When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.
Kevin Flanagan is a performance artist and ensemble member at local theater Space 55. He plays the titular character in their monthly Late Night Show, "Hollis' Traveling Treehouse and Dance Party," and is one of the shows creators.
He is also a founding member of the weird drone doomsday group, The Cult of the Yellow Sign, which has thrown birthday parties for the dead, preached at First Friday and the Phoenix Comicon, and regularly attempts to raise dread Cthulhu from his watery temple below the churning black ocean.
When he isn't attempting the wholesale destruction of the planet or hanging out with his Treehouse friends, Kevin dabbles in mixed media art, zine production and playwriting.
I came to Phoenix... with my parents when they moved here in 1998. I was 14 and stupid. I was pretty naïve and downtown was a very different place back then. When a friend showed me the light a couple of years ago, it was like something clicked and I found myself coming back to the stage over and over again. I love living in Phoenix, and I wish I could travel back in time and kick my younger self in the head for not loving it here.
I make art because... I'm not sure how to do anything else with myself. I've spent my adult life making traditionally "bad" decisions concerning work and education, but it's those decisions that have led me to the place in life I am now, and I'm actually happier than I ever thought possible. I get to scream at people and leap around and they actually like it. Sometimes, they even pay to see it!
I'm most productive when... I have set deadlines to meet. I also love creative freedom and collaboration. I find myself reaching out and trying new ideas when working with a group.
My inspiration wall is full of... NES games, images cut out of Ukiyo-e books, stuffed animals and old Dungeons and Dragons books. I have programs from plays or shows I saw years ago that made me rethink my preconceptions about theater.
I've learned the most from... the performers I've come to admire and respect, like the amazing people surrounding Space 55, who have given me tremendous opportunities to explore the stage and have supported me as I've grown as a performer. Continuously performing is the best way to learn how to do it.
Good work should always... try to reach out to its audience and communicate something that exists truly in the moment. Be it visual art or the stage, an artist who only looks inwards is only half an artist. The truth is that some of the best work I've seen on the stage was by people we might call "amateurs" but have that special balance and can truly connect with the audience- some professionals just fake it.
The Phoenix creative scene could use... more support. If you're one of those people who says "Phoenix has no culture" then it's about time you put down the XBOX controllers and leave your house. I know it's hard to confront the truth when you've spent a long time believing something, but take the chance and come out and be a part of the amazing world that we're creating. Come to the Trunk Space, come to Space 55. Just come out and play.
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The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)
100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello 68. Claire Carter 67. Lindsay Tingstrom 66. Catherine Ruane 65. Christopher Crosby 64. Aaron Johnson 63. Brenda Eden 62. Colton Brock 61. Ernesto Moncada 60. Benjamin Phillips 59. Brad Armstrong 58. Angela Hardison 57. Tyler Quinn 56. Andrew James Benson 55. Charles Anthony Darr 54: Tiffe Fermaint 53. Eric Cox 52. Victor Vasquez 51. John Randall Nelson 50. Lauren Lee 49. Kyle Jordre 48. Julie C. Kent 47. Sean Deckert 46. Niba DelCastillo 45. Joseph Benesh 44. Ashley Harder 43. Dan Vermillion 42. Daniel Shepherd 41. James B. Hunt 40. Lori Fenn 39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen 38. Wayne Rainey 37. Christian Filardo 36. Melissa Cody 35. Jason Rudolph Peña 34. Cindy Iverson 33. Ryan Gentry 32. Sebastien Millon 31. Andrea Beesley 30. Chris Pruitt 29. Robert Diehl 28. Rachel Malloy 27. Jonathan Simon 26. Ann Morton 25. Kim Moody