We had the good fortune of connecting with Max Coleman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Max, how do you think about risk?
I cant advocate enough for taking risks, especially when it comes to exploring different visual and emotional themes as an artist. I’ve always liked cows. A lot. I also have always loved Francisco Goya. So I decided to recreate his famous “Disasters of War” series with the violence done to cattle by the meat and dairy industries. At the time I was incredibly excited by it and everyone I told about it could not have been more perplexed. I’m still in the process of completing it and by now the more I’ve been able to give it life the more and more people have come on board to the project, both morally and financially.
I’ve been lucky enough to build a career around exploring unconventional ideas, because those are the topics that need the most attention. The things no one really thinks about because of the discomfort they can cause, like the aforementioned violence towards cows, or the dwindling numbers of sharks in our oceans, or lighter stuff like plastering Walt Whitmans face around Providence, RI. Even if it seems strange, do it. Do it, do it, do it, do it, and do it with kindness.
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.
I’m fascinated by the beauty and miracle of life and death. How creatures change as they grow and decay, its all so incredible to me, especially knowing I get to be a part of it! I try to impart this feeling in my drawings and murals, to communicate a sense of gratitude to anyone who is looking. We only have this brief astounding chance to say something, and so often we spend it concerned only with ourselves. I want to use my art to unify, to embolden, and to empathize. My mother and father would always remind me to “Defend the defenseless” when I was out in the world, and I’ll be damned if I go to my grave without knowing if I tried as hard as I possibly could to do just that with the gifts I was given. So there is definitely a mild sense of urgency in how I work with my clients and colleagues, but that has been advantageous thus far. I’d recommend 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?
I’d say look for the little places with the real experiences. Get a gas station sand-which, walk around with a beer in a bag, hang out on a bridge and watch the cars, and if you can, sneak on a-board the Queen Mary.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank my family first and foremost, but beyond that: Walt Whitman, Charles Bukowski, and Shepard Fairey. Thanks guys.
Portrait of me on the street by Jill M. Kokesh