For this edition of BehindThePen, I interviewed TheShoeSurgeon who is a handmade Cobbler DESIGNER ARTIST that is based in Los Angeles. He " First started as a kid building things... from then it turned into fashion... i got all the newest retro Jordan's early.. but soon enough so did my friends. So i decided to paint my own pair. the rest is HISTORY..."
EXPLAIN THE MODERN DAY SNEAKER CULTURE OF LOS ANGELES?( WHAT SHOES DO YOU SEE THE MOST)?
in los angeles it changes daily, everyone has a unique style you don't really see the same thing.
WHAT INSPIRE YOU TO TRANSFORM A PAIR OF VANS INTO BOOTS?
the art of shoe repair.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED FROM YOUR MENTOR(s)?
WHAT ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOUR CAREER?
that its easy or inexpensive to do.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE TIME YOU'VE DESIGNED YOUR FIRST SNEAKER? WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE AND DO YOU STILL OWN THEM?
I wouldn't call it design but the first time i airbrushed my all white af1 mids in camo was the best feeling ever i was in highschool
WHAT MUSIC HELP INSPIRE YOUR CREATIVITY?
I don't got no type.
THE GIRL OF YOUR DREAMS IS WEARING WHAT SNEAKER?
I'm not a fan of woman wearing sneakers really.
WHAT ARE THE BRANDS YOU FEEL DON'T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION , THAT YOU PERSONALLY LIKE?
i think there are too many brands....
HIGH TOPS OR LOW TOPS?
just depends on my mood. i like low tops for me personally
WHAT DO YOU WANT THE SNEAKER ENTHUSIASTS OF DETROIT TO TAKE FROM YOUR WORK?
it took me 12 years to get here! and thank you for enjoying my art, work, craft
For this edition of BehindThePen, I interviewed world renowned artist Scott Listfield. Listfield is an artist from Boston, MA and is "known for his paintings featuring a lone exuploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references."
So Let's Begin, It's 2033, what are you doing?
Well, we'll be in the middle of a war with the robots, and I'm no good with actual fighting, so I'll probably be helping out the human resistance by, I don't know, doing paperwork somehere. Assuming I survived the assassination attempt spearheaded by my Netflix account, of course.
What's the Definition of an artist?
I'm not really a dictionary, but I imagine that anybody who creates anything is an artist. There's a lot of discussion these days over "Is this art? Is that art?" Frankly, I'm not really that excited about those kinds of arguments, but I think the obvious answer is "Yes, that's art." Because I don't think there's any person or group of people who gets to decide what art is or isn't. But just because something is art doesn't mean you have to like it. I can think of a lot of art I don't like. But I can also think of a lot of art I do like. I'd rather focus on that stuff, personally.
Do You Think the Moon Landing was real or fake?
Real, and I think we should go there again.
What affected your artwork the most while being abroad?
Well, I saw a lot of amazing things and met a lot of amazing people. But the biggest thing for me was the feeling of being a very small part of somebody else's world. I remember little things, stupid things, like wandering aimlessly around the local supermarket looking for cookies, or spending days eating nothing but some off brand cereal with a hippo on the box, or walking out of a cold, snowy train station at midnight without any real idea of where I was going to spend the night. I know those are the types of things that everybody feels when they travel - the uncomfortableness of being outside of your routine. But what was surprising was that when I returned home, it never really left. I still didn't feel at home, exactly. Everything felt kind of new and strange, and that feeling has stuck with me all these years later.
What Type of Music are you into?
Lots of different stuff but if I had to describe it in words, I'd probably say an equal combination of 'aging hipster' and 'semi-nostalgic crap.'
Where is One Place You Would Recommend Your Astronaut to Visit?
I don't have any particular travel recommendations. I think the astronaut in my paintings spends an equal amount of time in pretty exciting and pretty damn boring places. In other words, Earth.
What Do You Feel About the Current State of Art Education?
I haven't actually been in school for a very long time, so I might not be the best person to ask. But I've got decidedly mixed feelings. I mostly enjoyed my own education, but I wonder if art schools are really setting students up for success. I mean, the art world is a pretty crappy business, and I don't think anybody is really prepared for that part of it, coming out of school. But I have a big problem with young kids, early twenties, coming out of school with massive amounts of debt and a college degree that won't help them get much of a job, and has only kind of prepared them to be a working artist. For a lot of them, that's a degree they might never pay off. It seems kind of questionable to me for a group of pretty smart adults to put young impressionable kids in that position. I ended up getting a day job instead of going to grad school, which at the time wasn't really a conscious choice, just something I needed to do. But having a day job released me from having to worry about selling my art to make ends meet. There's a lot of pressure there, and I like not thinking about dollar signs while I'm painting. It let me make art that was, at least for a while, kind of weird and unsellable. I think that's kind of important, and maybe that's what school is about, but at the end of that exploration, I was making paintings that were both weird and sellable, but I didn't need to sell 50,000 of them in order to pay off school loans.
On the flip side, I have a lot of friends who teach art, and I always thought that's where I'd end up. I love talking to students. The actual teaching part of education is really great. But to do so, I'd have to go back and get a grduate degree, and there's no way I'd do that now. I would, very literally, be better off flushing money down the toilet. It bothers me to say this, since I have so many friends involved in education, but it all seems a little like a Ponzi scheme, doesn't it? You pay somebody a ton of money to get a degree that really only qualifies you to work for them, where you'll get paid a pretty lousy amount of money, and then you help teach the next generation, while the institutions take their money. Frankly, it bums me out, but these days it seems like a money making factory, but not really for the students or the teachers. If you took the big money out of it, would I feel better about art education? Sure. Although I still think, a lot of times, education sets up students to create a certain type of work that mostly only functions in the vacuum of a school.
What is a goal you felt your art hasn't accomplished yet?
I try not to set specific goals for my art because so much of it is out of your hands. I mean, I haven't had a solo show in New York. But I might never have a solo show in New York, and I can live with that. Or someone might offer me a show there tomorrow. It's out of my control. I'd like to keep making paintings and, hopefully, to keep getting better at making paintings, beyond that, who knows? But if you do those two things, good stuff starts happening. Just usually not in predictable ways.
What is a goal you thought it has accomplished?
One of the primary reasons I started making these paintings of astronauts is that I felt like I might have something to say. I really had no idea if anyone would give a crap about what I was saying, but I figured if I kept at it, maybe someone might be interested. But I genuinely had no idea if these were things that only I found interesting. It's kind of profound to make something that resonates with somebody else, and I didn't really start out with the expectation that I would. And it took me a while. But I think there are people, more than one at least, who like my work. It's still a pleasant surprise to me when people reach out to me, to say they like what I'm doing. When somebody buys a painting, to put up in their home, where they live, so they can look at it? I mean, that's pretty amazing, right?
If you could give all your work to one person who would it be?
I don't think I'd ever want just one person to own all of my paintings. I'd prefer a bunch of people to be able to see them. And I'd like to think anybody can own a piece of artwork.
Favorite artist from the renaissance era?
It depends on your exact definition of 'renaissance' but I've always been partial to El Greco.
What do you want the art lovers of Detroit To get from your work?This is going to sound like a cop out, but they can take away whatever they want. Some people like my paintings just because I often paint recognizable characters form movies or TV. And that's totally fine. Some people might notice that I always leave the facemask of the astronaut blank, and that he appears in each one of my paintings, and those folks might put themselves in the shoes of that astronaut and take a look around. At my paintings, sure, but also at the strange, weird, and mundane stuff they've got going on in their lives.