Vakseen: The Cure For Your Artistic Ills

Art is everywhere.  From museums, to libraries, to album covers, to free underpasses. Art is ubiquitous.  Everyone likes “art.” Even people who say that they can’t define art would still be inclined to say that they like art. If you don’t like art, you’re a weirdo.

Not only is art everywhere, but the general consensus is that art is important to development. There have been numerous studies that point out the importance of art and music.  Yet and still “art” and art professions are still seen as something for people with no real plan.  A student who aces his art classes but struggles in math is made to feel inferior.  We’re getting to the place where when cuts get made “The Arts” and “Arts Education” tend to be first on the chopping block. To many, even though art is important it’s less important than other aspects of our lives.  To some, art is expendable.

We disagree.

So we’re doing our part by highlighting dope art and artists.  That brings us to this week’s artist Vakseen. The Los Angeles-based painter/musician has an eye for art.

The self taught Floridian is remarkably skilled with the paint brush. His art shows definite influences from artistic powerhouses. When you look at his collage work a heavy Pablo Picasso influence is difficult to ignore.  That’s not to say that Vakseen’s work is derivative. Quite the contrary.  Vakseen is able to mix cubism and realism in a way that works on a different level than heavyweights like Degas or Matisse. What we get is a rough, rugged and bold interpretation of life.

But don’t take my words for it, check out our interview with Vakseen and a small sampling of his awesome catalog.

Gold Lives Inside You

How did you get started as an artist? Where’s the name “Vakseen” come from? That seems like a name for someone who used to be a graffiti writer.

I’ve actually been an artist for as long as I can recall. (laughs)My mom still has random drawings from elementary and high school. Being an artist is definitely in my DNA. In addition to being a visual artist, I’m also a musician. Vakseen was originally my producer name and it represents my lifestyle. In life, we can complain about things or we can change them. In essence, “Be the cure”. That’s what Vakseen represents. Change.

Your collage work is pretty amazing. Do you shoot the images you use or is it found art?
Everything you see is actually hand-painted, not a collage. These are acrylic paintings. I get that often, though.

Wow, amazing. How does it make you feel that a lot of people don’t realize your work is actually handpainted?
(Laughs)It’s really a double edged sword and happens a LOT. I love it! It’s the ultimate compliment at the end of the day, but it does bother me sometimes (laughs). I spend weeks working on my art, perfecting the detail, just so you have to question what you’re experiencing. Illusion is a major part of the experience so it’s really something I’ve learned to simply embrace.

Well, it definitely works.  I was completely fooled. There seems to be a big focus on women and their faces. Was this intentional or did it work out that way because the art led you there?
Women are God’s greatest work of art and I believe life definitely evolves around them. Although I couldn’t fathom being a woman in this patriarchal world we live in, I open my creative process to the allure inherent to women. I aim for my art to celebrate the acute imperfections and endless perfections that exist within every woman.

How do you combat creative blockages?
Unfortunately blocks happen to the best of us, but I’ve never been one to force creativity. If I can’t come up with anything I’ll usually just walk away and do something else. Clear my head. I work a lot and sometimes your eyes or senses overall simply need a break. Going to art shows is a big help too. I always leave shows inspired, ready to work on my own craft.

Your music collection pieces are amazing! How big a part does music play in your art?
Thank you! As I mentioned, I’m a musician and work in the music biz. Music is a major part of me, so naturally there’s interaction between the two. There’s really no set regimen for my creative process though. I create as much with music playing as I do without.

That’s the second time you’ve mentioned the music industry. So What type of music were you involved with? Are you still active in the music industry?
Urban and Pop music.I also have a team of producers, so we cover a lot of ground, stylistically. I’m very much still active in music. We actually co-produced Iggy Azalea’s new single “Azillion.”

Today's The Day I Realized

Very cool.  Musically, I’m a fan of the production. I think every artist has that one moment where they create a piece that even surprises themselves, in a positive way.  Has that happened to you? If so, which piece was it?
I usually try to surprise myself with each creation. To me, each new creation is about elevating and outdoing my last effort. Granted, it doesn’t always work out that way. I’m not perfect lol, but the mentality is consistent. I actually think my newest piece (“Today’s The Day I Realized”) is the most recent piece where I finished, stepped back and said DAAAMN. That one is very special to me.

When did you realize that you were talented enough to actually call yourself a professional artist?
Three years ago. I mean I knew I was talented enough, but music had been the major focus of my life for years. Moving to LA changed everything and I’ve been a professional artist for close to 4 years now.

What is the one piece of advice you have for aspiring artists out there?
Trust your intuition

Where can people see more of your work? Any upcoming shows or showings?
You can see everything on my site or on social media @Vakseen. Last weekend was my 1st show of 2016, a solo exhibition at Gabba Gallery, so I’m very excited. As for the rest of January, I’m featured in Cannibal Flower’s 15 year Anniversary show, I’m in a show at the Santa Clarita City Hall and then there’s Surreal Salon 8 at Baton Rouge Gallery. 2016 is started out pretty incredible!


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TJ Smalls

Reformed nice guy.