Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 36. Josh Kirby.
"Illustration is my passion, and I am never going to quit," Josh Kirby says.
The Mesa-based self-taught artist is the creative mind behind comic book series The Rebels, which follows three teenagers through a post-apocalyptic world, and Rebel Girl, about a punky badass who sets out on independent adventures.
He's in the midst of a few projects, including forming the second issue of The Rebels, which he says is "slowly coming together." He's also working on a new comic called Greywash, and was recently commissioned to work on 31 pages of album art for a hip-hop group. "So my hands are pretty full," Kirby says.
I came to Phoenix with just a traveling bag and a really bad acoustic guitar... was traveling around Portland for sometime, working on art, decided to come back to Arizona, and really started to push my artwork out there. And here I am now presenting in Comicon.
I make art because it's my passion. Cartoons are always on my mind. It's my way of expressing myself. You know sometimes you look at a person and you think, wow that guy kinda looks like a frog, or a lizard, or even a bird. Well, I am going to draw that person like that. And before I know it I am drawing my friend creepy Don and I come up with my "REBELS COMIC" characters. Hahaha. So inspiration is everywhere. Whatever you are doing, just be sure to love it. 'Cause the more you do it, the better you get. So I hope it's a trait you want to live with.
I'm most productive when it's the middle of the night. It's about time to go to sleep, but my mind is running wild from the day. I cant help but just grab a pen and paper and just go to town drawing. I always tell myself, I am just going to add this red, or I'll shade it in the morning, but realistically I am sitting there finishing my piece thinking I should go to sleep, but that isn't going to happen. Hahaha.
My inspiration wall is full of toys, comics, and cartoons. Man, when I was a kid, I didn't have these iPads or Xboxes. I barely had a Playstation, but I was a poor kid. So we couldn't keep up with technology. But that doesn't mean it was bad, just meant that I would read comics. Pencil and paper was cheap. And I had stacks of VHS cartoons and still do to this day. I'd watch Rugrats for hours, Looney Tunes, Globetrotters super heroes, Street Sharks, Batman, and everything else I could get my hands on. Not to mention I was swarmed by action figures. I love toys. So as I got older, keeping that inner kid in me. I combined them all. Haha.
I've learned most from comics and cartoons, studying how to draw, practicing everyday, and having fun while doing so. I like to give myself a "one a day" goal. where everyday i draw at least one piece. I know my day gets busy and no matter what. I'll stay up 'til 2 a.m. in the morning, just to know that I was still on my "one a day" plan. and because of it. I swear I learn more and more each day. If you're an artist, I'd suggest the same plan.
Good work should always be original. It's hard to say that one piece of art is horrible. Not to mention setting two painting next to each other and saying. "Well this one sucks". Everyone has their own opinions, I don't think there is such a thing as bad art. It's just a matter of who's judging it. But my personal preference for what I like in artwork is heavy contrast, bold lines, correct proportions, clean lines, pop art. It's hard to narrow it down, because I love seeing all styles of art.
The Phoenix creative scene could use more enthusiasm. I hear too many people say they want to do something, yet they dont take that step forward to do so. Or I meet a lot of people who make some artwork but are not ready to work with others. Then there are those who just stress their booths because they are worried about the income, but they'll never admit that, or they are just lazy haha. What happened to having fun with your art? You can tell when someone is passionate about their work. It will show. Be creative, have fun, try new things, work on projects with others, create more shows, THINK BIG. And don't stop trying. Not everyone liked The Beatles. Hell, someone killed John Lennon, not everyone in the world likes Elvis. What I am getting at is, don't make anything you wouldn't like yourself. There will always be someone in the world that likes the work that you are doing. So don't be scared and get out there.
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See the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives:
100. Bill Dambrova 99. Niki Blaker 98. Jeff Slim 97. Beth May 96. Doug Bell 95. Daniel Langhans 94. Nanibaa Beck 93. Nicole Royse 92. Ib Andersen 91. Casandra Hernandez 90. Chris Reed 89. Shelby Maticic 88. Olivia Timmons 87. Courtney Price 86. Travis Mills 85. Catrina Kahler 84. Angel Castro 83. Cole Reed 82. Lisa Albinger 81. Larry Madrigal 80. Julieta Felix 79. Lauren Strohacker 78. Levi Christiansen 77. Thomas Porter 76. Carrie Leigh Hobson 75. Cody Carpenter 74. Jon Jenkins 73. Aurelie Flores 72. Michelle Ponce 71. Devin Fleenor 70. Noelle Martinez 69. Bucky Miller 68. Liliana Gomez 67. Jake Friedman 66. Clarita Lulić 65. Randy Murray 64. Mo Neuharth 63. Jeremy Hamman 62. La Muñeca 61. Kevin Goldman 60. Emily Costello 59. Kerstin Dale 58. Vara Ayanna 57. Nathaniel Lewis 56. Ruben Gonzales 55. Lisa Poje 54. Bobby Zokaites 53. Frances Smith Cohen 52. Julie Rada 51. David Miller 50. Xanthia Walker 49. Kyllan Maney 48. Cary Truelick 47. Constance McBride 46. James D. Porter 45. Allyson Boggess 44. Abigail Lynch 43. Ashley Cooper 42. Jaclyn Roessel 41. Brandon Boetto 40. Melissa Dunmore 39. Gavin Sisson 38. Rossitza Todorova 37. Monica Robles
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.