100 Creatives

Scottsdale Painter Oliver Hibert on Why Art Is a Life or Death Decision

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 63. Oliver Hibert.

Don't let the Day-Glo fool you. Oliver Hibert's swirling neon surrealism is born of nocturnal habits. 

"I don't day, I only night," the 33-year-old says of his creative process. "Cereal, cigarettes, e-mails, art, my wife, my cats, and howling at the moon."

Now based in Scottsdale, Hibert was born in Seattle and grew up in Phoenix, where his super-saturated paintings have found acclaim at both galleries and museums. 

"I don't like to give my art an end-all, be-all label, but my work can be mostly psychedelic, surreal, strange, and sexy," he says. "I am a painter first and foremost, but there is not a medium that I don't like to dabble in."

In an exhibition called "Psychic Space Twins" last December, downtown Phoenix art space Palabra showcased Hibert's work alongside that of Jacqueline Denton, with whom he's collaborated frequently. His work was featured in Phoenix Art Museum's "Fresh Paint" exhibition in 2003 and two Arizona Biennial showcases at Tucson Museum of Art. 

But his work has gone far beyond the boundaries of Arizona. Hibert has taken on creative work for clients including Fender, GQ, and MTV, among a lengthy list of others. Aesthetically fitting, he's also collaborated with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and designed a vinyl figurine for Adfunture Toys. 

The goal in creating, he says, is multifaceted. Hibert wants "to make the world a more fun, interesting, and surreal place. To leave my mark. And of course to fulfill selfish personal satisfactions."

I came to Phoenix with a twinkle in my eye, moss in my ears, and poop in my diaper.

I make art because I think I would die if I didn't. It literally gets me up every day and gives me one of the most powerful reasons to be alive and stay alive. I literally have to create art and get it out of me. I don't know what I would do without it.

I'm most productive when I am cozy and happy, and I am most happy and cozy when I am productive.

My inspiration wall is full of melting vintage nudes, swirling screaming clocks, and day-glo flashing flowers.

I've learned most from experience, trial/error, and a few seductive voices that talk to me in my head at night ... Pretty sure they are alien ghosts.

Good work should always come from the soul, from love, from passion, and to push not only the boundaries of art itself but of one's self.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more culture, color, and whimsy.

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski