1. Hello can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be an artist?
As a child of divorce, abandonment, physical, mental and sexual abuse in the early sixties I was always in trouble. One day at age 6 I was particularly bad and was sent to the headmasters office.
He sat me down, and in order to shut me up and keep me still he gave me a pad of paper and a pen and said, "draw something". I did. Two days later I saw my drawing on the cover of the school play brochure. The head master came up to me, patted me on the shoulder and said "well done". That pat on the back and the two words "well done" were the first time in my young lifeless life that I received praise from an adult authority figure. The reason I'm an artist is that I have been chasing that pat on the back for 54 years now.
2. What projects are you working on at the moment?
At age 60 I am jumping into the abyss, abandoning 44 years as a painter/artist and I am developing an entirely new direction and body of work in the New Media/Contemporary Media, Algorithmic Abstraction. Its scary as shit! An yet I have never felt more inspired or alive as an artist.
3. What do you do to stay at the top of your game as an artist?
Take chances. Follow my own ambition. Know that life is short. Know that nothing matters anyway. Tell the world to piss off.
4. How do you deal with rejection?
I am cold blooded when it comes to my work. In 1990 I had my first *big one man show, in St. Louis. I think I produced maybe 60 paintings or so. At the opening I was eavesdropping and I heard a couple talking about my work. They said something to the effect "this work is pathetic, a child could do this, how does this rate an exhibition?" For about 3 minutes I was destroyed. Then another couple came up to the same painting the first couple were critiquing and they plopped down cash and paid for it. I learned in the span of about 5 minutes, that perhaps the majority of people will dislike my work ~ but its the tiny percentage that pay their hard earned money for my work that I need to care about. Since that day I've never suffered rejection
5. We do a lot of mindset work in Flow, how important is it to have a healthy mindset as an artist and how do you keep yours healthy and positive?
Mindset. Healthy mindset. I maintain a healthy mind set by compartmentalising. My mind concentrates on being a good father, by showing up on the school run on time, by treating my wife as an equal and a partner with love and respect. I keep a good mindset by nurturing my daughter and my son, by giving, by going for walks, by binge watching comedies. By laughing. By taking care of my health. By knowing that art is my job and my life is my life. I subscribe to the Andy Warhol maxim that "Art is a 9 to 5 job. And to paraphrase Chuck Close, "Inspiration is for amateurs, real artists go to the studio and work".
6. Who and what influences your art?
As a voracious reader and student of Art History and Art Present, I am influenced by the men and women who made marks in caves, to the kids in my daughters 11 year old art class. If you don't study art, if you're not familiar with what has come before, or what is happening around you in the present, you will create redundancy, repetitive, and copied work.
7. There are a lot of negative connotations in the arts, you have to be from this background or know these sort of people in order to be successful. What is your take on that and what is it that drives you to overcome limitations?
My only limitation is lack of time. Regarding "these sorts of people"; artists make things out of thin air that for whatever cosmic ridiculous reason we humans subscribe great value to, our product, our work is nothing more than free chum in the commercial sea and it attracts sharks. Learn to swim with the sharks. The world is a very tough, mean and unfair place. I create a product. No artist is anything other than a hobbyist if they don't have a distribution chain for their product. Those who control the distribution chain are business people, not artists. Animals of two different worlds that need each other.
8. What is a typical working day like for you?
Get up. Feed kids. School run. Read Washington Post and NYTimes. A little admin. Then depending on works in process, commissions, or laziness I will prep, or paint or finish what ever work is needing to be done and delivered.
The secret to success is *finishing the work.
9. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to a time when you were just starting out as an artist and maybe struggling for exhibitions or commissions and a healthy income, what advice would you give to yourself?
Go into banking!
10. And finally, how important is social media for you as an artist?
I use social media as a sounding board for new ideas. I use social media to communicate with dealers and curators. It is thus far primarily used as a method of communication for new ideas. Overall I think social media in general is a vast sewer. I only use instagram.
Thank you Alex!
To see more please visit www.alexecho.com