100 Creatives

Phoenix Artist Nic Wiesinger: 100 Creatives

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See also: Phoenix Photographer Rosalind Shipley: 100 Creatives

Wiesinger's inspired by maps, and they impact how he portrays his environmental interests and concerns in his work.

"A lot of my work is water based, and place based, it talks about how we relate to the water around us, and how that water dictates how we live where we do," he says. "Right now I'm fascinated with the Colorado River, it has reached the sea for the first time in decades, mostly due to governmental efforts to try to revitalize the ecosystem that has been living without its natural water supply because it has been diverted to canals north of the Baja of California."

The former Eye Lounge member and Contermporary Forum grant recipient has explored some of these ideas in shows at ASU Art Museum, The Ohio State University, and at the International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference. Wiesinger earned his master's of fine art in intermedia art from ASU and studied education and social history at Ball State University.

And his upcoming projects will continue to look at how history, water, and place interact.

"I'm working on a proposal for interpretative signs at the Tres Rios Project, the wastewater treatment plant in southwestern Phoenix that creates wetlands from urban waste," the artist says. "I'm also fascinated by the large amounts of water that have been found in the earth's core. All water problems are local, either there is too much or not enough, but if we were able to tap into the water inside the earth, then maybe we can find ways to manage it easier."

I came to Phoenix with my one-ton cargo van which was an interactive public art performance piece. Oh, and all my possessions stuffed in that van.

I make art because it's my way of expression. I think artists are often like the sponges and the mirrors of society, they take in all the influences, all the visions and atmosphere and attitudes and ether of a place, and then reflect all of those influences back into the work that they create. I make art because it allows me an outlet to express, inform, and make tangible all the data and inexpressionables of this valley.

I'm most productive when I'm listening to a book on tape about water or environmental issues, or historical events. Or listening to NPR. I've found that listening to informative and intelligent programs help me to balance my creativity. It's my weight connecting me to the earth.

My inspiration wall is full of maps. And more maps. And maps of maps. I get lost in their representation of space, the way that a map is supposed to represent reality. There's a beautiful dichotomy in their usefulness and their uselessness, their subjective objectivity. And the colors are mesmerizing.

I've learned most from talking with others, learning from others. We are all a treasure trove of stories and information, if we are brave enough to listen and learn from one another.

Good work should always feel right. And come without being forced. The work that feels the most like what I want to create has seemed like it was just always there with me in the room, and I made it when I noticed it. If I have to continue to ask over and over again about how something is going to be or how something is going to work, I know I am forcing the piece more than it needs to be.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more incentives for keeping creatives in the Valley. I've seen too many amazingly creative people leave because there are better incentives and opportunities elsewhere.

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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