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: 64. Mo Neuharth.
Mo Neuharth is one for the books.
The Phoenix-based artist studied photography at ASU and developed a keen interest in DIY bookmaking during her last year in college. "I realized with my knowledge of photography, printing, and bookmaking I had the power to publish myself and other artists like myself -- who are passionate but aren't necessarily 'art stars' showing their work in major galleries and museums," Neuharth says. "I believe in books as a wonderful method of showing/spreading art."
That belief led to her founding independent publishing house Art Problems Press.
"It's been a year since I graduated and I am running the press out of two bedrooms in my Phoenix home," she says. So far, she's released two books: one photography book, 20,000 Hours, with works from six photographers, and one book of photos by Neuharth called Catalogue of Donuts.
Lately bookmaking has taken a back seat to Neuharth's other artistic pursuit: music. She plays drums in Numb Bats and is prepping for a summer tour. "Currently I am working on getting the Numb Bats album printed and booking our first US tour," she says. "We're leaving on July 31 and the tour is pretty much booked! It has been quite a long process."
But she'll refocus on Art Problems before attending the Detroit Art Book Fair in mid-September, when she'll sell works from the press. "Hopefully I'll be able to complete one new project before then, but haven't been able to spend as much time on the press as I would like to with the current attention and opportunities arising from the band. It's a constant battle to balance both things that I care about so much."
Between her artistic endeavors and her night job waiting tables, Neuharth says she wishes there were a better way for artists to support themselves in Phoenix. Then she'd be able to spend more time working on Art Problems and collaborating with other local artists.
Actual art problems notwithstanding, Neuharth says she's happy with her current projects.
I came to Phoenix without a choice. I was born and raised in Glendale and always fantasized about where I would live when the choice was mine. I'm 23 now and don't want to be anywhere else (permanently) besides Phoenix. My parents left and I stayed.
I make art because it is inherently programmed in my muscles. I would have to try extremely hard to fight creativity. This is easier because I am not violent.
I'm most productive (and inspired) when I don't have money.
My inspiration wall is full of everything I can find that is pastel. My favorite is an image of a light pink bunny with eyelashes in a blue sweater eating a hot pink carrot.
I've learned most from taking risks. When I try something new, I usually mess it up the first two or three times and curse a lot and cry. It's frustrating at first but never ends in failure, always progress.
Good work should always borrow from something that's already been done.
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The Phoenix creative scene could use more integration throughout the Valley. Compared to how vastly populated this city is there is only a small fraction supporting the arts.
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