Phoenix Poet Shawnte Orion: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of Shawnte Orion
Meet the poet.

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: 21. Shawnte Orion.

Shawnte Orion's inspiration comes while in transit.

"I try to make the most of my daily commute to and from work," the Phoenix poet says. "The intensity of music and the clarity of solitude can produce the best brainstorms. It's one of the cheapest and most efficient artist residencies you can experience."

See also: Phoenix Artist Laura Spalding Best: 100 Creatives

Many commutes contributed to his latest collection of poetry, The Existentialist Cookbook, out this month via NYQ Books.

"There is a poem in my new book about listening to Colorstore's last two albums while driving to work, the morning after Mark Erickson died," Orion says. "It couldn't have been written any other way."

Orion will host a book launch party for The Existentialist Cookbook at {9} The Gallery from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 6. In addition to selling and signing the book, the event will feature live painting by Pyramid Country's JJ Horner, music from Robbie Cohen, and a few more to-be-determined guests.

I came to Phoenix with no idea that downtown would evolve into this big art-punk sleeper cell.

I make art because I want to document the ideas and experiences that I am too socially inept to tell you about in person.

I'm most productive when I am an hour past tired and become too weary to sabotage myself.

My inspiration wall is full of Richard Bledsoe's painting The Bear Who Swallowed The Stars, rejection notes, and Rocky Yazzie's original hand-drawn promo poster for the very first Laundromat Show (which I proudly played a small role in helping him put together).

I've learned most from Criterion Collection Laserdiscs from Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Jean Cocteau, etc.

Good work should always spin you off on tangents that take you further away from where you thought you were going.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more inward focus. It's important not to allow your own work to get derailed by obsessive comparisons to everyone else. Trust that what you are doing will be able to transcend the insecurities you are trying to deny.

Location Info


9 The Gallery

1229 Grand Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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