Hello dear surreal cupcakes, today we will continue to talk to artist Jim McKenzie about his little pumpkin Wonderland. If you have missed the 1.part, please, find it here.
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career?
The whole concept of it is one big challenge. Personally, my biggest struggle is trying to manage time between my job as a director, (or as my dad calls it "my real job") with my personal work. There will never be enough time in a day to really finish everything I'd like to do. I tend to put a lot on my plate to the point where it's nearly impractical. I may or may not accomplish the entire goal but either way it enables me to get as much done as physically possible. I'm not sure if I enjoy working under pressure or that I'm just more efficient under pressure.
What’s your background? Are you a self-taught artist or did you study art? What issues do you see with today’s art schools? How can they be improved? Do you think an art education is important or imperative for anybody wishing to be an artist?
I graduated from the Computer Art Department at School of Visual Arts. Whether or not an education in art is important or imperative really relies on who the student is as a person, and the career choice they're pursuing. There are brilliant artist that don't do homework and flunk out. There are students that have so much heart and do everything right but lack the talent. It's really up to the student/artist to make the call. My program at SVA was created with a faculty of working professionals. They were the ones that got me in the door to the commercial world. When someone hears the word art school, usually they assume you've wasted your money and will never find a job. Look around you! EVERYTHING IS ART! The cup in your hand, the seat you're sitting on, the architecture of the room that you're in, and the clothes on your back, someone designed it. So if everything we see is designed then it's safe to say that art may be the most popular career choice out there.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
The best advice I ever took: "Draw me like one of your French girls." - Scarlett Johansson.
The worst advice I ever took: "Draw me like one of your french girls." - Old Bill from down the street.
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing ABOUT being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I'm constantly distracted with what I DO like about the art world to grasp the politics that are unlikeable. It's all such a huge challenge for me; a hunt. It's a long journey with no true resolution. There's no rights and wrongs, just opinions. The hardest thing about being an artist is being an artist.
The artistic life isn't necessarily lonely as it's more solitary. I am most comfortable when I am alone surrounded by nothing but my own thoughts and a coffee. There's no need to counteract with something that you're comfortable with, in fact you must embrace it. I don't at all consider myself a lonely person. I grew up as an only child. My mother passed away when I was 16. I suppose that may have lead me to live more in my head. The trick is to take what's in your head and pull all that fun jazz out into the physical world. An idea will never be more than and idea until you make it a reality.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
I've always been drawn to voice acting. I'd like to get more involved with acting in general as well. Maybe incorporate more sculptures into my work. Ever since I could remember I've been fascinated with the large sculptures you find at miniature golf courses. It's like you're in a giant diorama that someone created. In the future's future, I'd like buy a warehouse and rebuild the chocolate room from 1971's Willy Wonka and open it to the public. That would be nice.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
Whether you're someone who wants to pursue a career in art, or just anyone who holds a passion for something other than simply existing, you have to make that passion your life. Engulf yourself in a world dedicated to what YOU want to do, because you're going to be doing it for the rest of your life. They say you only live once, but really you live every day, you only die once. If you don't create your own world you'll die in someone else's. This is something you have to live every day for. It's something that you will love and something you will hate. It will torture you in your sleep but you couldn't imagine living a day without it. As cheesy as it may sound, you have to understand art is not something you chose to do, it's something you were born to do.
Your work should be honest, pure, and from the heart, as it is a reflection of yourself. You are your own creation. Self promotion is keen in propelling yourself further through your journey. Make friends with people in your field. Surround yourself with what you admire. Ask questions, and develop your own style. Don't underestimate yourself, in fact tastefully overestimate! If someone asks you to create something that you find impossible, approach it as a challenge and go for it anyway. You might surprise yourself.
When starting out, there will be times where you try and tell people about your ideas, and they'll look at you like you're a crazy person. Don't let that discourage you, it's normal. Use those experiences as fuel to become stronger at what you do. You can't expect anyone to fully understand what it is you are trying to do until you actually do it. Don't be concerned with how others will interpret what it is you're doing. An unartistic eye won't accept what hasn't already been accepted. They say nothing's original anymore, or that it's all been done before, but I disagree. It's up to you to give birth to something that's completely undiscovered. People will like what you have to say, they just may not know it yet.
Your favorite quote is ...
"The only thing I'm certain of is I'm not certain of anything" - Socrates
or at least I think that's my favorite quote...
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
I like to sit with my dog and write music. I have a piano and some guitars. Music and art go hand and hand. If you can visualize the sound patterns you're playing on a piano then you can hear the patterns your pen draws. Everything you make has a tempo to it.
Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?
I do, do: Official website www.urbanindian.net
And if you'd like to see my commercial work click here (Vimeo videos).
King Killian from Jim McKenzie on Vimeo.
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
I've got 2 upcoming group shows this October. Stranger Factory's "Bewitching" in New Mexico, and Last Rites Gallery's "13th Hour" in New York. If anyone out there would like to have some drinks and talk about spooky paintings come on down. Oh and I'd also like to add, LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!
Thank you dear Jim for an interview, it was such an adventurous journey, yay! And we wish you only the best with your art career and could not wait to see your new works and visions ♥