While most artists have a concept in mind as they approach the canvas, John Speaker is more of a freestyler. As he sits down to start a piece, he touches his marker or paintbrush to the canvas and lets his consciousness take care of the rest. He says,
“The creation becomes an evolving chaos of the purest emotions; they do not represent happiness or sadness, confusion or enlightenment, hope or doubt; they are simply the culmination of everything and nothing. The concept of a mistake becomes completely irrelevant in the process, as the confines of our societal definitions have been shed, and the energy of the universe is allowed to present itself unrestrained. My creation becomes something more than an expression of life. It has become life itself.”
When I first discovered John Speaker’s art, I got lost in each piece, trying to interpret and put my own spin on the images before me. Stay tuned after the jump for our interview with him, then check out JohnSpeaker.com to see more.
1) In your about section, you say that you were riddled with anxiety trying to live up to the societal standards propagated in the media and you found solace in art. How has this changed your journey? Were you on a different path before you discovered this or have you always rejected societal pressures?
JS: I have always been creative in one way or another. In high school, my friends and I skateboarded constantly. I always had a video camera with me; capturing tricks, teenage antics, and goofy skits which I ultimately edited into fun videos for us to watch. The anxiety came when I started college with a major in video production. The creative and expressive quality of my chosen art form was ignored…it was all about “television standards” and learning how to sell stuff that I had no interest in. I basically went through college without any passion or direction. About a year out of college, I had a job as a production intern that wasn’t amounting to much, and I was finding myself sinking into depression. Then, one night out of desperation, I picked up a ball-point pen and started drawing lines on a sheet of paper for hours. I got completely and totally lost in the the process. It was the most peaceful and expressive moment that I had ever experienced. From that night on I was hooked. I have been creating art every day since, and it has changed my life immensely. I’m happy again, because I’ve found an outlet of pure expression. I get to express my love for life every day…and even better than that, I get to share those expressions with others. Hoping that I can inspire others to embrace their imagination and their creative spirit.
2) Do you have any advice for artists who are putting creation on the back burner because they are entangled in societal definitions of success?
JS: Make time every single day to create! Do some doodling on your lunch break or add a couple paint strokes to that canvas after dinner every night. Being a successful artist in the future can only happen if you’re embracing every moment that you have to create right NOW! You’re a beautiful person with infinite potential. You have the ability to transcend societal definitions and expand the consciousness of the world that surrounds you. You can turn your frustration into images of inspiration. You can uplift those that are feeling low, by showing them what’s high. Creating art is fun, so have some fun!
3) Your art seems to be in a different dimension. Has this always been your style or did you reach a turning point when you came to these realizations about life?
JS: One of my earliest memories of childhood is riding in the back seat of the car, looking up at the sky and thinking “if I wasn’t here to see this, would it even exist? What would exist?”. I have always been fascinated by existence and the philosophy behind its infinite nature. Dreams and meditation sessions have taken me places that felt much more “real” than this one. So, I’ve always wondered about these things, but it wasn’t until that first drawing a few years ago that I finally realized a way to effectively express those thoughts. I can find myself stumbling over words or overwhelming friends when talking about these things…but if I show them a picture, a much higher understanding and connection can occur.