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: 35. Jesse Perry.
Jesse Perry's a Renaissance man of sorts.
The downtown Phoenix artist has a well-rounded résumé of painting murals and smaller scale works, performing stand-up comedy, and dabbling in film. And then there's the fact that he works at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel as the establishment's art director and curator.
For the 29-year-old, art is almost all-encompassing. He says he spends four hours a day painting, in addition to his full-time curator work at the hotel. And his current projects give just a glimpse of what he's up to apart from that.
He's working on his final-round project for MonOrchid's Thermal PHX competition, painting a private mural, spending a few days in San Francisco, where he'll participate in a Bill Murray art exhibition titled "The Murray Affair," showing a portrait he painted of the comedian wearing Joker-style makeup, and he's readying a stand-up set for an August 28 performance at Stand Up Live.
And in the midst of all that, Fixed Heart Films is creating a documentary about Perry and his "journey in downtown." From the looks of his current schedule, that seems like it'll be quite the trip.
I make art because I always have. Ever since I was old enough to hold a paint brush I have created art and can't imagine my life without the creative spirit. It is something I find in every area of my life from cooking, to conversing, to working and so on. "Art" is who I am and it is how I have survived this long.
I'm most productive when I have too many things on my plate with deadlines quickly approaching. I find I work best under intense pressure because I don't second guess myself simply due to the fact that there is no time to do so. I also find that when I have momentum, it is easier to stay in that creative groove rather than stalling and starting on projects all the time.
My inspiration wall is full of... I enjoy collecting artwork from my friends, other artist I respect, colleges I have worked with, as well as any piece that speaks to me. Combined with a few of my own pieces, my collection hangs on my walls, which you can barely see, for me to see every day and be reminded of my journey through life and inspiration. On my figurative wall of inspiration I keep all my clippings of my achievements and awards to remind myself of the linear progress I have made as an artist so I can muster up the courage to take that next step those few times I am afraid to.
I've learned most from paying attention to those around me and using my moral compass to associate myself with what I believed was the right path for me. So I guess my answer is.... others. I don't think I have ever been asked that question. It's difficult to really say that I have been inspired by or learned the most from one individual or one area of my life as every experience is a culmination to creating the person you are now. I suppose if I had to narrow it down, it would be other artists. Seeing a world of transforming color cascading through art history books and then transcending to the walls that surround my everyday life is truly an inspiration that keeps the fires of my passion to create lit.
Good work should always reflect the artist. As an artist grows their career, has more opportunities and gets more work, they will find that a small percentage of that work will be specific commissions or even logo work for businesses, while most jobs come from the style of the artist and they are generally given 100% creative licence. On these occasions it is easiest for an artist to see themselves in their work because it all them, but on those occasions that an artist is requested to do something out side their comfort zone or exact style, it important that the artist still be able to see themselves reflected in the work that they have learned or grasped a new concept that they can take back and incorporate in to their own style.
The Phoenix creative scene could use more commitment! I see so many good artists out there without the follow through. You know who you are and you know what it will take to elevate your work to the next level. If you don't know, go to every art show you see an flyer for, enter in to every call to artists available, join every social network out there and paint your ass off every day. This goes out to gallery owner/operators as well. You set the scales of professionalism for artists in the downtown scene and it is you who they look to to be guided, coached, and pushed outside their comfort zone. Finally, this goes out to all the art supporters in the scene. Showing your support is more than a "Like" on Facebook, you have to actually show up to the event.
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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 36. Josh Kirby
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.