I recently had the pleasure of being a part of a really great conversation with Patrick Jones and his crew Melanie and Rachel of Patrick’s ‘The Art Agents’ podcast. We had such a wonderful dialogue about art and life. I really enjoyed it and wanted to share about it here on Muddy Colors as well. The Art Agents podcast is on YouTube and I’ve attached the link here below, if you’d like to check out the full interview.

I hope you get a chance to check out the podcast video, I do recommend having a listen. It was an easy-going and engaged conversation that I really enjoyed, and we had a look at some of my art and talked about some of the pieces that we paused on at times. My cats, Rey and Maz made a few appearances as well. 🙂

Here are some recap notes from this discussion, as well as some added thoughts:

I was asked whether there were turning points in my experience as an artist as well as in my art aesthetic, and we discussed how things have happened organically and gradually throughout our careers.

We talked about how art helps with continuing to learn and grow in life, how our art is not separate from life, and we can reflect on many life experiences by diving into new things artistically.

I shared some of the different jobs I’ve had over the years, art-related and non-art-related. If you’d like, you can read all about the different art jobs I’ve had in my life in another of my Muddy Colors articles here: The Pursuit

It was fun to learn that both Patrick and I have worked as illustrators for greeting cards in our earlier years!

There were some great questions that Melanie and Rachel had, as well as some from the chat, such as Rachel’s “Are there any notable lessons you’ve learned?” I’d say it’d be Patience. That’s my biggest thing that I’ve learned, and we expand on that in many directions quite a bit throughout the dialogue.

When Rachel asked “Are there any things in today’s world that you’d be taking advantage of if you were younger now?” I’d say it’s the way that we can connect. Like what we’re doing in the podcast discussion, which was a live zoom chat. We can connect with people all over the world. It’s important to not lose sight of the opportunities we have to stay connected. We can have good genuine conversations, while each of us is sitting in our studios in different places all across the globe. That’s pretty amazing. There is an incredible network of wonderful folks in this art community. Staying connected is so important.

We chat a bit about how we’ve developed a voice in our art.

We dig into the occurrence of imposter syndrome and overthinking vs. being in the flow and how stream of consciousness sketching can really help with working through that.

At one point, Patrick and I spoke about the notion of wishing we would’ve done something sooner in our career but also knowing that if we would have done it sooner, then the art wouldn’t be what it is now. I can look back at some of the raw things I was doing when I was younger and think yes there are some neat qualities in that, but there’s also this other thing that wasn’t there yet that I didn’t know about myself yet. So, truly, the art just wouldn’t have had that yet.

Patrick and I spoke about how teaching has made us better at our art and in life. I feel that teaching is always teaching me to be a better human.

A question was asked from the chat about imposter syndrome and whether there are any tips for dealing with it. I spoke about sketching random things to show yourself you can or are able to. What that practice in my art has taught me in life is that these things that I think might not be possible are, which is basically saying that I can make a change in my thinking. We are capable of pushing past the insecurity of not knowing, not only to become familiar with something that was once unfamiliar, but also so that we become secure in the not knowing.

We spoke of the importance of community and how we can all lift each other up. Patrick mentions that “if you lift someone up, then everyone’s elevated,” and I couldn’t agree more.

When I was asked how I ended up doing illustration, as I reflected on that a bit, I think I’d have to say that I just honestly feel fortunate to do illustration, fine art, and all kinds of art-related sorts of things because I never really felt that I’ve fit in to one specific thing. I truly feel honored when I’m offered an illustration gig. As I mention in the conversation “the honor is in the knowing that someone saw me.” That they thought that my work would be what they want to depict their story is an honor that I don’t take lightly, and the lessons I’ve learned from doing these pieces is an amazing experience to have had that I will always carry with me.

Another question from the chat was whether there are any artists who’ve inspired me. I did list a few, but I really am inspired by so many artists of all different kinds. To name a few: Zdzislaw Beksinski, James Gleeson, Vachagan Narazyan, Andrew Wyeth.. I’ve shared a few previous articles here on Muddy Colors about James Gleeson (here) and Vachagan Narazyan (here and here) if you’d like to know more about them and their work.

At one point, Patrick shared something from “Patrick’s Cabinet of Curiosities” you can see that at around 47:45 in the video.

Another question asked in the chat was “How do you tackle the feelings/thoughts of not caring what everyone else thinks? That seems to be a stopping point with displaying my artwork yet my close group says it’s amazing.” In answer to that, we circle back to the conversation about community, connection, and lifting each other up. I mean, honestly, having a close group like that is wonderful and we should never lose sight of that. We also talked about knowing ourselves, trusting ourselves, and trusting that our work is always showing us the answers to those questions. And overall, that it will be okay. You can see more in the video for how we expanded upon that.

There was great talk about being human, having feelings, experiencing our emotions, feeling awkward or different and accepting and loving that that is all a part of being alive, and will inevitably be in the work we do.

Melanie asked the question: “How do you balance the exploration and experimentation with your commercial demands?” And Patrick and I agreed about the importance of sketching, exploring, experimenting, allowing ourselves to wander. A lot of the time, this is where problem solving happens, even when we’re not attempting to do that. This kind of sketching is never a waste of time.

When talking a bit about the topic of burnout, constantly working, setting boundaries, balancing our time, Patrick says what’s important is balance and “that you’ve always got the love of what you do inside you. Having a long life in art is that balance.”

As we close the conversation, he also said: “squeeze your pet and have a long look at the sky. Let’s not be too hard on ourselves.”

I want to thank Patrick, Melanie and Rachel for a really wonderful conversation. I really enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks for checking it out.