100 Creatives

Tempe Artist Amy Radcliffe: 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: 4. Amy Radcliffe.

Amy Radcliffe's creative pursuits aren't confined by media. The Tempe-based artist has gained an Instagram following for her quick captures of daily life (her handle's @amyrad), while her colorful portrait paintings have her busy with commissioned work. She takes to traditional canvas, letterpress paper, and pixels, constantly envisioning new projects.

"I'm always working on random pieces, mostly commissioned paintings, which are a blast, but the next big thing on the horizon involves a tattoo machine I'm currently saving up to purchase," the 25-year-old says. "I'm right in the middle of a letterpress piece that I'm particularly stoked about, hand-setting type for an old letter written by John Steinbeck."

See also: Phoenix Fashion Designer Cody Nathaniel Johnson: 100 Creatives

Her varied pursuits make Radcliffe all the more compelling. And they go beyond her artistic output.

"It's different daily," the artist says of her routine. "But it's usually some combo of serving at Crepe Bar, reading at Cartel, drawing stuff, writing stuff, rearranging furniture, wandering Maple Ash, then heading to work at A New Leaf, where I work with kids with behavioral health issues and eat Takis."

I came to Phoenix with my big family, a home schooled education, and braces.

I make art because I was made to! I totally believe humans were created to create. If I don't, I'm denying my birthright. The great thing about creativity being in my nature is that it's going to come out, one way or another. I make art because I want to steward my innate creativity well, and do it on purpose.

I'm most productive when it's 3 a.m. and my deadline is in a few hours. I absolutely work best under pressure. Aside from that, I'm productive when I'm stoked about what I'm making. There are plenty of things I make because I was commissioned and am being paid. That's just a part of the trade. But when I get to make something that excites me, I surprise myself with how rapidly I can produce work that I'm proud of.

My inspiration wall is full of random objects. I'll just literally look at my wall right now and list off what I see: a hawk feather I found in the woods, three old photographs (two of family, one of strangers), a paint-by-numbers transparency of a horse, unpainted, a Tempe High School football game ticket stub, a letter pressed print of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song, a bathroom sign that says "Gentlemen," and a photograph of my mother when she was my age.

I've learned most from surrounding myself with humans that are different from me, that are creating in ways that I am not. People that are laboring for creativity in engineering, pastoring their church, making crêpes, parenting their kids. We rarely grow when we're surrounded by what's familiar and comfortable. I learn most about the world through people's stories that are different from my own. That means I have to stretch myself and push my comfort zones, meet new people and ask them questions. This isn't natural or easy, it has to be a choice, because I will naturally gravitate toward what's comfortable and safe. But it's way important.

Good work should always be intentional. I think the good stuff comes most often when it's created on purpose. What that means to me is putting in the work. Taking time. Caring about every little decision you're making in the process of creation. Sure, cool stuff happens on accident all the time, but I think excellence in any craft always comes from a place of intentionality.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more commitment. I'm blown away by how many creatives there are in my community. There are so many talented folks doing brilliant things. Yet there will always be the "it" cities, where everyone knows that creativity thrives. Where every 20-something seems to be working towards getting to. Don't get me wrong, places like the PSW, San Fran, and Brooklyn are just oozing with creative culture and I love that, but does creative culture have to be limited to just these places? I truly hope not. I love my city, and I want to see it flourish. With as transient as this area is, everyone from snow birds to college students, we need creative people that will do creative things for the benefit of THIS city. Who will commit to seeing this place grow. So make yourselves at home, people.

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 21. Shawnte Orion 20. Mike Olbinski 19. Christina You-Sun Park 18. Jon Arvizu 17. Anya Melkozernova 16. J.B. Snyder 15. Damon Dering 14. Rebekah Cancino 13. Liz Warren 12. Timothy Brennan 11. Mimi Jardine 10. Rosalind Shipley 9. Nic Wiesinger 8. Kendra Sollars 7. Dan Hull 6. Elizabeth Maria Naranjo 5. Cody Nathaniel Johnson

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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