Phoenix Designer Ruben Gonzales: 100 Creatives

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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: 56. Ruben Gonzales.

"I'm never not doing anything here," says designer Ruben Gonzales of his busy days running 11th Monk3y Industries, which is also home to The Lab Pop-Up Gallery, on Grand Avenue.

From building bike racks to printing custom pieces for Valley businesses and working with walk-in customers, Gonzales, who's 35, says sometimes his workdays stretch to 16 hours. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

See also: Phoenix Artist Nathaniel Lewis: 100 Creatives

Currently, his to-do list includes potentially creating some pieces for Co+Hoots' upcoming anniversary, building a few bike racks for shops around town, and working on something he's never done before to submit to this year's Chaos Theory show. "Either way I'm sure I'll have my hands full this year building a new up-cycled fixture, show or not!"

I came to Phoenix with... well I'm actually a born native Arizonan from Tolleson, Arizona. I moved into downtown Phoenix though because I knew there was a hidden life out here that I wanted to discover, and so I packed my tools and bike and moved. I came to Phoenix because it has that feeling, that camaraderie for local support from friends, family, and small business relationships! I came to Phoenix to help be a part of that change, growth and to help people understand that Arizona is not all what they see on the news.

I make art because it helps my mind relax. It's therapeutic, and it's a great feeling of turning nothing into something. And if what I'm making helps to inspire you, then I've done my job.

I'm most productive when I'm stressed and tired... Ha. Typical I guess?! In all honestly, hmm, I really dont know, feels like I'm always knocking projects out. Guess I don't think about it, I just do it. When you're enjoying what you love to do as your career productivity, and time never really cross the mind. Just hit your deadlines though!

My inspiration wall is full of bike parts, steel scraps, wood, tools, paints, cutting blades, hammers, welding equipment, silk screens and T-shirts, a photo of the original space I help to create and start down on the row row, oh and a painting from a one of my friends from Tolleson, Jose "Love" Reyes. He's a cool fella.

I've learned most from my mishaps, from my failures. I've learned the most from my grandfather, who told me to never quit and give up on what I'm doing just because it's not working right now. He showed me that opening a shop/studio/retail store isn't easy and shouldn't be opened up just because you/I want to become wealthy, but because it is needed. A local shop should be open because it is going to help impact your surroundings and your city -- hell, your state.

Good work should always be recognized and appreciated for what it is, even if you don't like it, [that] doesn't mean to bash it or disrespect it, just means it's not your taste.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more creative big spaces. The scene needs to be SEEN and shared.

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

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