100 Creatives

17: Daniel Mills

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.

Daniel Mills is a literature student at ASU with a focus in environmental criticism. But when he's not hitting the books or studying for finals, the 21-year-old runs PHXTACO, a blog dedicated to graffiti culture, the local art scene, and yep, tacos.

I came to Phoenix with ... a pacifier in my mouth when I was two years old. I'm proud to say that I've lived here my entire life, but unfortunately don't have the pleasure of saying I was born here. It's rare to meet an Arizona native. I like to think having been raised here is the next best thing.

I support art because ... I believe no city can achieve greatness without it. The benefits that a creative class offers to a society are plenty and can't be wholly quantified through a GDP or return on investment. I have always gravitated towards artistic people, and I think the idea that artists are somehow estranged from society or ungrounded from reality is simply false. I appreciate the way creative individuals perceive the world--in terms of color, composition, design, and functionality. These are things that are intrinsic in the common spaces and layout of our city. They do not cease to exist if you fail to incorporate them, so it's important to realize that artists of all mediums possess a unique ability to interpret the world in which we live, and those interpretations can help form a more humane world.

I'm most productive when ... I allow myself to be. I try not to wait for motivation. Every day is an opportunity to give myself a kick in the ass and make my existence a positive one.

My inspiration wall ... is a conceptual one--full of ideas, things I've learned, and conversations I've had with different people. One thing I look back upon a lot is a letter from my grandpa that details his life as a roofer and steel worker in Pittsburgh. It reminds me that people like him did honest work to build the cities and country we live in today. Phoenix is a relatively new city. There is still plenty room to leave legacies embedded in the buildings, landscape, and culture.

I've learned the most from ... the Sonoran Desert. That might be strange since I'm involved in an art scene that is synonymous with Phoenix's urban landscape, but I've gained an appreciation and respect for our natural environment that is unparalleled. There is nothing that can make me feel as positive and reassured as the desert after it rains. It comes alive. We live in an incredibly hostile environment, yet it was once home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations that ever was, and now houses the nation's sixth largest city. I am sad to think that our ever-growing need for development and master-planned communities is slowly eating away our desert environment. Creative and socially motivated individuals are well suited to incorporate the preservation of our natural environment into their vision for Phoenix.

Good work should always ... involve a love for the process. Art, like everything, is a process, even if most people only see the end result. A love for the process guarantees quality, honest work.

The Phoenix creative scene could use ... people who don't talk about the city in terms of how great it could be. Too many of us act like we're waiting for something to happen that will allow us to start actually caring or working towards something. Phoenix is a great city. Everything we need is already here--the people, the environment, the resources, the history, the culture. It's all here. The wheels are in motion. The foundation has been laid. We just need to embrace it. Find what it is unique to the city and celebrate it.

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 24. Kevin Flanagan 23. Such and Champ Styles 22. Julia Fournier 21. Rebecca Green 20. Jules Demetrius 19. Averian Chee 18. Sara Cochran

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton