100 Creatives

Tempe Artist Mikey Estes: 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: 27. Mikey Estes.

Consuming culture's a large part of Mikey Estes' life.

The 23-year-old recently graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor of fine art in sculpture. And when he isn't working as a barista or creating art, the Tempe-based artist says he's busy reading art publications, listening to music and going to shows, or binge-watching video art and television.

Soon, though, he'll be more focused on his artistic output.

See also: Tempe Artist Tyson Krank: 100 Creatives

"Now that summer is winding down, I've been starting to return to making work and it feels good to be back at it again," Estes says.

Last week marked the start of a busier schedule. Estes collaborated with Abigail Lynch on a one-night-only shipping container show that blended Lynch's photographs and Estes' sculptures. Recently, he's also started curating art for Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe.

"In the fall, I'll be showing with Kevin Moore at the new ASU Step Gallery at Grant Street Studios," he says. "We're both focusing in on the idea of residue. It's something that's certainly present in most of my work, but I'm fascinated about delving a little deeper into what that could mean. My friend Emily Harrington and I are also in the process of planning a queer dance night in September."

Mark your culturally conscious calendars, Phoenix.

I came to Phoenix with my family. I was born in Chicago and partially raised there, and then spent the rest of my childhood and my teenage years in Gilbert. So, I'm a Gilbert gurl at heart!

I make art because I think that there's no other option. I feel most alive and weird (in a good way) when I'm in my space playing around with my materials. I'm a decent writer, but there's no way for me to put what I do with my work into words. A six-foot tall fake ficus tree with hair extensions exists much better visually than in words.

I'm most productive when there's a deadline. That may be due to the fact that I just graduated from ASU and school revolves around deadlines, but since graduating I feel like I've done a decent job providing deadlines for myself. When my back's against the wall my intuition is free to do the best (and strangest) things.

My inspiration wall is full of... It's not a physical wall, but there's plenty of things scattered throughout my home: queer theory books and zines, fake plants, a dachshund, and random things that I find amusing, such as an acupuncture doll that my parents gave to me with an Adam and Eve type leaf taped to it. People I follow on Instagram and Tumblr also provide a good deal of inspiration.

I've learned most from my last year at ASU. I had the opportunity to study under several incredible professors, both within the School of Art and in the Women and Gender Studies department. It enabled me to discover a really organic process for making work that was liberating and very me.

Good work should always be rooted in something true to the artist and challenge the viewer in some way.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more dialogue between everyone involved and more spaces that enable this type of dialogue.

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

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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