Scott Listfield is an American painter known for his dystopian artworks (Astronaut Dinosaur) featuring “a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references”.
Scott Listfield has exhibited his work in Los Angeles, London, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Montreal, Boston, and many other nice places.
“In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations. And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is in fact a very unusual place, and it’s strangest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted. The astronaut in my paintings is simply here to explore the present“
Scott, where do you get your inspiration?
The supermarket. Walking alone at night. Traveling. Reading science fiction, both the classics and some of the hackier stuff. Netflix. Just being a normal 21st century person, watching for the calm moments amidst the chaos.
What is the relationship and influence between your cultural background (country, studies, etc.) and your artworks?
Well I studied art in school and now I make art for a living, so that seems pretty linear. I grew up in America in the 80’s and 90’s and I watched a lot of TV and went to McDonald’s playlands on occasion although I was allergic to whatever the hell they made Chicken McNuggets out of back then, so that dulled my enthusiasm for fast food. But that was my culture growing up. That’s what I have in common with my peers. Return of the Jedi, french fries, Dunkin Donuts, Transformers. I thought I would grow up into a 21st century with flying cars and robot best friends, because everything I watched on television told me that’s what the year 2000 would look like. Instead I ended up living in a future of Facebook algorithms, the internet in our pocket, pizza delivery drones, and a company that literally makes an edible product called Soylent. That divide, between the future I thought we’d get, and the strange one we’re living in, is what inspires my work.
What are you focused on?
Painting astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs.
Have you encountered any difficulties when you first started your art/freelance career?
Does anybody answer no to this question? Nope, just smooth sailing. Instant success. Seriously though, I’ve had twenty failures for every success, but fashioning a career out of making art is hard and I never expected otherwise. I worked a full time day job on top of my art career for 15 years before finally making a go of it full time. I worked through the economic crash of 2008, when my art career was just starting to pick up steam and then every single gallery I was working with went out of business and I had to start over again. Like with any artist, there were hundreds of times over the years where I could have walked away from it all, and no one would have cared even a little bit, and the world would have turned out just fine. But I am stubborn and I like painting and I felt like I had maybe something to say, so I kept at it. Things are going pretty well right now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? I just keep painting like it all might go away again.
Over these years, what is the most important thing you have learnt from your profession?
In some ways art is just like everything else. You have to work extraordinarily hard, and actually making the artwork is only a small portion of what it takes to make a career out of it. You have to be your own agent, business manager, product manager, social media manager, and a thousand other things. If you have a romantic notion of the artist just sipping a cappuccino and making art all day, staring at flowers or something, and wistfully glancing at the sea. Well, you’re going to be a bit disappointed. But that’s fine. Simple romantic notions are a bit boring in my book anyways.
Do you think that a creative job is just creativity or it’s discipline too?
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who is creative but undisciplined having much success. One without the other doesn’t get you that far. There’s nobody out there handing out awards for people who are creative but don’t really accomplish much. Creativity without discipline is a nice hobby. Which is fine. Hobbies are cool. But if you want to make a career out of something, or even just get your work out there in the world, you better be ready to get some work done, make some sacrifices, and dedicate a significant portion of your time to something bigger.
Are you currently working on new projects?
Yup. Always working on new projects. My next solo show opens June 2, 2018 at Spoke Art in San Francisco. Then I’ve got a two person show with Josie Morway coming up in October at Antler Gallery in Portland, OR.
between the future I thought we’d get,
and the strange one we’re living in,
is what inspires my work“
“You have to work extraordinarily hard, and actually making the artwork is only a small portion of what it takes to make a career out of it. You have to be your own agent, business manager, product manager, social media manager, and a thousand other things”.
Creativity without discipline is a nice hobby. Which is fine. Hobbies are cool. But if you want to make a career out of something, or even just get your work out there in the world, you better be ready to get some work done, make some sacrifices
Artist Website > astronautdinosaur.com
Instagram > @scottlistfield
Twitter > @scottlistfield
Facebook > facebook.com/scottlistfieldartist
Tumblr > astronautdinosaur.tumblr.com