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: 9. Nic Wiesinger.
Nic Wiesinger's all over the map.
Sometimes they're maps the artist creates, and sometimes they're maps he traverses. "I live in Phoenix but teach at Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale," Wiesinger says. "I also help install the exhibitions at SMoCA every three months or so, so I spend lots of time moving back and forth between the West Valley and Scottsdale."
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.
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