100 Creatives

75. Alex Empty

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So as we count down to our annual Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives

Alex Empty's a tattooer, visual artist/painter, musician, and kick-ass dad.

He says his visual art and tattoo style as bold and western traditional. "I like simple, strong, but nuanced images; folky but smart; efficient, but sometimes quirky. I enjoy themes of how we battle our psyche through life and love, and negotiating with the sense of self and its certain impermanence. I see the classic tattoo as a good metaphor: a place keeper in a finite timeline."

I came to Phoenix with . . . an idea that I would be learning one career and ended up in another all together. I (twice, sort of) went to school to work on motorcycles. I had to hate it here for a long time, move to SF, and then come back to really understand what makes Phoenix special.

I make art because . . . its what I got. Tattooing, and creating art in general is the means of connecting the dots of my life: who I am, who I want to be, what I produce, and what I have to do to thrive. I am fortunate enough to get to pursue what my brain is inclined to do, and be able to provide for my children. I'm most productive when . . . I'm in that whirlwind state that is purposeful and charged. Also, Thursdays have been historically decent. My inspiration wall is full of . . . old dumpy war era tattoo flash, a postcard of Picasso's "La Vie", a photo of a Giant bronze Buddha I took in Japan and a little Maryland blue crab pin. Music by Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg and Morrissey. Also, the sentimentality of loving life and the ticking clock which reminds us all that its meaningless.

I've learned the most from . . . my young daughters. They have given me the perspective of what is really important, and the motivation to seek out the answers I need. That fuel seems so tied to the creative process. My colleague Taylor Ryan has really helped me flourish. Working together so intensely with another artist for a few years has really helped me understand my process, its strengths and weaknesses, and the simple math that I get back only what I put forth.

Good work should always . . . make us feel like we just missed it, like seconds ago, forever. Its honest and real, and maybe already over. I love art that leaves me feeling not only drawn into the narrative, but also that naive and amazing feeling of just having discovered it. Wonder. The Phoenix creative scene could use more . . . palatable drinking water.

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson

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