We had the good fortune of connecting with Bruce Rubenstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bruce, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
Giving up is never an option. All artist’s go through cycles. There are tougher days than others for sure. Sometimes a painting will burst out of me in a pure stream of consciousness approach. And those are usually the best pieces. I also have days when I get stuck, when I overthink a particular composition. And that’s when it gets tough, emotionally I mean. The key is to punch through regardless of how I am feeling. I don’t think there is an artist alive that doesn’t go through this roller coaster ride. It’s just part of the process. The key is to have a higher percentage of good days as opposed to bad. This comes through hard work, dedication and a strong will to express yourself.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is a reflection of my life. I grew up in New York and spent the majority of my youth searching for my artistic voice. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a city that gave birth to so many amazing and ground breaking artists. I was greatly influenced by the New York abstract expressionist movement of the 40’s through the 6o’s. Everyone from Franz Kline, Pollock, Gorky, DeKooning, Basquiat, etc. And of course the one and only Pablo Picasso. It was Picasso’s quote, “I do not paint what I see, I paint what I know” that really changed the way the world looked at art. Art became more about raw expression rather than literal. It took me years and years before I developed my own unique style, to free myself from all the art that I had seen and experienced on a visceral level. In retrospect I think this is a very necassary part of the process for any artist. First and foremost you must put in the time and experiment with many different mediums and styles before you can begin to really commit to figuring out who YOU are and what you want to say. Every painting tells a different story. And just like any story there needs to be a beginning a middle and an end. Technique and composition can be taught. But the story, and the way it is told is what makes it unique, a one of a kind. My life has not been easy. I lost both of my brothers to drugs at an early age. I too spent many years on the streets in a drugged out haze. But I survived because I found an outlet to express myself through my art. It gave me a purpose, a reason to stick around. I always knew I had something to say, I just didn’t have the encouragement or focus to bring my artistic visions to fruition. When I finally got clean & sober my ability as an artist exploded. But it didn’t just happen overnight. It took many years of hard work and self-determinism. So in the end my story is one of a survivor and that story is in each and every painting that I create. My only advice to any artist out there is to remain true to yourself. Regardless of how many “arm-chair” critics might try to tear you and your work down or impose their own negativity into your subconscious. Creating art is a personal journey with no boundaries, hence the term “Abstract Expressionism”. A painting is whatever you want it to be. If you, as the creator, are happy with the end result… then have enough faith to realize that your creation will indeed find an audience that will also feel the same joy and enthusiasm you had while creating it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First I would take them for a long drive along Mulholland to get a real sense of how beautiful Los Angeles actually is. Then I would head to Malibu and have lunch overlooking the Pacific ocean at Nobu. Of course I would insist they pay for lunch because it is Nobu after all. The following day I would head into the Culver City Arts district for some gallery viewing and a great lunch somewhere on Washing Blvd. The following day I would head downtown and hit the Broad museum and maybe a few more galleries. In the late afternoon I would swing by my house, grab my 6 month old puppy, Pixie and head up to the Hollywood Sign Dog Park. For whatever reason most people visiting LA for the first time get a real kick out of seeing the Hollywood sign in person. Next I would take them for an evening of music and drinks at The Hollywood Bowl. Its really a very unique venue and makes for a fun filled evening under the stars.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My biggest shoutout goes to my family, my wife Shirly and my two amazing daughters, Mila and Juju. Their enthusiasm and encouragement is what gives me the strength to keep forging forward. And I would also like to give a special shoutout to Mary Ann Cohen, the owner of MAC Fine Art in Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter & DelRay. I’ve been successfully represented by the gallery for the past few years. Mary Ann has always found the time to talk with me regardless of the time or day. Her vast amount of knowledge and expertise in the world of art has been invaluable to me. And my relationship with her has made me a better artist. I feel very fortunate to represented by Mary Ann and her entire team! They are a class act indeed! And lastly I would love to give the biggest shout out to all my collectors and friends who have supported me through all these years, both financially and spiritually.
Facebook: bruce rubenstein