We had the good fortune of connecting with Julian Tan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julian, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
During the beginning of my artistic practice I was working on projects nonstop and sleeping 4 hours a night for about 5 years. This kind of pace was working for me until it wasn’t anymore. My insane daily routine caused me to neglect many aspects of my life including my relationships with people I care about. In 2020 mind management became a huge focus for me. This mainly consists of 20min meditations and 1.5hr’s of intense workout 5 days a week. I haven’t missed a day since March 2020. Meditation and working out have helped with my anxiety, anger management, and depression tremendously. When those are in check there is more room in my mind to think creatively and not be distracted by the minutiae of daily life. Longevity of both mental and physical are super important in the lifelong artistic pursuit I find myself in. When emotions aren’t veiling my thought’s I observe the world and culture in far more frequencies and with more accuracy. I am constantly sharing with people my experience with meditation and highly encourage anyone to give it a month of serious attempts and you will have a better understanding of the benefits that people have been having for thousands of years. Actively seeking a balance between “work” and “play” is not only necessary, but reminds you why you work so hard(or not) in the first place.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My intentions with art creation have always been a way to process my thoughts on the world around me in a reductive and critical way. That way they not only live on as “paintings” but also as archives of an artist’s historical experience. Perhaps to be revisited one day in reference to the future.
At the moment I’m in between physically working on artworks. These kinds of planning phases can be frustrating, existential, but also incredibly exciting because I can do whatever I want. There are no concrete plans yet, only ideas and concepts being distilled in my head and in notebooks. Sometimes these periods can be short and sometimes long. As long as I trust my intuition and sensibility, I know an idea worth pursuing will enter my brain and not let go until I expose it as an artwork. Despite a decade of grinding, confidence in my creative ability comes and goes, sometimes I feel like a fraud and I have to find that balance once again. Finding activities that will help you get back there is so so important!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LACMA, In-n-out, Muscle beach, Griffith Park, Huntington Gardens, La Cuevita, Zebulon
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A fellow Artist and painter, Katie Holden. She has no doubt one of the strongest artistic sensibilities in LA. She could truely do whatever she wanted and it would be great. She is a less serious and much more fun version of myself. As long as she is in my life, I am reminded to have more empathy and take a break every so often and have some fun.