100 Creatives

Phoenix Artist Monica Robles: 100 Creatives

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: 37. Monica Robles.

Creating is a round-the-clock endeavor for Monica Robles.

By day, Monica Robles works in graphic design. By night, she's a studio artist.

But the Phoenix creative wasn't always set on a career in the arts.

See also: Tempe Artist Rossitza Todorova: 100 Creatives

"As a young child I taught myself to sketch and draw by copying photos out of my parents' magazines," Robles says. "I wasn't surrounded by art growing up so I really wasn't pushed to be involved in any art classes. Once I was in high school, I stepped away from sketching and drawing and focused on studying advanced math, which I truly did enjoy. It wasn't until I began at the University of Arizona that I would find myself returning to my artistic roots."

She credits her time at U of A for pushing her into a more artistic headspace. "This is where I branched out and my creative mind kicked into full gear," she says. "One of my professors told me about this army surplus junk yard off of the freeway and that's when my mind just exploded with creative ideas. That's really where my love for used/recycled objects began."

Now, she splits her time between graphic design projects, including work for 5th Row Dance Studio and The Lab Pop-Up Gallery, where she also arranges artist exhibitions.

Her current projects include creating furniture pieces and gearing up for a fall show.

"I'm getting ready for our upcoming one-year-anniversary party at the end of September at our new location on Grand Avenue for 11th Monk3y and The Lab Pop-Up Gallery," Robles says. "I'm going to be showing new art pieces, and for the first time, I will be doing a wall installation. (I'm crossing my fingers on that one!)"

After graduating from the University of Arizona, I moved to Phoenix for a change and to experience a bigger city atmosphere. I moved to downtown Phoenix for the art scene and the diverse mix of people.

I create art because I truly love working with my hands and making art with objects that have been discarded. I enjoy giving them new life and new meaning.   I'm most productive when I'm under pressure, probably like most artists. But I most enjoy when I lose track of time and work for endless hours. The end result is all worth it!

My inspiration wall is full of illustrations, including two art prints, one from Sentrock (Fight the Good Fight) and the other from Mikey Jackson. I also have images that inspire me that I've cut out from PRINT and Dwell magazines.

I've learned most from watching and just getting my hands dirty and "diving" in. I've gone from creating oil paintings - mixed media paintings - graphic design- photography - to building furniture. I've been so lucky ever since we started the Lab on Roosevelt, I've got to meet and be surrounded by so many creative people. And working alongside Ruben Gonzales at our studio space -- he's taught me so much. I truly believe you continue to evolve as an artist especially when you start meeting new artists and sharing ideas. It's really a never-ending, creative process.

Good work should always inspire others and make people excited.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more spaces that have equipment readily available for artists to use.

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

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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