100 Creatives

75: Greg Esser

75: Greg Esser

Greg Esser claims he doesn't fit easily under the label "artist," yet he continuously struggles to find anything more appropriate other than "other" to describe himself through the available on-line drop-down menus. He undertakes relentlessly optimistic endeavors in the name of Art.

His favorite quote about his chosen profession is from Andy Warhol: "Most people think Art is a man's first name."

List five things on your Inspiration Wall (real or imagined).

I'm inspired by invention and creativity in any form, whether art, science, literature, enhanced service delivery, energy savings or figuring out what to do with the paper wrapper that drinking straws come wrapped in... On the studio wall today: a letter from New Mexico author John Nichols who participated in one of my exhibitions, my Diné name as given by Andrea Hanley's father - "Koeí eil eeine" which means "fire maker," a watercolor postcard painted by Cindy Dach, a signed CD from Kristin Hersh which was gift after one of her shows at Modified Arts, one of her favorite venues in the country, and a black and white photograph of Mt. Rushmore taken by my grandfather in 1930 that shows the mountain with only George Washington partially complete...It's my reminder that time is another canvas...

What's your last big project?

I've spent the last five years painstakingly restoring a Territorial home in downtown Phoenix that Cindy Dach and I saved from the wrecking ball in 2004. The interior detailing is still an on-going work in progress. The Dr. George M. Brockway house, named for the pioneer that built it in 1909, represents an important part of Arizona history before statehood. The renovation work was supported in part through the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and was recognized this year with a Preservation Award from Governor Jan Brewer.

What's your next big project?

Scaling back.

How much do you hate being asked what your next big project is?

I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance and I hate questions about what I hate...

What's something you want Phoenix to know about you?

I've rescued, fixed and socialized more than 100 feral cats over the past few years, each one of which now lives happily in domestic environments among our kind. I have the deepest understanding of the old colloquialism, "herding cats." My next business card will read simply: Cat Herder (Ret.)

And, if you're game, what's something you really don't want Phoenix to know about you?

I can't remember jokes to save my life. I also couldn't tell you the first thing about car repair. To riff on Marco Rosichelli, Christopher Moore saved my life.

The Creatives, so far:

100. Fausto Fernandez
99. Brian Boner
98. Carol Panaro-Smith
97. Jane Reddin
96. Adam Dumper
95. Mayme Kratz
94. Daniel Tantalean
93. Yuri Artibise
92. Lisa Starry
91. Paul Hoeprich
90. Betsy Schneider
89. Mary Shindell
88: Gabriel Utasi
87: Tiffany Egbert
86. Angela Cazel Jahn
85. Dayvid LeMmon
84. Beatrice Moore
83. Michelle J. Martinez
82. Carrie Bloomston
81. Paul Porter
80. Rachel Bess
79. Karolina Sussland
78. Aaron Abbott
77. Mary Lucking
76. Erin Sotak