Daniel Mills: 2014 Big Brain Award Finalist, Urban Vision (VIDEO)

Katrina Montgomery
Daniel Mills founded Sprawlr to reimagine Arizona
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives, and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award announcement and Artopia on April 25, Jackalope Ranch and Chow Bella will introduce the finalists. Up today: Daniel Mills.

Daniel Mills spends his time thinking about the big concepts: identity, sustainability, and place, to name a few. The 22-year-old ASU English department grad got his start as a blogger, covering the local art beat at www.phxtaco.com, but last fall he decided it was time to take his passion for telling stories to a new level. Thus, Sprawlr was born.

See also: "Urban Legend" Award Celebrates Creative Phoenix Pioneers in Honor of New Times' Fifth Big Brain Awards

Katrina Montgomery
A selection of records that speak to the identity crisis of desert dwellers serve as Mills's inspiration
"Whenever you talk to people here who are trying to do something a little bit innovative or outside-of-the-box, the focus is not just that they are doing something ambitious, it's that they're doing something ambitious under the weight of living in Arizona," Mills says. "We constantly see ourselves as struggling against the hostile desert environment and the hostile cultural environment, but I see this as very retroactive."

With Sprawlr, Mills hopes to combat this corrosive mentality, offering up an alternative way of envisioning our desert home.

"A physical place is a living entity in itself and it is constantly changing. Instead of seeing ourselves as the subjects of this place that are constantly being affected by it, we should think about how we can also affect and change it."

The project is still in its beginning stages, but after spending four months in the evening program at Seed Spot, Mills feels like everything is falling into place. Sprawlr will be structured as a nonprofit so Mills will have the opportunity branch out in the future. "My overall goal is to have something that doesn't limit me to one thing, but opens me up to a lot of different projects," he says.

Video by Evie Carpenter.

Location Info


Seed Spot

2828 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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This, to me, seems like a genuinely interesting and ambitious idea.  Looking forward to reading Sprawlr.  Big brain, indeed. 

PS:  Love that photo.

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