100 Creatives

Mesa Artist Corinne Geertsen on Why Mistakes Are the Best Teachers

Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 25. Corinne Geertsen.

For Corinne Geertsen, it's all about the remix. 

Though, instead of working the ones and twos, the Mesa artist combines historical photographs with pictures she takes. "I’m going for surreal, humor with a twist of lemon, and psychology," she says. "Mischief and a good plight are excellent, as well."

Such layers of meaning aren't so simple to conjure, and Geertsen knows it. That's why, she says, she's never stopped making pictures. Her consistent practice means she's had the opportunity to learn from mistakes along the way.

The artist loves a challenge, and says it's what keeps her inspired: the push to create a compelling image. It's also what keeps her work, which her website dubs "images of wonder and quirk," in high demand.

Since 2005, the 63-year-old has shown her work across the Valley in some 14 solo exhibitions at such spaces as Vision Gallery and Tempe History Museum, as well as in group shows at Gebert Contemporary and Tempe Center for the Arts. Her work is in the collections of Arizona State University, the City of Phoenix, and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, where she presents yet another solo show this fall. Opening Friday, September 9, it's called "The Footnote Chronicles."

Her unyielding practice continues to pay off (she's also in the midst of making the exterior of the City of Tempe's time capsule), but the artist isn't content to sit still for long. "My biggest accomplishment is made up of a lot of smaller ones that add up one big one," she says. "Making a good picture, then another one, then another one."

I came to Phoenix with a 14-year-old Buick with no air conditioning and an MFA in fine art.

I make art because I’m quite sure if I don’t make my pictures, no one else will.

I'm most productive when my computer and software are playing nicely together.

My inspiration wall is full of Victorian and Civil War studio portraits, in focus.

I've learned most from my Photoshop guru. Everyone should have one.

Good work should always be hard to look away from. It will have concept and quality.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more people who put art in their homes.

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina
59. Myrlin Hepworth
58. Amy Ettinger
57. Sheila Grinell
56. Forrest Solis
55. Mary Meyer
54. Robert Hoekman Jr.
53. Joan Waters
52. Gabriela Muñoz
51. ColorOrgy
50. Liz Magura
49. Anita and Sam Means
48. Liz Ann Hewett
47. Tiffany Fairall
46. Vanessa Davidson
45. Michelle Dock
44. Nia Witherspoon
43. Monique Sandoval
42. Nayon Iovino
41. Daniel Davisson
40. Andrew King
39. Michelle Moyer
38. Jimmy Nguyen
37. Tiffany Lopez
36. Kristin Bauer
35. Donna Isaac
34. Douglas Miles
33. Sierra Joy
32. Francisco Flores
31. Amy Robinson
30. Julio Cesar Morales
29. Duane Daniels
28. Kelsey Pinckney
27. Ben Smith
26. Rembrandt Quiballo