We had the good fortune of connecting with Jared Schwartz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jared, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
A lot of my time is spent drawing for my “art career”, but I have to do other things too which are technically not as directly related to my art goals as the drawing-all-the-time is. The biggest difference between when I started doing what I do now, and how it was before this point, is that now all of that work, whether it’s directly “art career-related” or not, serves a purpose. Without the sense of purpose behind my other work, it got lost, and there wasn’t a true balance.
The “not-art” jobs I have/had used to frustrate me because they felt like they were only a distraction from the artwork, which was what I really wanted to do. School felt like that, and work felt like that.
Nowadays, I think I’ve found a great balance where the work I do every day compliments my artistic endeavors and vice-versa. Each one helps the other.
At some point, I fully expect that balance to be messed up by the introduction of something new into my life that I’ll either enjoy having to do, or reject needing to do. And when that happens, I’ll find a way to make things work again by making it all support the joy I have in my artwork on some level.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Oh gosh, this is a loaded question with a lot of aspects to it. I’ll try to go in order. What am I most proud of? That this is happening in the first place. It’s not something I thought would be happening, and I’m proud that it is.
What am I excited about? The opportunity to get my artwork in front of more eyes. I want my message artwork to have a positive effect on people and the world, and I think getting as many people to see it as possible is a way to make that happen.
How did I get to where I am today professionally? By accepting the risks, of knowing that I was creating artwork which might piss some people off and might cause some people to simply look away. However, I am still submitting that artwork to as many things as I can in an effort to get those things, which might piss off many, in front of more viewers. The willingness of some galleries and other locations to showcase work like that is a big part of how I am where I am with this.
Was it easy? No. I accept rejection from most and then try to find another way to get my work seen. I don’t overcome it, I simply find another route. Maybe some of the galleries who say no to me now will say yes to me another time, but I don’t think I should expect or rely on the idea that their minds might be changed. There’s other places to go, there’s other people to see.
What are the lessons I’ve learned along the way? Go to the places that seem fun, or that might bring me a new audience. Even if you don’t find success there, you might still have a good time. Also: bring paperweights. The wind doesn’t care about how hard I worked finding the right color, it might throw my work aside anyway.
What do I want the world to know? I want the world to get better. That happens when people, altogether, make a conscience effort to make it so, and maybe my work can help people recognize their ability to do that, so they do it. I hope that people have fun, bring joy to each other, and improve things for everybody. If anything like that happens because of my artwork, I’ll have considered it pretty worthwhile.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is such a wonderful area, to me it’s better than Disneyland. I don’t know how things are currently what with the pandemic and everything else that 2020 brought, but I do know several places I would’ve brought people pre-pandemic that I hope to safely bring people to again. First of all, the Hive, on Spring Street, is one of my favorite gallery spaces in LA, with a wonderfully eclectic mix of artists who utilize all kinds of mediums to create the visuals and sculptures that they want to share.
Also on Spring Street is, of course, the Last Bookstore, one of my favorite stores, and a must-see for anybody who’s interested in architecture, pop cultural history, art, and of course walls that’re made of books.
Speaking of stores, Amoeba Music is another favorite place of mine. I like to bring friends there, and we end up basically doing our own “What’s in my Bag?”
I think ArtShare LA would be a good place to bring somebody. Whether you’re exploring the Perimeter gallery or watching some live entertainment, it’s a great place to experience what’s new and coming in the world of art.
I would also bring folks to Venice Beach, which is great both for exploring art and for fun outdoor activities.
To wrap it up, I’d probably also bring some folks to a place that should be more widely known, H.M. 157, which is the place to go if you want to see vintage art, books and music as inspiration with likeminded, free-spirited people.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Genuinely, there is so many people who’ve encouraged me, it would be really difficult to include everyone. But it might go without saying that my parents are a big aspect of why I’m able to do what I do, even aside from having birthed me into existence apparently. I really appreciate how much they pushed me when they realized what I’m good at, and I’m sorry I didn’t believe them sooner. Jeffrey Schneider is an amazing artist who provided a lot of the model for how I like to be. Ms. Cowen was someone who made the right move to tell my parents that I was drawing differently than the other kids were. Bob Singer was an artist at Hanna-Barbera who took the time to talk with me multiple times when I was a kid, giving me several internal freakouts over the artwork I was getting the chance to look at.
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