Tucson women's photographer

The Art of


The Art

of [Her]

The Fire, The Strength & The Art of Women Rising.

Too many stories go untold.

Too many women go unvalidated.

Too many go uncelebrated.

Too many do not see their own beauty & power.

& too many women go their whole lives without being truly witnessed and seen.

I want to change that.

Hear the amazing stories about how this project affected so many amazing women.

I hope you will join us.

It's time to

Celebrate You & tell your story.

Join me to create yet another Artist's Visual Representation of your strength, your beauty and your story.

I'm doing a second (and last) round of photographing and telling the stories of 25 more Women and I would love for you to be one of them.

Tucson women's photographer

It's time to Celebrate You & Tell your story.

Join me to create yet another Artist's Visual Representation of

your strength, your beauty and your story.

I'm doing a second round of photographing

and telling the stories of 25 more Women

and I would love for you to be one of them.

Alyssa M,

Tucson women's photographer

I didn't reach out to a photographer expecting such an awakening.

Jessica is a fantastic photographer and a wonderful human... Thank you for giving me the space and this venue for taking this step in my healing.

I didn't reach out to a photographer expecting such an awakening.

You're doing such an amazing thing.

Alyssa M

I didn't reach out to a photographer expecting such an awakening.

Jessica is a fantastic photographer and a wonderful human... Thank you for giving me the space and this venue for taking this step in my healing.

I didn't reach out to a photographer expecting such an awakening.

You're doing such an amazing thing.

Because for all the things built to keep us small, we rise.

It's no secret that growing up female in our society comes with some great struggles. Most of which are learned or encountered at a young age.

From sexism, to high societal expectations, to perfectionism, to being shamed, to unrealistic body standards, to unrealistic motherhood standards, to the early adoption idea that girls have a certain "girl" behavior that is expected of them, even to it being her fault when a boy has no control over himself. There are many things out there that we face daily from such a young age.

And yet, for all the things built to keep us small, we rise.

We rise through adversity.

We rise through trauma.

We rise through abuse.

We rise to become mothers.

and business owners, despite the "stats".

and mothers while also being business owners... again, despite the stats.

and even empty nesters, creating a new business, all despite the stats.

We rise through all the self questioning, the imposter syndrome, the second guessing, the third guessing, and the opinions of those who will never understand,

and once again, for all the things built in this world to keep us small. We rise.

... and oh, when we do, it is truely a thing of beauty and art.

Even when we feel like it's a mess, it's beautiful, and elegant and powerful.

It's Art.

It's the Art of the woman.

It's the Art of becoming a woman.

It's the Art of Her.

Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photographer
Tucson women's photography
Tucson women's photography

Read some of our powerful Art of Her Stories:

Interview with Ria Patino

The Art of Ria Patiño | The Art of Her Project

March 09, 202416 min read

The Art of Ria Patiño | The Art of Her Project

Ria Patiño is a visionary artist and entrepreneur, she has a life that includes a rich blend of motherhood, business ownership, community engagement, and an unwavering commitment to personal growth. As a proud native of Tucson, Arizona, Ria opens up about the pivotal moments that defined her, from overcoming childhood traumas to navigating the challenges of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

Through this Project, Ria shares the overcoming, the resilience, and the beauty that emerges from life's most trying moments. Grab a seat as we explore the transformative power of art, the surprising strength that surfaces in chaos, and Ria's ambitions for inspiring the next generation through a captivating children's book series.

This is the Art of Ria.

This is the Art of Her.

Ria Patino Art of Her Tucson by Jessica Korff

Interview with Ria Patiño

Jessica: Tell us about you, The woman.

Ria: My name is Ria Patiño, and I'm delighted to share a glimpse into who I am. I'm a proud native of Tucson, Arizona, where I was born and raised. Recently, I celebrated a milestone—my 40th birthday, embracing the wisdom and experiences that come with each passing year.

In the sometimes-tangled threads of my life, I wear multiple hats with pride and joy. First and foremost, I am a wife, cherishing the love and partnership that enriches my journey. Motherhood is another role that defines me; navigating the beautiful chaos of raising children brings me both challenges and immeasurable joy.

Professionally, I am a business owner with a passion for creativity. I own and operate both This n’ That Creative Studio and Sweet Nola Baby Boutique, serving as outlets for expressing my artistic inclinations. The journey of entrepreneurship has been a fulfilling adventure, marked by challenges that have shaped my ability to continue pressing forward.

Beyond my business ventures, I am deeply engaged in my community as a Girl Scout leader, fostering growth and empowerment in young minds. As a sewing educator, I find joy in sharing the artistry of crafting with others. Additionally, I am committing myself to a journey as an aspiring author, exploring the magic of words to convey stories that resonate with hearts and hopefully inspire young entrepreneurs.

Life, however, is not just about the roles we play. It's about the connections we make as a daughter, sister, and friend. These relationships enrich my life and provide a strong foundation of support.

I am a woman fueled by creativity, family, and community. Each facet of my identity contributes to the vibrant mosaic of who I am, and I look forward to the opportunities ahead, including my involvement in the Art of Her Project. Through this project, I hope to contribute a narrative that speaks to the multifaceted nature of womanhood—highlighting not only the challenges faced but also the triumphs, the resilience, and the beauty that emerges from life's most trying moments.

Jessica: Tells us about Your Story.

Ria: My journey leading me to be a part of the Art of Her Project is a tapestry woven with threads of triumphs, challenges, and profound self-discovery. From navigating a childhood marked by limited resources, where self-teaching became my greatest asset, to overcoming childhood traumas and becoming the first in my family to graduate high school and college, my early years were a testament to my resilience and determination.

In 2009, my journey into motherhood was defined by the challenges of preeclampsia during my first pregnancy, a test of strength and endurance. Nola, my beloved daughter, played a central role, symbolizing hope and triumph. Supported by my husband's unwavering encouragement, I navigated the complexities of preeclampsia, deepening my appreciation for motherhood. Nola's arrival not only brought joy but also inspired me to pursue my dreams with newfound determination. Motivated by the love surrounding us, I embarked on a journey to create a better future for our family, turning challenges into stepping-stones toward a brighter life for our family. It was after her birth I decided to pursue my passion for handmade gifts and officially launched "Sweet Nola Baby Boutique".

In 2014, I found myself completing my MBA while in labor with my second child, Ian—a testament to the unwavering pursuit of personal and academic growth even in the face of life-altering moments. The simultaneous juggle of academic responsibilities and the anticipation of Ian's arrival encapsulated the dedication required to navigate both professional and personal spheres. Becoming a mother to a son changed me in ways I could never imagine. Ian's presence added a unique and profound dimension to this transformative chapter, underscoring the importance of balance and perseverance in raising a son. This experience not only marked a significant academic achievement but also served as a reminder that life's most profound moments often unfold unexpectedly, highlighting true determination in the pursuit of personal and family success. The journey with Ian has illuminated the distinct joys and challenges of mothering a son, enriching my life in ways I hadn't anticipated.

In 2017, the year I welcomed my youngest baby girl, Amelia, into the world, life presented a whirlwind of challenges and accomplishments. Amidst the joy of childbirth, I found myself navigating the delicate balance of managing a growing business, orchestrating its transition from home-based to a dedicated space, leading a sizable Girl Scout troop, and fulfilling the roles of a devoted mother to two children and a supportive wife. Simultaneously, I remained actively engaged as a volunteer at my children's school, all while embarking on the quest for a new home. The birth of Amelia became a symbol of resilience and multitasking, illustrating the capacity to embrace the diverse facets of life with determination and grace. Each responsibility and endeavor, whether in business or family life, contributed to beautiful experiences nothing short of dedication, growth, and the boundless love that defines the journey of motherhood and womanhood.

As my Sweet Nola business flourished, I made the decision to expand my horizons by offering sewing lessons to both adults and children. With the support of my friends, and some incredible Aunts and Cousins, I was able to branch out into teaching and my heart truly felt full. As classes grew and demand presented itself, I had a desire to share more creative pursuits with our community, I embarked on a new business venture with two partners. However, the timing proved challenging, as just six months later, a global pandemic struck. The journey from having three business partners in 2019 to becoming the sole owner in 2022 has been a genuine test of adaptability and resourcefulness. Navigating the uncharted waters of entrepreneurship during a pandemic required strategic decision-making. Despite the unforeseen challenges, this journey has not only strengthened my business acumen but also underscored the importance of flexibility and perseverance in the face of unexpected obstacles.

In 2022, my husband's battle with cancer marked another significant chapter in our lives—a shared journey that tested the bounds of strength and love, emphasizing the crucial role of adaptability within the family setting. Simultaneously, as we supported our oldest daughter through the challenges of middle school, this period became one of heightened stress and occasional moments of outright "defeat." The weight of navigating both personal and familial hurdles underscored the importance of staying united and supportive. Through the trials of illness and the complexities of adolescence, our family emerged as a stronger unit, finding solace and strength in each other. This chapter not only revealed the depth of our familial bonds but also reinforced the notion that, in the face of adversity, love and unity become the guiding lights illuminating the path forward.

The past couple of years have brought both joys and heartaches. I experienced the profound loss of dear family members—a cherished uncle, a beloved cousin, and an incredibly adored nephew. These losses, though devastating, served as reminders of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

In the process of figuring out who I am, what brings me joy, and recognizing my gifts and talents, I've discovered the transformative power of art. By sharing my story, I aspire to inspire others who may be facing their own challenges, fostering a sense of community and empowerment. The Art of Her Project is a celebration of the diverse and remarkable experiences that shape us as women, and I am honored to be a part of this collective journey.

Ria Patiño Art of Her Tucson by Jessica Korff

Jessica: Tell me about a specific experience as it surrounds your story of what you had to endure or work through as you pushed to rise?

Ria: Reflecting on my journey, a pivotal moment that shaped my approach to challenges was my experience at 18, when I landed a fantastic job in the mortgage industry. Quickly ascending the ranks and on the fast track to upper management, I was overjoyed to receive an acceptance letter from UA Eller College of Business. However, my direct supervisor delivered a challenging ultimatum: pursue education full time and forfeit career advancement for four years or find an alternative. Fueled by a desire to climb the corporate ladder swiftly, I opted for another business program with night classes, sacrificing my immediate educational goals for professional growth and a rather decent salary, at the time.

My dedication and sacrifice seemed worthwhile until the market crash of 2007. The company closed its doors, forcing me to deliver the heartbreaking news to friends and family who had joined our ranks. Devastated, I transitioned to the University of Phoenix, a move that, in hindsight, turned out to be a true blessing in disguise. The connections I forged and the incredibly supportive work family I found were invaluable.

Navigating a new job, marriage, and the birth of my first daughter, Nola, in 2009, life took an unexpected turn. As I rocked Nola to sleep on the eve of my maternity leave, tears streaming down my face, I realized my true dream was to own my business. I always had an inkling, but as I was inspired by a glance at her beautiful elephant baby bedding, I conceived the idea of Sweet Nola Baby Boutique. This dream would take many more years to fully materialize, but I hit the ground running and never looked back. From online sales, late night craft sessions with loved ones, to craft shows almost every weekend for years, we were pushing hard and growing into a sustainable business.

The birth of my son, Ian, marked another turning point. In 2014, I left the University of Phoenix and fully committed to further building Sweet Nola Baby Boutique. The birth of my last baby girl, Amelia, in 2017, coincided with the realization of moving my business out of my house. Today, I operate two businesses from a storefront of approximately 2,500 sqft.

The flexibility of owning my business while raising my children is the greatest blessing I could have asked for. Despite the inevitable stresses, I know my children will remember me being there for them—a rewarding testament to the tenacity and perseverance that characterize my journey.

Jessica: What surprised you about yourself?

Ria: Reflecting on the moments surrounding the events in my life, what consistently surprises me is the contrast between the chaos I sometimes experience and my ability to stay positive through it all. My breakdowns, occasional tantrums, and moments of stress often left me feeling a bit silly afterward. It's a realization that I don't always have it all together, and I am not immune to the sometimes-messy aspects of life.

People often express amazement at how I seem to manage it all, and the truth is, I don't—certainly not without help and not without sacrifices. Learning to prioritize, understanding my true values, and planning my life around those, has been a crucial lesson in navigating the complexities of my journey.

What continually surprises me, and perhaps may surprise others, is my ability to keep pressing forward, day in and day out, despite the internal drain I sometimes feel. I've learned to adapt, to find strength even in moments of vulnerability. The realization that I am more forgiving and graceful with others than I am with myself has been a revelation. It's as if I'm engaged in a constant battlefield of the mind, demanding perfection from myself.

However, amidst this internal struggle, I am learning to give myself a little more love and not be so hard on myself. Understanding that, as long as I am trying, in any area of my life, I am not failing, has been a transformative mindset shift. Surprising myself with the resilience to navigate the challenges and, in the process, extend a bit more kindness to myself is an ongoing journey—one that adds depth and richness to my story.

Jessica: What surprised you about others as it is connected to your event?

Ria: What has consistently surprised me about others is the unwavering support and generosity that emanates from my village. Even when I didn't consciously realize I needed it, the people in my life have come through for me in remarkable ways. From assistance with home or studio moves and meal trains while my husband was recovering from surgery to simple coffee dates, I am genuinely blessed to be surrounded by such incredible family and friends.

The surprising, beautiful connections with others during challenging times have illuminated the importance of cultivating a supportive community—a lesson that continues to shape and enrich my journey.

Jessica: Do you feel being a woman had any significant bearing on this event? How so?

Ria: Without a doubt, being a woman has had a profound impact on the events and challenges I've faced. I firmly believe that women are the most powerful beings, endowed with unique gifts that empower us to navigate the complexities of life and make magic happen.

In the face of societal labels such as "crazy," "emotional," or "irrational," I've come to recognize these as stereotypes that fail to capture the true strength and resilience inherent in women. The ability to harness our gifts on a daily basis sets us apart. Whether it's calling on our village for support, putting in that extra work when needed, or simply embracing imperfection, women have an innate capacity to rise to the occasion, defying all odds, again and again.

Being a woman has shaped my approach to challenges, allowing me to draw on qualities such as intuition, empathy, and a collaborative spirit. The events in my life have been navigated with a blend of strength, grace, and a deep understanding of the importance of community. The support I've received from the women in my life, as well as the broader village, has been an integral part of overcoming obstacles and finding resilience in the face of adversity.

Ria Art of Her Tucson by Jessica Korff

Jessica: What is the one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Ria: If I could share a piece of advice with my younger self, it would be a heartfelt reminder to be patient and embrace the journey. Life unfolds at its own pace, and the beauty lies in the process of growth and self-discovery. The rush to achieve goals and milestones can sometimes overshadow the significance of the journey itself.

Find value beyond monetary benefit. In a world that often emphasizes financial success, I would encourage my younger self to seek fulfillment in experiences, relationships, and personal growth. True wealth extends far beyond the confines of a bank account.

Don't be afraid of things you don't know. The unknown is not a realm of fear but an opportunity for exploration and learning. Embrace the unfamiliar, for it is in those uncharted territories that you'll discover new aspects of yourself and the world around you.

Let go of self-limiting beliefs. Throughout life, we carry beliefs about our capabilities that may hinder our potential. Recognize that these limiting beliefs are often unfounded and have the courage to release them. You are capable of more than you can imagine.

Have the courage to speak up. Your voice matters, and your perspective is unique. Don't shy away from expressing your thoughts and opinions. Your insights may bring value to others and contribute to positive change.

Jessica: What is your story of now?

Ria: In the aftermath of the transformative events I've experienced, I find myself embracing the beautiful messiness of life.

One aspect I intentionally celebrate is my chaotic lifestyle. Rather than viewing chaos as a challenge to overcome, I've come to see it as a dynamic force that fuels my creativity, adaptability, and resilience. I've learned to navigate the unpredictability with a sense of humor and an appreciation for the richness it brings to my journey.

After the events that shaped my path, I find joy in the unpredictability of each day, celebrating the twists and turns that add depth to my story. I celebrate the resilience that has emerged from navigating challenges and setbacks. The ability to weather storms, adapt to changing circumstances, and find strength in vulnerability is a testament to the person I've become after the events that defined my journey.

In this chapter of my life, I find cause for celebration in the intentional choices I make. Whether as a spouse, a parent, a business owner, or simply as an individual navigating life, I celebrate the commitment to continuous growth and greatness in every role I undertake.

Jessica: It would be really interesting to hear about any ambitions you have for the future.

Ria: One of my most cherished ambitions for the future is to write a children's book series that delves into my entrepreneurial journey. The seeds of entrepreneurship were sown early in my life, as I started my first business when I was merely 7 or 8 years old. From the onset, I found myself immersed in a world of creativity, innovation, and the thrill of bringing ideas to life.

Revisiting those early memories and the shenanigans that accompanied my entrepreneurial ventures holds a special place in my heart. The prospect of crafting a children's book series allows me to not only reflect on my own journey but to share those experiences in a way that could inspire young minds to embark on their own dreams and passions.

The idea behind the series is to impart valuable lessons about creativity, determination, and the joy of pursuing one's aspirations. Through whimsical storytelling and relatable anecdotes from my childhood, I hope to ignite the spark of curiosity and ambition in young readers. The aim is not only to entertain but to plant seeds of empowerment, encouraging children to believe in themselves and follow their unique paths.

In envisioning this children's book series, I see an opportunity to contribute to the next generation's understanding of entrepreneurship and self-discovery. It's a creative endeavor that aligns with my passion for storytelling and my desire to make a positive impact on young lives, fostering a sense of wonder and possibility.

Jessica: What do you wish other women or young girls knew about themselves?

Ria: I wish other women and young girls knew the immense power and potential within themselves. Understanding that they possess unique strengths, capabilities, and the capacity to shape their destinies can empower them to embrace opportunities, pursue their passions, and confidently navigate their journeys. It's essential for them to recognize their inherent worth and the positive impact they can have on the world around them.


Creative Credits:

Photography by Jessica Korff Studios

Makeup by: Renee Lanz | Radiate with ReneeJ

Dress Draping: Dresses draped and created by: Jessica Korff

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