20 Questions with Artist-- Kent Youngstrom

Hi there,

Today we are traveling to North Carolina to meet Artist/Author, Kent Youngstrom. It's always nice to have a little testosterone in the creative realm, right? 

Kent describes his first day of picking up a paint brush as exhausting and incredible. Touche

With a very distinctive free flowing style, I am inspired by the way he approaches the canvas--pushing past his inner critic to get to the "other side".

He makes art approachable in his own special way--often combining simple words like Love into a painting--and that's something to smile about. 

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i’m kenT, and i’m an artist.  but not the tortured kind.  i create one of a kind images - no two are exactly the same.   some are big.  some are small.  some have words.  some have none.   ! but what i really do is make people feel happy + free.  they don’t even have to know why.  i just want them to know it fits perfectly in their home, office or perhaps even their secret lair.

1. Art found you and kind of drove you to it in a hugely organic way. Describe this phenomenon.  we found each other.  i was bouncing around between interior design, graphic design and art.  i always came back to or long to be with art.  there is no pretense.  no reason to change something to please others.  art turns me on.

2. Tell us about your very first day painting.  laughable.  unprepared. intoxicating minus the morning gatorade.

3. Why is it important to do what you love every day?   have a drink with the guy who hates what he does everyday.  that sounds fun huh.

4. What are you afraid of? i’m crawl in a ball and hide under the desk afraid every time i show something new.  i am my work. its called exposure for a reason.

5. Describe your creative process.  how do i start?  i just do.  i wake up.  get off the couch.  show up on time.  work my backside off and i surprise people - then do it all over again.    how do i know it’s done? i feel it’s exhaustion.      

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6. Tell us about your studio/where you create. small garage + 1200 paintings in 5 years = need for new space…  warehouse facility in matthews which contains an office, a gallery and a working studio.  rolling working spaces. large walls to stretch canvas.  room for 20 people at painting classes. gallery openings. holiday and corporate event parties.  grateful.

7. You have a quote, “I make paintings with no pretense. I just paint what I like. (And I like to feel alive).” Tell us about why this is so important? small secret… i occasionally paint things i assume will sell well.  it seems to pan out like ben fleck as batman.  when i put all pretense aside and just let the work flow it is more academy award winning.

8. Any special details you gravitate towards?  details - no.  details are not my thing.  circles - yes.  i started painting circles about five years ago and they seem to have stuck around.  i’m sure someday they will leave me just like pleated pants.

9. Why words? much like peanut butter + chocolate, gin + tonic (or bacon + anything), i'm inclined to believe words and art are better, together.

10. Last experience that totally blew your mind/when you’ve felt most alive?  californina.  winter.  surfing.  i felt alive but couldn’t feel much else in the cold water

11. (Outside of art) What else do you do that really makes you feel alive?  5:30 am work outs.  nutmegs.  coaching kids.  

12. Favorite artist / gallery?  jackson pollock.  he was the first.

13. What makes you - you?  i’m…opinionated to a fault. quick tempered.  a check list writer.  a u-turn hater.  not a general people person.  a big picture thinker. a mini van driver.  willing to do just about anything for a friend. self sufficient and believe others should be as well. easily prone to tear up at bad children’s movies. a clean and healthy eater.   a stomach sleeper.  a soccer player.   a whale, crocodile, horse & polo player hater.  always thinking about what to do next.

14. You seem to have followed your dream. How do you want to be remembered?  comfortable in my own skin.  non -conforming.  inspiring.  leader.   i see myself as.  the anti artist.  just the conservative, church going, clean eating - dude next door that can talk sports or weather, play poker with they guys, and not have to force the subject back to art at all costs.

15. What have you accomplished that you are most proud of in your creative life?  can you ask me in twenty years?  for me it is the journey and not the destination.  mostly i’m proud that i have yet to give up.  that i get up everyday and do the work - even when it’s that - work.

16. What 3-5 words best describe your work.  effortless appearance in front of an exhausting effort.

17. What sets your workshops a part from others who teach similar classes? Volcanic eruptions of energy. Alluring new materials, frenzied moments of discovery and a personal lack of estrogen.

18. Why should someone take your classes this summer/fall?  Because their everyday life is full of corporate buzz words everyone else thinks are great…authentic, creative, game-changing, innovative, inspiring, paradigm-shifting and they can’t take it any more. My class is for those who desire fall down, crazy stupid love for their work and want to be surrounded by words like alluring, beguiling, blazing, bursting, epic, frenzied, ravenous and volcanic. It’s time to erupt.

19. What is your favorite tool or accessory in your studio right now- the go-to product that you most frequently turn to?  Besides red bull, Spotify and the wireless speakers? My spatula. 

20. What’s the best piece of advice you ever got from a fellow artist?  Your selling your work too cheap.

Thank you Kent! 

Find out more about this artist by visiting his website

http://experience.kentyoungstrom.com/