Joe Gyurcsak

The Impact of an Art Mentor, with Joe Gyurcsak

Joe Gyurcsak


Do you realize the power an art mentor has? They have the ability to guide and shape the next generation of artist. Unfortunately, this relationship is often underutilized. My guest Joe Gyurcsak believes strongly in the mentoring relationship. He has experienced the impact that older artist have had on his life AND he has had the opportunity to act as a mentor to the generation of artists coming up behind him. In our conversation, we cover the impact of having a mentor, his transition from illustration to fine art, how creative writing enhanced his artwork, and much more.

The transition from illustration to fine art

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to junk your current career path and make an abrupt change? That is exactly what my guest Joe Gyurcsak did. One night after a frustrating project as an illustrator, Joe decided that he was done. He made the decision and walked away. It wasn’t really a decision to turn from one thing and begin another at that point. But before long, Joe began producing paintings for fine art galleries. He quickly found himself swept up into a new direction for his work in the art world. It didn’t go completely smoothly for Joe from that point on, he had some ups and downs but he was confident that he had made the right decision and he was creating the art that he wanted to make.

Reading and Writing as fuel to the artist’s creative process  

What impact can reading and writing have in your creative process as an artist? I’ve had the privilege to interview many artists recently who have discovered the enormous impact that reading and more specifically writing has had on their creative process. My guest this week Joe Gyurcsak, tells me that reading and writing had a HUGE impact on him during a period of his life where he had to work in a field unrelated to his abilities as an artist. It was fascinating to hear as Joe described how creative writing helped clarify his thought process and really enhanced his approach to his artwork.

Advice for artists early in their career

What lessons can artists early in their career learn from more experienced artists? Joe Gyurcsak has some great insights that he’d love for some of his less experienced peers to learn from. He starts by encouraging them to put their work out there – boldly and consistently. Joe empathizes with the fear, insecurity, and nervousness that haunts many artists just starting off. But he is convinced that it is absolutely critical that artists take as many opportunities that come their way to show their art and sell their art. In Joe’s experience, the more an artist’s work is circulated and viewed, the chances increase for the artist to learn and grow from those encounters.  

Do artists need mentors?

What would it be like to have a mentor? Someone who can point out and identify things that you can’t see in your own work and life? Artist Joe Gyurcsak has enjoyed some wonderful mentoring relationships over his career. He’s been able to get advice and outside perspective on his work, technique, and how to navigate the art world. If you haven’t been convinced of the importance of having a mentoring relationship, hearing from Joe will change your mind. He is convinced that the success and growth he has experienced is due in large part to the generous investment he has received from talented artists.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] My introduction to this episode.
  • [1:45] Joe Gyurcsak joins the podcast.
  • [2:20] Joe talks about getting started with art.
  • [3:30] Artists that inspired Joe.
  • [4:10] Transitioning from student to working artist.
  • [5:30] Personal success.
  • [6:30] The decision to leave illustration behind.
  • [7:40] Difficulty transitioning to fine art.
  • [9:40] What advice would Joe give his younger self?
  • [11:30] What is Joe involved with right now?
  • [13:50] Joe’s process in the studio.
  • [24:00] Joe’s biggest setback in his career.
  • [27:50] What did Joe do to fuel the fire while he wasn’t employed as an artist?
  • [34:30] What is on Joe’s list right now?
  • [35:30] How do you establish a relationship with a gallery?
  • [40:00] What advice does Joe have for artists early in their career?
  • [43:00] How do you stay motivated when facing rejection?
  • [45:30] The significance of having mentors.
  • [49:00] How do you approach these mentors?
  • [51:00] How has working as a resident artist affected Joe’s art?

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originally published by Artist’s Magazine

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  • Great interview! I’ve been scouring the internet looking for John Howard Sanden’s 17 step blueprint for success (the link above doesn’t have it). Is there anywhere you know of that I can find a copy? Thanks!

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