NFT Discovery #6: Joshua Levin
The artist of two great works of art in my collection should get our full attention today.
When I was allowed to admire his works for the first time, an image immediately caught my eye, which immediately captivated me with its energy, inner joy and radiated vitality.
1. What inspired you to become an artist?
Truthfully, the story is too long and convoluted for this format. The short story is that I didn't have much of a choice. I was born this way. Even when I work on other things or explore other aspects of life, I'm always looking for the art in it. I can't really help myself. It's like needing to eat. My thoughts often come to me in visions, and when I'm sorting out ideas, I'm often looking to represent them visually.
2. Please tell us about the artwork which, you are most proud of.
I like different pieces for different reasons. I'm always striving to make work that speaks to me first. Much of my work is the product of trying to understand or better express some aspect of an ever changing growing sense of my self and my connections to the world. As I work and meditate on an emerging idea, I come to a better understanding of myself and the concept. Sometimes I am pleased to see my heart and mind well represented in the final piece. That's satisfying. There are other times where I am really working on some kind of technical skill or visual challenge, and the piece is an attempt to evolve or solve. When it goes well, there is also satisfaction, but it's much less so if there is not also a clear thread of content, meaning, and purpose in the work. It doesn't have to be uptight. I love humor. Raw beauty has it's place. Sexuality, darkness, even violence can be artful. It all depends on context and the awareness we bring to it, in both creation and observation.
3. What main statement did you want to make with that artwork?
What I appreciate most, is that you are asking this kind of question. I don't think artists or audiences ask it enough. I'm always asking myself, "what is this about? Is that really what it's about, or is there something deeper?" Beyond that, there's the question, "do you really want to bring this to the world? Does the world need it? Is it an improvement on silence, or is it just more noise?" These are hard questions, but I think they're important. It takes courage to ask ourselves why we like a piece of art. It's really the same courage it takes to examine our own lives. It's in that examination, that questioning, that art begins to work it's deeper magic; life becomes richer, we feel a bit deeper, we understand and see a bit more.
4. What else you wanna tell us about your art?
I've never been very good at making art from the perspective of what my audience might want. Everyone tells you that you have to have a brand, that you need to be consistent, that you need to reliably deliver what the people want. I've always been most intrigued and inspired by artists that are constantly pushing their edges, constantly trying new things, reinventing themselves. That's how I moved to digital in the first place. In the last decade or so, I went from sculpture, to paint, to digital to 3d. My subjects and styles shift with my interests and where I see opportunities to challenge myself, grow, or express. I'm not comparing myself with them in terms of skills, but it's a little bit like David Bowie in music, or even DaVinci- there's just this irrepressible desire to think outside of any possible box and find new ways to dream it up. It takes longer to find them, but I know there are people out there like me, folks that appreciate the surprises and the adventure, even when they don't like the actual artistic turn that an artist has made. For example, I love David Bowie as this kind of innovative artist, but I don't listen to his music very often because I don't enjoy much of it apart from the story of his creative life. I aspire to have his artistic courage. It's about the life, the approach that produces the work, not the work itself. But without the work, the life and approach wouldn't exist.
5. What was your main reason for this statement:
"Say 'yes' to the adventure that calls to your heart. Perhaps I'll see you there and we can celebrate artfully, beautifully, awake and alive, content and inspired in the brilliance of it all. Get in communication with your unconscious. Nurture your dreams with your practice. Fulfill the promise of all that you are. Love yourself that you may genuinely love others."
I guess this is just a crystallization of what I wish for the people of the world. I believe that the depth of beauty and mystery we see in nature also exists inside us. I want to encourage a view of life in which every child, every adult, is empowered to find that current within themselves and grow it. We waste so much human potential with struggles and dramas built around managing each others' hungers, needs, and conflicting desires. Too many of us get confused, thinking that satisfaction will come from changing others, and changing what is outside of us. After the point when basic needs are met, satisfaction mostly comes from really growing what you love. This is what makes art such a great vehicle. There are so many ways people can use it to discover what they care about, and then help serve and grow that vision. The statement above is about making choices based upon love, rather than guilt or fear. It's about daring to follow that voice that truly motivates you, rather than the many voices telling you who you "should or shouldn't" be. When you really care about yourself, it doesn't take long to see all the reasons you care about others too. When that happens, we all bring good things to each other. Good art, good life.
6. How you use artworks to speak to the viewers?
I think I may have spoken to this quite a bit at this point already. Again, being honest, I am careful to not be overly concerned about viewers or money when I work. I want to say things that really speak to me, that really matter to me, first. I trust that some of that will matter to others. What I am sure of is that it all gets confused when I try to create by guessing what others want, or by thinking about what will sell. I think we all love authentic expressions of real, passionate engagement with life- funny, pathetic, weird, peaceful... there's a place for all of it. Sometimes, when we're lucky, an artist will show us something, a feeling or an idea that we recognize inside ourselves, but lacked the vision or words to express it.
7. How do you see the future of NFTs?
I'm just so excited! It's a privilege to be part of this great transformation. https://www.instagram.com/yuramiron.art/ got me hooked up a little over a year ago. I was timid in my participation for most of that time, but I've grown as the tide has risen. I feel comfortable making a few predictions: I think that the marketplaces will find themselves turning into more selective, curated galleries. Collectors and art lovers will appreciate spaces that show them work that is relevant to their interests. Either that, or we'll develop an interface that is a little more like Spotify, Netflix, etc., where the marketplace will use AI to effectively connect collectors with work that reflects their range of tastes and interests (I bet that's in development right now). My other prediction is perhaps too obvious, but it seems pretty clear that a lot of this is going to move to VR and there's just going to be more and more 3D and immersive art. That said, I believe there will always be a place for concise artistic work of vision, sound, movement, etc. Finally, I hope that NFTs will genuinely help to redistribute the inexcusable disparities between an ocean of amazing creators, and the few who benefit at the top. There's enough for everyone.
thanks a lot Joshua...
web: https://art.joshualevin.org/ instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joshualevin/