17: Daniel Mills

Categories: 100 Creatives

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.

Daniel Mills, photo by Sara Dalton
Daniel Mills is a literature student at ASU with a focus in environmental criticism. But when he's not hitting the books or studying for finals, the 21-year-old runs PHXTACO, a blog dedicated to graffiti culture, the local art scene, and yep, tacos.

photo by Daniel Mills
I came to Phoenix with ... a pacifier in my mouth when I was two years old. I'm proud to say that I've lived here my entire life, but unfortunately don't have the pleasure of saying I was born here. It's rare to meet an Arizona native. I like to think having been raised here is the next best thing.

I support art because ... I believe no city can achieve greatness without it. The benefits that a creative class offers to a society are plenty and can't be wholly quantified through a GDP or return on investment. I have always gravitated towards artistic people, and I think the idea that artists are somehow estranged from society or ungrounded from reality is simply false. I appreciate the way creative individuals perceive the world--in terms of color, composition, design, and functionality. These are things that are intrinsic in the common spaces and layout of our city. They do not cease to exist if you fail to incorporate them, so it's important to realize that artists of all mediums possess a unique ability to interpret the world in which we live, and those interpretations can help form a more humane world.

photo by Niba DelCastillo
Douglas Miles, Colton Brock and Daniel Mills
I'm most productive when ... I allow myself to be. I try not to wait for motivation. Every day is an opportunity to give myself a kick in the ass and make my existence a positive one.

My inspiration wall ... is a conceptual one--full of ideas, things I've learned, and conversations I've had with different people. One thing I look back upon a lot is a letter from my grandpa that details his life as a roofer and steel worker in Pittsburgh. It reminds me that people like him did honest work to build the cities and country we live in today. Phoenix is a relatively new city. There is still plenty room to leave legacies embedded in the buildings, landscape, and culture.

I've learned the most from ... the Sonoran Desert. That might be strange since I'm involved in an art scene that is synonymous with Phoenix's urban landscape, but I've gained an appreciation and respect for our natural environment that is unparalleled. There is nothing that can make me feel as positive and reassured as the desert after it rains. It comes alive. We live in an incredibly hostile environment, yet it was once home to one of the greatest ancient civilizations that ever was, and now houses the nation's sixth largest city. I am sad to think that our ever-growing need for development and master-planned communities is slowly eating away our desert environment. Creative and socially motivated individuals are well suited to incorporate the preservation of our natural environment into their vision for Phoenix.

photo by Daniel Mills
Good work should always ... involve a love for the process. Art, like everything, is a process, even if most people only see the end result. A love for the process guarantees quality, honest work.

The Phoenix creative scene could use ... people who don't talk about the city in terms of how great it could be. Too many of us act like we're waiting for something to happen that will allow us to start actually caring or working towards something. Phoenix is a great city. Everything we need is already here--the people, the environment, the resources, the history, the culture. It's all here. The wheels are in motion. The foundation has been laid. We just need to embrace it. Find what it is unique to the city and celebrate it.

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
75. Alex Empty
74. Joe Ray
73. Carol Roque
72. Daniel Funkhouser
71. Carla Chavarria
70. Hugo Medina
69. Cavin Costello
68. Claire Carter
67. Lindsay Tingstrom
66. Catherine Ruane
65. Christopher Crosby
64. Aaron Johnson
63. Brenda Eden
62. Colton Brock
61. Ernesto Moncada
60. Benjamin Phillips
59. Brad Armstrong
58. Angela Hardison
57. Tyler Quinn
56. Andrew James Benson
55. Charles Anthony Darr
54: Tiffe Fermaint
53. Eric Cox
52. Victor Vasquez
51. John Randall Nelson
50. Lauren Lee
49. Kyle Jordre
48. Julie C. Kent
47. Sean Deckert
46. Niba DelCastillo
45. Joseph Benesh
44. Ashley Harder
43. Dan Vermillion
42. Daniel Shepherd
41. James B. Hunt
40. Lori Fenn
39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen
38. Wayne Rainey
37. Christian Filardo
36. Melissa Cody
35. Jason Rudolph Peña
34. Cindy Iverson
33. Ryan Gentry
32. Sebastien Millon
31. Andrea Beesley
30. Chris Pruitt
29. Robert Diehl
28. Rachel Malloy
27. Jonathan Simon
26. Ann Morton
25. Kim Moody
24. Kevin Flanagan
23. Such and Champ Styles
22. Julia Fournier
21. Rebecca Green
20. Jules Demetrius
19. Averian Chee
18. Sara Cochran

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