100 Creatives

Phoenix Artist Laura Spalding Best: 100 Creatives

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See also: Jorge Torres of Phoenix's Palabra Collective: 100 Creatives

Last year Best, who works as the exhibitions manager at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, won a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant to further support her creative endeavors, which currently include a series of mirage landscapes of downtown Phoenix, preparing for an upcoming solo show, and developing a proposal for a multi-building mural series.

And that's keeping her every bit as busy as you might imagine.

"My average day is full of my family and work," the 33-year-old Garfield neighborhood resident says. "On a good day I have a little time for myself in the evening to plan or make my art."

I came to Phoenix in 1999 with a scholarship to ASU and the desire to get out of Illinois.

I make art because it has always been what I am best at and what challenges me the most.

I'm most productive when I'm ready to make art. Every artist has a different process to their work, I am the type that needs to sit with ideas and concepts and let them form for a long time before I execute them. Once the concept is clear in my mind I will make several paintings in a short, intense period of time.

Deadlines are good, too.

My inspiration wall is full of I don't have one of those. My inspiration comes from moments in my daily life. I might find inspiration during a drive to work, or while making up stories with my daughter, or overhearing someone else's conversation at lunch, or while taking the time to enjoy an Arizona sunset. No matter what I am actually doing, the back of my mind is always trying to solve a problem or come up with the next thing to pursue.

I've learned most from installing other artists' work. The last eight years working in a museum have changed the way I look at my own work. Helping artists and curators realize their vision has made my own vision more clear. It's also given me a better understanding of the relationship of the viewer and the artwork and the relationship of the artwork and the space it occupies. This is how I've come to look at my paintings as installation art and not solitary images bound to standard stretched canvases.

Good work should always be memorable. I'm always looking for dynamism in artwork, whether it is in the composition, content, or a single brushstroke. Good artwork will always leave an impression on you.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more commitment. There are so many great, committed, innovative, stubborn, hard-working people and organizations here already. In order to build on that foundation and support its expansion everyone, creatives and creative supporters, needs to be all in.

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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