166 | Steven Assael x John Wentz - “Questioning Existence”
Steven Assael (born in 1957), is an award-winning American painter, credited most for his masterful artistry within his figure work and modern re-envisioning of the neo-classical, naturalist, and romantic techniques of old.
Being captivated with what the human form and image represent, ever-changing and seemingly random elements and deeply rooted emotional intelligence, Assael traverses what it is to be human, and the subtleties included within an organic connection.
Assael’s latest work includes his collaboration between himself and his represented gallery titled “Now We Meet Again” which focuses on individuals presenting images of loved ones, or individuals of significance to Assael through Zoom calls. Working through the purpose of the painting, Assael paints not only the image, but interweaves the very emotional framework and intentions the recipient presented beforehand.
Topics Discussed In This Episode:
- Seeking out advantages within painting and connecting with people during quarantine
- Separation bringing us together
- The intimate process of working with models and how they directly or indirectly affect the painting
- Allowing for change within his overall creative vision
- Teaching painting over Zoom
- What makes a good teacher
- The search for finding the right questions to ask
- Experience motivating change and providing a renewal of what you want
- Creating situations of exploration for oneself
- Extracting the right vocabulary while creating
- The element of control and power that children express when drawing different objects
- Understanding the dynamic of copying a subject while painting, and how that evolves into a deeper exploration of shapes, tone, atmospheres, and the figure itself.
- Giving breadth to form
- A great work of art being infectious
- The nature of romanticism
- Working from life being an “inquiry into your own humanness”
- The idea of questioning and rebelling within a visual outlook
- Human nature
- The environment of New York throughout the last forty years, and how it has changed
- The importance of theatre and the work of actors
- Symmetry and asymmetry, and its importance within artform and observation
- “Everything is everything” approach to life
- Learning what to see flowing into learning how to paint
- Nature being sporadic, and how we must become “like water” in order to succeed in our strategies in life
- A commercialized outlook within the art world
- Art becoming entertainment
- Faith and doubt
- Questioning of spirituality and existence