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With the impact of social media and the ability to get instant feedback from your audience and fanbase, an important question for artists to consider is “What are you willing to compromise?” If the majority of your followers don’t find your new experimental process or project interesting or if they go so far as giving you negative feedback, what do you do? Do you give in to popular opinion or do you follow your convictions? This problem is unique to the issue of having your artwork exposed to the public via social media. Artist John Wentz and I spent time going deep into this subject during our conversation. He has some great points to address when considering the level of engagement an artist should have with their digital audience given the difficulties that can arise.
Social Media and the inability to Slow Down
One of the drawbacks to living in such an increasingly modernized and advanced society is the impact of social media on our ability to slow down. Every spare moment can be filled by pulling out that smartphone and checking Facebook or Twitter. Can you imagine how this has impacted the way we think and process what should be quite moments in our lives? Consider the implications of not being able to slow down and be present, that can drastically change the creative and artistic process. My guest, John Wentz believes that the impact of social media has distracted us in more ways than we realize. He says that we need to be vigilant of this influence and work intentionally to create those spaces, especially as artists, to be present and at peace in mundanity and stillness.
Appropriation vs. Influence
What is the difference between appropriating art and being influenced by it? What does it mean to understand, appreciate, and respect someone’s artwork and genuinely let it influence you without appropriating it? Artist John Wentz devoted some time in our conversation to this topic and how he sees it’s impact on the art world. He focused more on the meaning behind the use of an individual who sees work they resonate with and tries to incorporate that into what they are trying to create. John also posits the idea that maybe social media is the new art and we are more of a hive mind now rather than when we use to operate more as individuals. Our conversation was a fascinating one that I thoroughly enjoyed and I know you will too!
The Benefit of Stepping Away
How do you take care of yourself creatively, emotionally, mentally, etc.? What is your plan to avoid burning out and getting turned off of the work that you do? If you don’t have one in place, it might be a good time to consider creating a plan to help you recharge. Artist John Wentz spoke with me about a recent period in his life where he was able to step away from painting and take a two-month break. John speaks of this break from the creative process as being extremely helpful and rejuvenating. He found that when he was able to step away for a period of time when he returned to his work at the easel, he was able to really reconnect to his inner place of motivation.
The Draw of New York
Many artists find themselves drawn to the city of New York. There are a number of factors involved with this draw, from the dense population to the history, and even the iconic nature of the city, what’s not to love? John Wentz devotes a large portion of his current work that is being shown in galleries to the city of New York. He tries not to be too “heady” with the concepts that he puts forth but you can tell in our conversation that his passion and fascination with city really shines through. I was able to really connect with John on this note because he mentioned that he enjoyed just sitting back in Union Square and watching people go by all day long.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:40] My introduction to this week’s guest, John Wentz.
- [3:30] John talks about how he got started with art.
- [14:00] Where has the time to slow down gone? How does that influence artists?
- [19:00] Appropriating Art and the influence of Social Media.
- [25:00] John talks about taking a break from art work how that helped.
- [36:00] John’s process.
- [42:30] John and I talk about his relationship with abstract art.
- [48:00] What John is working on currently.
- [58:00] Following your convictions and passions even if it’s not popular.
This episode sponsored by:
Artists Mentioned on this episode
- Brett Amory
- Kim Cogan
- David Choong Lee
- Adam Forfang
- Kevin Moore
- Ann Gale
- Ewan Uglow
- David Kapp
- Alexander Kaletski
- Gerhard Richter
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- John on Instagram: @johnwentz
- How art made the world BBC
- Intelligence Squared
- Hashimoto Contemporary
- Arcadia Contemporary
- Abend Gallery