AD 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.  

Show Notes:
  • 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

Posted 06.28.2020


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino