Below is a film I wrote, directed, and cut back at film school in 2007.  This film, first of two, begins the journey of my acceptance as a member of the suicide community.   ISOLATION was a bit of a surprise to me.  For the most part, I have a plethora of stories constantly swirling through my mind.  Every tale is an abstract or compilation of some of my personal archetypes or motifs based on my own experiences.

The curious predicament of what would later become ISOLATION, is in the simple fact that it wasn’t one of the stories I could find at the epicenter of my creativity.  The obviousness of this truth has become a primary element of what I consider one of my many character flaws.  Bury the past and allow the dead to lie.  Seems simple enough?  Not so.  It seems people, for whatever reason, have bought into the idea that pain is an undesirable negativity and should be extinguished promptly.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Call me a masochist, but I feel pain, or better put, the acceptance of one’s pain, emotional or physical, to be a sort of universal purification rite.  I would argue that our great leaps forward in personal or communal development has always come through the trials and tribulations experienced while on the journey of life.  To run from the pain is to rob one’s self of extraordinary lessons and opportunities to evolve.  If you feel rehashing the demons that have inspired the great soul scars of your heart to be a difficulty, it most likely an experience you haven’t faced yet.  To ignore the truth is not only a path way to great personal risk to yourself, but also to those close to you.

Thus the story of ISOLATION is my personal interpretation of the demon my brother Marc Brown ignored, instigating the great catalyst of events that transpired to his death by committing suicide.  Like all suicides, the ramifications did not end with Marc.  Sadly, the pain endured.  Whether the depression that may foment the act of suicide be mental illness or a culmination of social pressure, the act itself seems to be an emotional degrading cancer that has an extraordinarily tenacious contagious characteristic that can spread like wild fire.

ISOLATION is my personal examination into the last moments of my brother’s life and the emotional tsunami that swept through my family’s world.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Story of R.I.S.E. according to Thomas / Chapter 1

Providence and the Trail of Carrots:
The Origin of the Zak & Thomas Brotherhood

Depending on whom I was talking to and why, the beginning of the tail of our union would be different.  Some people want you to get down to brass tax and cut to the chase, but I fancy myself as somewhat of a storyteller.  What ever that means.  My first thoughts of Zak predate the winter of 2009 when we had an extensive conversation, which was sparked with our mutual love of the underground Hip Hop artist “The Grouch”, who had performed the night before at a local watering hole called Chasers.

My 1st memory of the character of Zachary Chipps (some time in early 2007) was that he was just another obscure individual that existed solely, to my perception, as yet another random satellite floating through the universe inhabited by the City of Scottsdale Parks & Recreation employees.  Based upon my own prejudices, among the many I discover that I have, I was nowhere near impressed from what I saw of him, when our orbits would intersect.  I could tell you all the wonderfully dark and twisted adjectives that I could have used to describe my thoughts on this strange character, but I don’t want to defame what Zak is at his core; nor do I want to confuse you as to who Zak has been at different stages of his life.  It would not only be a disservices to who he is, but truth be told, I didn’t know him.  Anyhow, to be brutally honest, I didn’t like him.

As I said earlier, I didn’t know Zak and my own prejudices clouded my judgment of who he was.  However, my perception of him did slightly upgrade from scumbag to average fellow with tattoos & piercings who at least made an attempt at an interesting conversation.  It was in the summer of 2008 and we discussed why I traveled from one summer camp to another taking pictures.  I knew from that singular conversation that I was thought to be some perverted creeper who just took pictures of kids.  This thought was proven correct after working with Zak at Mt. View Park in 2009.  While I had not carried a positive assumption of his character, the feeling was obvious that neither did he.

I don’t exactly know what it was about the conversation we shared that cold & cloudy day in November of 2009 at Mt. View Park, but I realized my presumptions over the last 2 years where wrong, and I was curious to learn more.  Like many new acquaintances who want a safe haven as a platform to get to know one another the two of us connected on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers beginning random dialogs that accrued in short order and consisted on our issues with our significant others of the time.

In January 2010, we decided it was time to up the ante in our blossoming bromance and have our first man-date; this took place at the Xtreme Bean in Tempe.  Yes, what better way to engage in conversation at the late hours of the bitter cold than to binge on massive doses of caffeine? That we did, and what occurred in the first 20 minutes was a cosmic giggle of eerie providence, which unbeknownst to us in that time, would be the defining moment in the path that lay before us.  In those opening moments of our conversation, we realized that we were ending our respective relationships, reading books from the same author (Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, one of the major influences for the Philosophy of R.I.S.E.), and we both had brothers who had committed suicide.

For the 1st time just under a decade I had the opportunity to have a conversation with another individual who lost their sibling to suicide.  I cannot begin to express what this meant to me.  It is not something you can explain; rather it is something you have to feel.   Let’s just say, I finally had someone in my life that could understand my predicament with my brother’s suicide, and with as little effort as a passing glance of eye contact.  Just having one person like that introduced into my world was like having the weight of a mountain removed from my chest.  I’d like to say that Zak feels & felt the same way, but you would have to ask him.  Within the revelation of that simple conversation, I was content with the new development in my life.  Little did I fathom the complete ramifications providence had in store for the two of us, and what seemed to be a chance meeting.

Fast forward 5 months later to June 19th, 2010 Zak and I were attending a Phoenix Suicide Girls Party( S.G. is a web pin-up sight),  and I was taking pictures for the event.  Later in the evening, I had expressed to Zak about an itch I had to do a long distance cross-country carless journey, preferably by way of walking.  I had done something similar a few years back.  I was the cameraman for a documentary about a group of progressive Christians that walked from Phoenix, AZ to Washington D.C. (Cross Walk America / The Phoenix Affirmation).  Though I did a lot of support-vehicle driving for the core walkers, I still did a tremendous amount of walking.  I explained to Zak how I have had this itch ever since I returned from my adventure with Cross Walk.  There is something spiritually cleansing that takes place when one slows down from the social pace of responsibility.  Whatever that truly means these days.

Zak was sold on the idea, but suggested we do it by bicycle instead.  Garnishing experience of Cross Walk from my memory, I had to admit, that we would cover more ground giving us the opportunity to see more places.  Now, what do we do it for?  Do we have a cause or just do it to do it.  To help put those last two sentences into perspective, allow me to explain my feelings on suicide before that moment in space-time.  I never wanted to be a poster child or representative for the Suicide Survivor community.  My brother did what he did and I had a myriad of emotions that were a kin to a roller coaster ride to go along with his action.  When I asked him what we should we ride for, he stared at me with an annoyed glare.  “What do you think?!  We ride for our brothers!” 

Up until that moment I had never taken ownership of my experience with suicide.  I didn’t ignore it out of shame, but more out of anger, frustration, and confusion.  Zak’s seemingly truthful acceptance inspired within me a sense of empowerment with who I am and what I have gone through.  The clarity of our meeting crystallized things for me, and so it went at a Suicide Girls event, two suicide survivors sowed the seeds for what has grown to become R.I.S.E.

To learn more about the R.I.S.E. bike tour, please visit us at

Compassion, Creativity, Community, & Collaboration will always RISE above competition.

***Photography by Samantha Morgan

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thomas Brown Rise Video Journal 11

Last week I made my way to Sedona.  I hiked near the top of Bell Rock.  I decided it was the proper place to do a video Journal.  Enjoy.

If you are interested in hosting a Town Hall meeting for us, or have suggestions.  Please email me at:


Thomas Brown Rise Video Journal 10

With all the work we have been doing, I completely forgot to post this.  Its just under a month old. Better late than never.


Monday, July 18, 2011

RISE TEAM Announcement

A brother of the RISE team, Michael Sepulveda, has accepted the call of his own inner artist.  In the late Fall or early Winter, Michael will set out on his own personal quest through South America and/or South East Asia.  Zak and Thomas respect and support Michael's choice to follow his own voice.  Mike's blog will still be connected to the RISE website so that others can be inspired, as we are, by the life he lives.

Good journey my brother.  You will always be a part of RISE!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thomas Brown Rise Video Journal 7

If you are interested in volunteering your time, energy, & talent.  Feel free to contact me at

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

THomas Brown RISE Video Journal 4

A quick or not so quick thought on the subject of ART.

Stay Tuned...
                                 ...RISE with Us!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thomas Brown RISE Video Journal 3

Revelations and insights on this Sunday morning afternoon

 Sunday is my one and only day of rest.  Rest meaning, that I sit on the couch and continue to do RISE work along with other responsibilities, but never having to really move.

RISE TRIO Video Journal 1

This was shot out at The Lost Dog Trail in North Scottsdale just after shooting our introduction video.  The three of us sat down to briefly talk about it.  It has a bit of a silhouette, but hopefully you will get the point.


Thomas Brown RISE Video Journal 2

This was shot the morning before we shot our RISE Introduction video.  The shoot went smooth.  I will finish editing this evening and hopefully have it ready to put up tonight.


Thomas Brown RISE Video Journal 1

Just wanted to check in an let every one know where we are at in the process.  Instead of asking you to read the message, I figured I'd just tell you.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Michael - Video Journal - 1

I shot my first video journal on 4-15-2011 and right in the heat of the moment. I'm over it now, but to be fair I will still post this to show my sincere thoughts at the moment. Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon to see more video journals from Thomas, Zak and myself. Love n Light!

Friday, April 8, 2011

ISOLATION: A Thomas Brown Rant

A short film I wrote, directed, & cut, which was dedicated to my brother Marc Brown.  Marc committed suicide on August 20th, 2001.  I miss you brother.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


As you have read on our home page, 3 friends are preparing themselves for a 6,000+ mile cross country bicycle ride spanning 20 states (as well as the District of Columbia).  We ride for many reasons, but our main purpose is to reach out to the community of those left behind when loved ones commit suicide (Survivors of Suicide). We set out with open arms to lend our ears, our hearts, and if need be, our shoulders. We will share the stories of our own experiences with suicide (and how we have navigated the treacherous road of guilt and confusion) with the hope of finding peace.

In our discussions, we hope to enter into the dialog a perspective that has already been shared by a multitude of others throughout history, both within the suicide community and without-a simple message we hope will inspire some of those whose paths we cross while on our journey.  That message is the transcendental healing power of ART! 

The need to express is tantamount in the development of a human being and has been with us since the very beginning.  An individual’s ability to traverse their conscious and unconscious mind in order to reflect a personal perspective (based on matters either internal or external) can act as a powerful catharsis- not only for the artist, but also for anyone else who has the chance to experience the art.  As an artist, it has always helped to put myself in a state where I am free from all outside stimulus and distraction in order to reach my innermost truth.  Taking time out in one’s day for quiet and reflection can be a beneficial tool, clearing out the congestion that accumulates throughout the day.

The last ten years have given me much to reflect on.  This ride is a personal aspect of that self-reflection.  I hope that I may find the strength and wisdom to inspire the message that we will carry with us.  This journey is just as much yours as it is ours.  I look forward to meeting those of you that I will be blessed to experience.

Please, stay tuned and follow us as we RISE!

For those of you that have experienced suicide, here are links to two great resources: