Tempe Artist Mikey Estes: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of Mikey Estes
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: 27. Mikey Estes.

Consuming culture's a large part of Mikey Estes' life.

The 23-year-old recently graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor of fine art in sculpture. And when he isn't working as a barista or creating art, the Tempe-based artist says he's busy reading art publications, listening to music and going to shows, or binge-watching video art and television.

Soon, though, he'll be more focused on his artistic output.

See also: Tempe Artist Tyson Krank: 100 Creatives

"Now that summer is winding down, I've been starting to return to making work and it feels good to be back at it again," Estes says.

Last week marked the start of a busier schedule. Estes collaborated with Abigail Lynch on a one-night-only shipping container show that blended Lynch's photographs and Estes' sculptures. Recently, he's also started curating art for Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe.

"In the fall, I'll be showing with Kevin Moore at the new ASU Step Gallery at Grant Street Studios," he says. "We're both focusing in on the idea of residue. It's something that's certainly present in most of my work, but I'm fascinated about delving a little deeper into what that could mean. My friend Emily Harrington and I are also in the process of planning a queer dance night in September."

Mark your culturally conscious calendars, Phoenix.

I came to Phoenix with my family. I was born in Chicago and partially raised there, and then spent the rest of my childhood and my teenage years in Gilbert. So, I'm a Gilbert gurl at heart!

I make art because I think that there's no other option. I feel most alive and weird (in a good way) when I'm in my space playing around with my materials. I'm a decent writer, but there's no way for me to put what I do with my work into words. A six-foot tall fake ficus tree with hair extensions exists much better visually than in words.

Courtesy of Mikey Estes
Estes' Fierce Ficas is from his "Sort of Sacred" body of work.
I'm most productive when there's a deadline. That may be due to the fact that I just graduated from ASU and school revolves around deadlines, but since graduating I feel like I've done a decent job providing deadlines for myself. When my back's against the wall my intuition is free to do the best (and strangest) things.

My inspiration wall is full of... It's not a physical wall, but there's plenty of things scattered throughout my home: queer theory books and zines, fake plants, a dachshund, and random things that I find amusing, such as an acupuncture doll that my parents gave to me with an Adam and Eve type leaf taped to it. People I follow on Instagram and Tumblr also provide a good deal of inspiration.

I've learned most from my last year at ASU. I had the opportunity to study under several incredible professors, both within the School of Art and in the Women and Gender Studies department. It enabled me to discover a really organic process for making work that was liberating and very me.

Good work should always be rooted in something true to the artist and challenge the viewer in some way.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more dialogue between everyone involved and more spaces that enable this type of dialogue.

Location Info

Cartel Coffee Lab

225 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Grant Street Studios

605 E. Grant Street, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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