Unzipped: Naming Arizona’s Nameless

When I was in college, I took drawing and animation classes from the most incredible professor. His name is Steve Missal and I loved his classes best of all. Steve is the most amazing artist and draftsman that I have ever met, but more than that, he is a person that I have always respected and looked up to. Even today, when I draw and get stuck, I think to myself “what would Mr. Missal say?” Since graduating, I found him again teaching at Phoenix Collage and so took more classes from him. Heavenly!

Since then, he has moved on to become a Forensic Artist for Maricopa County’s CSI team. In a nutshell, he takes the remains of unidentified people and sculpts and draws what these individuals would have looked like when alive. To say that this is fascinating is an understatement. The importance of this vocation is tremendous because he helps bring closure to families that have lost loved ones. Sadly, the people that are part of the Unidentified Team are mostly invisible.

Following is a short documentary produced by students of the Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting at ASU, that highlight the individuals that perform such important jobs. You can see Steve at work recreating missing faces. The main take away that I have besides how important these people’s contributions are, is that art can be found in the most unexpected places and used in such powerful ways. I find it very humbling.

Here’s the link to the documentary:

Unzipped: Naming Arizona’s Nameless from Jennifer Soules on Vimeo.

“Unzipped: Naming Arizona’s Nameless” tells the stories of Arizona’s missing and unidentified persons and the teams and loved ones that work to connect them. “Unzipped” features the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Unidentified Bodies Team and the Phoenix Police Missing Persons Unit as they work to bridge the gap between the two and give the unidentified their names back.

(Shot, produced and edited by: Jennifer Soules, Angela Schuster, and Jackie Cotton)

More about Steve Missal:

If you are looking for some amazing books on drawing, here are a couple that Steve helped author.