Phoenix Artist Nathaniel Lewis: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of Nathaniel Lewis
Meet the artist.
Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 57. Nathaniel Lewis.

Hot dog, things are heating up for Nathaniel Lewis.

Originally from Saudi Arabia, the creative has also lived in Boston, where he was a toy designer. The artist, 32, has a master's degree in sculpture from ASU, and you may have spotted his work in the second edition of ARTELPHX at The Clarendon (his piece was the grinning sausage on a bun lounging by the pool). And he has a loaded-up schedule this summer and onward.

See also: Phoenix Fashion Designer Vara Ayanna: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of Nathaniel Lewis
Lewis' Happy Hot Dog is part of his "Big Head Day" installation in Tempe.
Lewis Lewis has an extensive IN FLUX: Cycle 4 installation called "Big Head Day" up at 323 East Veterans Way in Tempe. He has an upcoming show that opens on Friday, July 19, at Modified Arts with Alex Benson and Sasha Lewis (to whom he's not related). He's in another group show at Night Gallery called "Dog and Pony Show." Finally, he's "collecting a super-team of artists and creatives" for a blog called, which will launch this August.

Between the big events, Lewis keeps busy with his family and dog, listening to podcasts while working, applying to more shows and grants. "After my daughter goes down I either draw, do graphic design work or watch documentaries," Lewis says. "Then I lament how much more I could have gotten done and go to sleep."

I came to Phoenix with a minivan and a dream.

I make art because I have a hard time sitting still. My father was a workaholic and making things is my expression of that personality trait. Like many artists I have some kind of social disorder. So, I make images and objects to communicate my ideas in a weird effort to get other people to talk to me. But seriously, I love learning new skills and making things with my hands and making art gives me an opportunity to do all of these things and more.

Courtesy of Nathaniel Lewis
The centerpeice of Lewis' "Big Head Day" installation is this yellow figure.
I'm most productive when I have other things to do. Nothing gets me more organized than having too much on my plate.

My inspiration wall is full of toys, illustrations, colorful things, and sad things. My studio is wallpapered with clippings like a teenager's bedroom or a living Pinterest wall.

I've learned most from complete and utter failure. The two hardest pills to swallow in life are: A. You can do everything right and still fail. B. No matter how much work you put into a project sometimes you have to scrap everything and start from the beginning to get it done right.

Good work should always dumbfound you because the idea was always right in front of you and you didn't think of it first.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more patrons and creative companies. The job sector is sorely lacking in positions for creatives. I got lucky, but there is a whole generation of smart, creative people working jobs that don't line up with their degrees. I really love the Phoenix art scene, but it seems we have a wealth of good contemporary art and a dearth of people buying it.

Location Info


Modified Arts

407 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

The Clarendon Hotel - Phoenix's Urban Retreat

401 W. Clarendon Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Night Gallery

2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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