Phoenix Poet Shawnte Orion: 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: 21. Shawnte Orion.

Shawnte Orion's inspiration comes while in transit.

"I try to make the most of my daily commute to and from work," the Phoenix poet says. "The intensity of music and the clarity of solitude can produce the best brainstorms. It's one of the cheapest and most efficient artist residencies you can experience."

See also: Phoenix Artist Laura Spalding Best: 100 Creatives

Many commutes contributed to his latest collection of poetry, The Existentialist Cookbook, out this month via NYQ Books.

"There is a poem in my new book about listening to Colorstore's last two albums while driving to work, the morning after Mark Erickson died," Orion says. "It couldn't have been written any other way."

Orion will host a book launch party for The Existentialist Cookbook at {9} The Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 6. In addition to selling and signing the book, the event will feature live painting by Pyramid Country's JJ Horner, music from Robbie Cohen, and a few more to-be-determined guests.

I came to Phoenix with no idea that downtown would evolve into this big art-punk sleeper cell.

I make art because I want to document the ideas and experiences that I am too socially inept to tell you about in person.

I'm most productive when I am an hour past tired and become too weary to sabotage myself.

My inspiration wall is full of Richard Bledsoe's painting The Bear Who Swallowed The Stars, rejection notes, and Rocky Yazzie's original hand-drawn promo poster for the very first Laundromat Show (which I proudly played a small role in helping him put together).

I've learned most from Criterion Collection Laserdiscs from Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Jean Cocteau, etc.

Good work should always spin you off on tangents that take you further away from where you thought you were going.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more inward focus. It's important not to allow your own work to get derailed by obsessive comparisons to everyone else. Trust that what you are doing will be able to transcend the insecurities you are trying to deny.

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 37. Monica Robles 36. Josh Kirby 35. Jesse Perry 34. Yai Cecream 33. Nathan Blackwell 32. Carley Conder 31. Ben Willis 30. Nicole Michieli 29. Brian Cresson 28. Tyson Krank 27. Mikey Estes 26. Anwar Newton 25. Sarah "Saza" Dimmick 24. Tato Caraveo 23. Jorge Torres 22. Laura Spalding Best

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