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Episode 37
Artist Joel Mesler

  • 1 min read

Episode Description

A conversation with artist Joel Mesler about his artistic journey, his decades as an art dealer, his late-blossoming art career and his current exhibit "Pool Party" at Lévy Gorvy's galleries in both London and Palm Beach.



Craig: [00:00:10] This is Art Sense, a podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. On today's episode, I speak with artist Joel Mesler about his artistic journey, his decades as an art dealer, his late blossoming art career and his current exhibit "Pool Party", which is on exhibit through March 15th at Lévy Gorvy Galleries in both London and Palm Beach. And now my conversation with Joel Mesler.

Craig: [00:00:49] Joel Mesler, thank you so much for joining me today on the Art Sense podcast. Joel, a lot of times when I talked to artists, I like to start with a hypothetical, which is you're at a dinner party and you're seated next to somebody who has no idea who you are or what you do. How do you describe to them what you do?

Joel: [00:01:12] Yeah, great first question. And I think this is probably the toughest question. Well, it's the first question? So it's the only question. So I would say, but I would say, I guess I would say, you know, the story of Fiddler on the Roof?

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Craig: [00:01:37] Mm hmm.

Joel: [00:01:38] My paintings are kind of like that story. Um, and like the I guess, all the highs and the lows and the journey of that, and I kind of tend to think of myself as like making little moments of Tevia's story a little bit.

Craig: [00:02:03] Is it reflecting your own personal journey?

Joel: [00:02:07] Yeah. You know, I think that like I have mined my own story because it's as you said earlier, it's what I know most of and I'm not 100 percent confident I know much about anything else. The older I get, I realize I know absolutely nothing, but I kind of, you know, I have this life lived of experiences. And so I kind of mined that. And, you know, I kind of, you know, from that have connected with with other stories and kind of metaphors and analogies. And so, you know, I I it's definitely like my work is, you know, it's a story of like my trauma and all, you know, the history and experience. But I think in it, you know, there's there's sort of like a moment of awe, like the awe of life, you know, and the gratitude of life that comes that, you know, you realize like you're just you're just a vessel at some point, you know, and you know, you kind of like, I think I really connect to that story of Tevia a little bit, you know, where you just kind of like, put your hands up and you're like, you know, life, right?

Craig: [00:03:25] You know, it's funny. I talk with artists all the time. Time and again, it's obvious that the best work is really personal and rooted and where they're from. It's like geographic, right? And so when I...immediately when I saw your alphabet paintings, my memory, you know, my first thought goes to me having breakfast at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And you know

Joel: [00:03:57] Right. 

Craig: [00:03:57] And I'm just wondering, you're from Beverly Hills? Was that a conscious decision? Were you mining something from your family, you know, either consciously or subconsciously?

Joel: [00:04:10] So I, you know, my my parents, they we lived in Beverly Hills, 600 blocked. My mom was always very proud to say and and, you know, as I was growing up, you know, I think the like north of Sunset, south of Sunset kind of class system in Beverly Hills was, you know, how big was your pool kind of conversation was omnipresent. And my parents, you know, my father was a cardiologist with a real bad cocaine problem. And my mother had a, you know, a desire of, you know, I think, not being just a soccer mom. And so their marriage didn't work out. And I think as things kind of fell apart, my parents divorce kind of like, well, it did actually change California law. They actually study it in divorce law. But it seems kind of the course of my obviously my family's life and my brother and my life and the Beverly Hills Hotel was this place that, you know, we would, you know, we'd go there for brunch, you know, like you said at the Polo Lounge and stuff like that. But my father had...there was a couple of years where he had several nervous breakdowns in public and the first one that I remember was actually at the Polo Lounge. And I remember him like picking up the table and like Eggs Benedict, like falling down like the table and falling into my mother's lap and him like getting up from the table and, you know, kind of the scene and you know, everybody around like staring at us and and and my mother, him running out and my mother saying, like, follow your father. And so, you know, I'm like 11 years old and I'm following my father and and I remember the banana leafs of the wallpaper of the hotel.

Joel: [00:06:16] And I remember kind of like grinding my nails, you know, digging them so deeply into the walls of the wallpaper that they like grinded into my cuticles, you know? And. And so this kind of as I've gotten older, like that wallpaper kind of always meant something very different to me than it did. Obviously, had I not had that experience. And so, you know, as I started making work again, you know, as like this kind of older person, as a father and as somebody having hopefully dealt a little bit with my trauma. You know, I look back at this time and like this, this image of the wallpaper and this opulence and this. Luxury in this beauty to me underneath it holds other kind of like sob story and and so I was able to kind of use that wallpaper as like this kind of like a sub story a little bit. And so I was able to kind of like find lots of meaning and almost like, you know, to be honest, therapeutic, you know, just kind of spending my time like thinking about that stuff and making some shekels along the way. And so, you know, I think that that was the impetus of the wallpaper is like it's kind of like multilayered elements like that. And so it was, you know, I mean, to answer your question like a long winded answer, but like it was very conscious to use that. And I think I've only used that. But I've also kind of located other images and things like that that represent or have been those kind of things throughout my life where perhaps they can represent one thing, but also it's like almost an inside joke to yourself, like, Oh, actually, they mean this.

Craig: [00:08:24] What other examples would you have in mind? You know,

Joel: [00:08:29] You know, I mean, to keep kind of like on that same, you know, like timeline, I almost say, like, you know, all my art for a while was like based on like this, you know, the same few hours of my life. But when I was young around the same time, there was a store called Huddle and. My parents or my mother, you know, she my wallpaper, my bedroom and the furniture and the bookcases, the pillow spreads the bed sheets, everything had the same like rainbow and like kind of faux car wheels and stuff like that. And they sold it at the store, you know, in town. And not only did my brother and I have this, but every single other kid in my school and in the neighborhood had the same stuff. And so you would like have a sleepover at friends and you're like, Oh my God, I'm in my room still. And you know, you'd go to another friends and they're like, the same thing. You could not escape this wallpaper. And so I've used kind of like these rainbows throughout my paintings and it's like, this like this. It could represent so many things. And to me, it's sort of like, it's like running from the rainbow.

Craig: [00:09:49] That's interesting. It's funny. You said that, you know, I heard...I listened to a conversation that you had about your journey, and I believe Rainbow was the name of one of the people you ran into up in Sonoma State

Joel: [00:10:03] Oh yeah

Craig: [00:10:05] Or maybe I'm substituting some other hippie name. It sounds like

Joel: [00:10:08] No. I was very close with...I had a friend, Rainbow, and then I had a friend. Summer and Tangerine and Tangerine used to make me make me tea when I got sick, and we would make like a wormwood absinthe to if she was, she was quite the healer.

Craig: [00:10:25] I think it's worth just trying to quickly go through your timeline because like, it's so unique, you, you start in Beverly Hills. But you know, because of the historic divorce case in, you know, everything around that you wind up going from one class level to the next and living out a teenage debauchery and then go on the move kind of pulled by art. You leave L.A. to go to college at Sonoma State and then how did things progress?

Joel: [00:10:57] So I actually went to Sonoma State because I was planning on staying in Los Angeles and kind of selling ecstasy and quaaludes. But my, you know, I had big plans as a 17 year old and my...all my friends were going away to college, you know, like Hampshire and you know, I went to school, you know, nice liberal school and and I came home crying to my mother, you know, 17 year old kid, you know, probably strung out on mushrooms or whatever. And I was like, Mom, you know, Seth is going away to college and now Matt's gone. And she goes, "Well, darling, I applied to Sonoma State University for you and you got accepted." And I couldn't believe it. My best friend from the year before, Dave Lake had had gone to Sonoma State and he loved it. And so my mom thought, "Well, that's the place I'm going to apply for Joel because I know Joel better than Joel knows Joel," and she wrote my essay for me. And they loved my essay and they accepted me and I got in. And the major she put down for me was psychology, and I knew nothing about psychology, or I didn't even know what you know a psychologist was at this point. And yet it was my major and I thanked her. I think I was appreciative for maybe all of, you know, two hours and I packed my car and I drove up to Sonoma and I started taking psychology classes where I actually kind of loved reading about psychology.

Joel: [00:12:43] And I just slowly, you know, from being in college. And I think kind of, you know, being kind of outside of outside of Los Angeles and outside of my family and and all the Mishegoss, that kind of I think I was, you know, susceptible to and all that, you know, I kind of started to find a voice a little bit and I took sculpture classes and I was welding and I got a job at a foundry. And, you know, I think I just kind of found my voice and I took a peace studies class. And I remember a book called "Way of the Peaceful Warrior". And you know just, my world got rocked and I started taking art classes and I loved, you know, hanging out and drinking vodka late at night and welding and painting and doing all that. And I think that I just kind of organically like fell into this scene, you know, where I was just with a bunch of kind of like weirdo hippie artists making stuff. And, you know, I think that, you know, I got a lot of support and inspiration from teachers, you know, I had there was a teacher there.

Joel: [00:13:59] He's still there. His name is Kurt Kemp and he is. He was a student of Lasansky. And and he was really inspiring to me. And from there, you know, I went to San Francisco Art Institute. They pushed me to keep pursuing the art. And at this point, you know, I had no real plans. You know, it was it was life was going better than it had ever been. And and so, you know, I just went to I kept, you know, kept doing it and people kept, you know, seem to keep being kind of like supporting me and and and it was hitting something, and I felt like I was kind of in the flow of life. And and I remember, you know, I graduated from San Francisco and and it was like, OK, you know, like, what do we do now? And you know, a couple of my friends were getting shows and like, you know, gallery like the Paula England Gallery and like, things were happening for them. And I was like, OK, you know, I was kind of waiting around like looking over my shoulder like, OK, well, what's for me? And, you know, I just did my thing and and you know, for me, it was like kind of like just whispers like nothing happened, you know? And so I kind of like sat around like just kind of wondering where all my hard work was going to pay off when it was going to pay off and and nothing happened.

Joel: [00:15:26] And so I moved back to Los Angeles. Like any good, you know, momma's boy would do. And I realized that, you know, I, you know, I had to make some shekels and nobody wanted my paintings. And so I opened up a gallery and the finances, you know, I could get into that. But I essentially lived in a basement of gallery and I did my finances in a way that, you know, literally like the first time I sold a piece for $300, you know, I it was like a celebration and I was, you know, I was in Chinatown, Los Angeles and things were very inexpensive back in those days. And I literally just kind of fell into being an art dealer and I stopped painting and I just kind of assumed that, you know, this is who and what I was going to do with my life. And I was, you know, I don't want to say I was, but like, I enjoyed doing it. And and I again, you know, I didn't really have a choice like I had no other skills. So I, you know, I kind of knew the language of art. So I sold art. I sold other people's art.

Craig: [00:16:47] Well, you know, whenever I read about you or hear other people talk about you, it seems like this one word keeps on coming up over and over and that Joel is a hustler. What do you think people are saying when they refer to you as a hustler?

Joel: [00:17:03] Well, I think that when you know when you don't. Get kind of professional training, you know, like I didn't. I didn't do it in like, you know, you had made reference to before, I didn't take the correct steps, you know, I didn't take the steps to. I didn't work in a gallery before I opened a gallery I had. I knew nothing, you know, I had no idea what I was doing before I was doing it. I learned how to make money by, you know, it was need. You know, I I was selling drugs in high school to survive, you know, like my mom had no money to give me for lunch. And so I Xeroxed like the food cards and would sell them at 50 cents on the dollar. And you know, it's like and I

Craig: [00:17:53] You know, your life sounds like a hip hop song,

Joel: [00:17:55] Right? Yeah, yeah. The mean streets of Beverly Hills, you know? But you know, I think that I I kind of, you know, I applied maybe some of those same principles of selling art. And, you know, I think that maybe more of the traditional structure, it's not maybe celebrated, you know, usually the world doesn't celebrate things or people until they become successful. And it's quite easy to criticize things that are maybe outside of the box a little bit until it becomes successful. And so I think like, you know, it's like maybe I was, you know, doing things a little wrong. You know, I remember when, you know, there was a very successful gallery down the block kind of art objects and and I remember Jeffrey Deitch used to come and visit them all the time, you know, and I would always think like and I would always know when Jeffrey Woods was on the block, you know, and I would always think, like, how would I get Jeffrey into my gallery, you know? And so it's like those kind of strategies instead of like, you know, it was sort of like, you know, there's always an angle and there's always a play. But I think the hustler is, you know, it's just like, you got no other choice. You know, it's like, you know, if I'm art dealing, I'm going to try to be the best artillery I can with the tools I have. I guess, you know, even though I don't really have have all the tools, I guess.

Craig: [00:19:26] And maybe you could talk about this like my my sense is that you're really good at it. And if you're a small art dealer that's really good at your job, you're constantly having to find new talent. You're finding the talent that's going to get taken away by the bigger gallery, right? I mean, so it's kind of paradoxical like, you know, the better you are, the harder you work, the more things kind of slip through your fingers. I mean, would you agree? I mean, is that something that?

Joel: [00:19:55] Oh yeah. I mean, I think, you know, in a certain respect, I think that the honesty I had about my position and place and tier within the art system, I think actually really helped me. I think that what I have seen is, you know, and I think this is true throughout life, but when people try to hold onto things too tightly and you know, when there's fear of losing something, a lot of times like that loss comes on quicker than if you know, you can learn to let go a little bit and kind of let, let, let go and let God a little bit. And. And I think that, you know, I was in a situation where I was incredibly close with my artists in a way where I knew that, you know, there would be a time when, you know, like you said, their successes would mean my eventual, you know, they would eventually be leaving me. Their successes would be, you know, my successes, but would not mean, you know, me coming along for their financial gains in the future. And I had to take pride in that as opposed to kind of like concentrating on the like half empty kind of.

Joel: [00:21:21] Position of it, of it all. And so I think that by understanding that position and trying to really be in that place and not hold tight and and say, like, well, you can never leave me, like I knew that they were going to leave me and I wanted them and I. And and so I kind of like, I threw out the journey. I was kind of I tried to, you know, embrace that a little bit. And I think that that helped me and I think it helped my relationships, and I think it helped me not hold anger and resentment. And I think it also gave me certain advantages or gave me certain, let's say, like it allowed me to make certain decisions for my future. So instead of me just selling work, I bought some of the work myself. So, you know, I wasn't. You know, when they left to bigger galleries, I wasn't like, Oh my God, I'll never see a dollar because, you know, I had a couple of nice pieces. So, you know, everyone wins.

Craig: [00:22:27] So, you know, there's a point where you are ninety five percent art dealer, five percent artist, and that ratio gets flipped around at some point. Was there a particular moment, a catharsis, that led you to have this late bloom?

Speaker2: [00:22:49] Well, you know, I kind's funny. I was actually just recently with my bookkeeper and I have two LLCs and one is for my art dealer, my gallery rental gallery, and I have another one that's for my painting. And it's funny because if you think of it like a scale, literally like you can watch it if you as like a numbers person in a data person, you literally could see the scale kind of shifting over the past few years just from a numbers point of view. But you know, it's funny because I remember like, you know, I would, you know, I was doing secretly drawings in the back and would sell them for a couple of hundred dollars. And, you know, doing this and I was so much happier doing that. And I would say to my wife, like, who do you think I could take this more seriously? And she's like, No, go to work, you know, and OK. And then, you know, I got a show in Montauk, and I think I sold three paintings at $6000 and I made, you know, almost 10 grand. I was like, You know, Sarah, you know, she's my wife. And I said, Can I? You think I could start to take this a little more seriously? She's like, No, like that. You know, that's not enough money for us. Keep going to work, you know? And then I got this big show. You know, it's Simon Lee Gallery in London, and they were going to fly me out.

Speaker2: [00:24:19] And, you know, I sold some paintings, and I think the paintings now are maybe $12000. And and, you know, and I was like, And what about now? Like, now he's a real gallery, like and she's like, No, absolutely not like you. This isn't even close to what we, you know, like, this is good. I'm happy and you're you're happy and we're this is great. We're doing great. But no, you know, you need to keep your day job, you know? And then as soon as David Kordansky offered me the show and I knew that that was really going to happen and that there was sort of a shift that happened. And it wasn't just like a psychological shift or a financial shift, but it was like, Oh, this is actually could be a thing like this is I might actually be able to be an artist now like this actually might like. It was like a like a smoke signal of like a weight, and I'm going to get a chance to be an artist now. And I kind of like, you know, I didn't ask Sarah yet because but in the back of my head, I was like, This actually might be the beginning of when she's going to allow me to quit my day job. And I feel like there was like the shift was right around that the smoke signals were there for sure.

Craig: [00:25:44] You went from Los Angeles to New York all the way, from the Pacific to the furthest part of the Atlantic. Now you're in East Hampton and basically your Rental Gallery, my understanding is that, you know, the majority of the year it serves as your studio. But in the season when the money shows up, you're able to use it as as a gallery, right?

Joel: [00:26:08] Yeah, exactly. And that was, you know, that was the the, you know, that like when I did the show with Simon and those were that was kind of the moment where. This situation, this gallery was like a perfect...the equilibrium, like the percentages, were starting to change a little bit, but I was still like, I still had my day job where I got my, you know, I used the galleries, my studio in the off season and then, you know, pretty much, you know, I needed a month of prep time to prep the gallery and and you know, I started opening shows at the end of May. And so, you know, I got the studio for probably seven months of the year and the rest of the time it was the gallery. And so. During this time, you know, it was still an active gallery, and it wasn't until this past year that this past summer that I was the first time I was closed, you know, I put a sign on the door that said, you know, sorry, rental galleries closed this summer and that I painted throughout the summer and use the whole the whole spaces as my studio.

Craig: [00:27:20] So in terms of percentages and we were talking about ninety five five, what do you think that balance is now of Joel, the art dealer versus Joel, the artist? I mean, have you convinced your wife that you're at the point where you're closer to 100 or are you 90, 90 percent artist?

Joel: [00:27:38] So now I am 100 percent, and I could tell you the exact moment that percentage became one hundred. I what? I had a group show and a friend of mine, an amazing painter. Austin Wiener was head of painting in the show and I had sold the painting, and this really great collector reached out for the painting and I was like, Oh, it's sold, but it's a great collection of the public collection. And so I let her know and I said, Look, you know, this would be great for you if this person acquired your work, you know, and and so she agreed and blah blah blah. And so when she had made a work for this collector, she said, OK, you know, like it was time for me to send the invoice and everything like that. And I said, You know what? And not sending the invoice, you could send the invoice. And so I put them in touch and I said, this is, you know, this is for you. This is. And you know, I literally stepped aside from it and it was that moment, you know, that I said, like, that's I'm not an art dealer anymore. You know, I literally it's like, you know, the the biggest faux pas art dealer. I literally let you know. I said, I said goodbye to that deal. I didn't some invoice. So that was the moment when I was like, OK, it's a hundred percent zero. And you know,

Craig: [00:29:18] Did that feel liberating? I mean, all those years that you're an art dealer, were you always thinking in the back of your head that that's really what you wanted to do? That's really what you wanted to be? Or, you know, did life just change and you just welcomed that opportunity? I mean, was it reaching a goal or was it?

Joel: [00:29:37] I mean, you know, if you would have asked me that question at different points in my life, I might have given different answers depending on kind of my either levels of intoxication. I mean, I'm six years sober now, so I speak quite freely about levels of intoxication, but or just maybe like my ego or whatever it is. But I always wanted to be an artist and I always thought of myself as an artist. I just knew that I wasn't. There were times in my life that I wasn't good enough or be, you know, I wasn't. I had nothing to give. Like, I think when I was younger and I was making work, you know, I thought of myself as like a Jewish expressionist and and I wanted the world to know the ills and the trauma of my life. And I was going to show everybody what it felt like. And I think that there was no market for that or me. And there's a reason for it because there's enough gas in the world. Like, who needs my stuff hanging on their wall, you know? And I think it wasn't until I kind of grew up a little bit and realize that like, Oh no, my work can actually be one of like service and making people kind of happy and like giving. Instead of taking and, you know, showing instead of telling that all of a sudden, I think people started to respond a little bit to what I was doing. And I think that now I'm in a place where, you know, I'm like, OK, now I can be an artist because I actually am in a place where I feel comfortable with what I'm saying as opposed to before, like, you know, whatever I can mix color. And I knew I still knew composition and I knew all that stuff. But I don't know if I had a reason to be loved or to be, you know, coveted or purchased or whatever, you know. And so I think I still wanted to be an artist my whole life, but I'm just not sure I was worthy of it.

Craig: [00:31:50] Yours is the road less traveled to find success in the art world in your late forties. The model these days seems to be trying to find that rookie talent out of the MFA program. Was there any particular pushback to the fact that you were an early career artist at a later point in your life?

Joel: [00:32:15] You know, I think there was less of a pushback on that than there was a pushback on that I was an art dealer for so long and that I had established so many relationships within the art world as an art dealer. I think that was a bigger pushback. You know, I think that like, you know, artists like Scott Kahn and I think that the story of kind of. The artist's finding their voice or maybe getting rediscovered later in life has been a theme recently, but I think that the art dealer. Kind of being taken seriously as an artist is maybe a little more taboo. And that was for me, was a harder nut to crack. I would say and still, you know, I think it still affects me. I think that, you know, especially in my little circles, that I ran in as an art dealer. It's still harder. But I think that, you know, that's why having done a show in Hong Kong with Lévy Gorvy, like, was so kind of freeing for me, it's because like I knew nobody in Hong Kong as an art dealer. Like I, I didn't have any collectors in Hong Kong as an art dealer. And so I kind of felt like I was going in there really raw, like as an artist. And that actually really was freeing for me in terms of like making work in the studio because I felt like there were no kind of like shadow voices a little bit where, you know, when I was making the show in L.A., I was like, Oh boy, this person and this person and this person, you know, all these people that knew me as an art dealer will see this, you know, so it was really nice to have that. That kind of freedom in Hong Kong, and I was like, Oh, this is how other people must feel like this is how other artists must feel like when they do a show like there they don't, they're not walking in a room full of like, you know, like all this baggage.

Craig: [00:34:24] So one of my recent guests was a person named Debbie Millman, and she's a designer, brand guru, arts podcaster and a huge art collector in, you know, the majority of her collection is really heavy in text. I mean, she Lawrence Weiner, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha. And you know, when I look at your new work pool party, you know, it seems to kind of fit with with all those names. So my question for you is tell me about the power of words and why do they feature so prominently in this new body of work?

Joel: [00:35:04] I would say, you know, I think I started the word started to come into the work as literally kind of a shortcut to communication for me. I think it was, it really was. Just how can I? You know, because I was a little older coming to it, it was like, how much time do I got? You know, if people are going to actually take me seriously, how much, how much time I don't have that much time to kind of like, you know, sing my poetry here. So it was like, how quickly can I say what I need to say? And I think that having found that voice and the irony of it all is that I am super, super dyslexic. I have like crazy like reading issues. And so a lot of times I will do studies and stuff and I will send out, take a picture of it or something and send it to my wife. She'll be like, Yeah, that's not how you spell sweet, you know, or like what? Which is amazing. And there have been times I've actually like not done that and gotten very far into painting and then gotten the like.

Joel: [00:36:20] I hate to do this, but like, you spell that word wrong. But I now I think it's just like this. This, you know, I get to play with, like now I have a set aside the words and and now, you know, I just now I'm playing with this text right now, actually where it says Freudian slip and it's I'm painting the honey. It's like it looks like dripping honey, you know, and it's like, I get to kind of like. Um, visualize the text and see the text, and like all the the ways to write the letters and I think that I just get to, it's like I get to do so much with it and I'm having like a blast with it and I wouldn't even. It's almost now. It's like, you know, I've built that language up for myself now. That's like, I wouldn't even know how to. I wouldn't even want to make a picture without it. You know, it's like, it's like a color to me.

Craig: [00:37:20] So does the text always kind of match the visual? Or do you use like some cognitive dissonance in there? There's conflict in the visual versus the text?

Joel: [00:37:33] I mean, I think there's always a dialog and an acknowledgment of it, for sure, like it would never be. I think, you know, I've often thought about like Ruscha in that way, like Ruscha is like a cool cowboy from Oklahoma, where like a lot of times you might very intensely like you will see text that is totally disconnected with the visual. And I think that that's part of the charm of of of his work and and why he is so great. But it's a totally different thing. And I think for me, it's not that at all. I think it's there very much hand in hand. And whether it's like something of a supporting structure for it or it is, you know, to point out, it's maybe it's opposite or, you know, part of the story, but it's it's always acknowledged for sure, but it doesn't have to be, you know, no rules.

Craig: [00:38:33] You know, it is interesting you're talking about the dyslexia. And you know, I've listened to conversations with Richard Branson and he talks about his dyslexia. He's somebody else that has always been, you know, identified as being a hustler. And, you know, he talks about how his journey from, you know, schlepping up to being a billionaire. It's almost like the dyslexia gave him an advantage because he was processing information differently. And you know, it's interesting because, you know, you hear about left handed people have better spatial intelligence because they're always having to compensate for living in a right-handed world. And so I just wonder, you know, you know, looking back, do you feel like the dyslexia actually, I'm sure your family story was part of of the hustler mentality, but do you feel like the dyslexia was also part of what contributed to that?

Joel: [00:39:36] Yeah, I mean, I think it all contributed to it. I think, you know, definitely like when I was being sent in the hall like daily and fifth grade, you know, like like today, I would say, like, this is who I am and I wouldn't trade anything and like, this is the fabric of my, you know, but like if you would have asked the fifth grade self who was like feeling shamed and, you know, like, no, I, you know, wouldn't want to wish that upon anybody, you know? But I think that, you know, when one has to deal with struggles, you know, I've often recently been thinking of, you know, Victor Frankel's like man search for meaning. It's like, how do we find meaning in literally in a in a place of, you know, where there is no conceivable meaning, you know, like, I think that, you know, once we are set up for challenges and can prevail, you know, God, life is beautiful. But I think at the moment are the time, you know, it's not something you'd wish upon anybody, especially your young self. But yeah, I mean, you know, I think all of those challenges contributed to, you know, how I see things and I and I love how I see things now. But again, you know, I think if you would ask the younger self, my younger self, some of these questions at the time, you know, like, fuck, no, you know, like, let me be normal. Like, I hate this, you know, like, yeah, I want to be just like Charlie, who can read a book, right?

Craig: [00:41:20] So what's on the horizon for you? I mean, do you do you think your work's going to continue to get bigger or word's going to continue to play a bigger part? Where do you feel like your body of work is is headed?

Joel: [00:41:34] Yeah, you know, I definitely, you know, text just knowing what I'm working on now. Definitely like text is integral to it, I'm I am going to be doing an exhibition at the Long Museum this summer in Shanghai, and I am doing a series, a new body of work for that show, which is all, you know, heavily text based. And I'm kind of using, you know, I'm using camouflage and kind of like camouflage and work. You the text and the image, like kind of like, where is the foreground and where is the background? And you know, what is the subject matter? And and so, you know, I'm super into what these paintings are. And so, you know, one day at a time and, you know, kind of doing these and future. All right.

Craig: [00:42:35] And so but right now, people can see your work at Lévy Gorvy in London and Palm Beach, I think through for like through the middle of March.

Joel: [00:42:46] Yeah.

Craig: [00:42:47] So if folks wanted to keep track of you and your work, where where would they go? I mean, is there is there Instagram or.

Joel: [00:42:55] Yeah, I mean, I'm I'm I'm like, I'm pretty like obsessed with Instagram. I love Instagram. I tend to like, you know, Instagram. My children quite a bit and like weird situations I create in the studio and pretty much like there. And you know, I show with the dancing in LA and I show with Lévy Gorvy. And you know, yeah, I pretty much like, you know, I'm on Instagram all the time and doing the show at Long Museum in July. And, you know, I don't know, I'm around right on.

Craig: [00:43:33] Well, Joel, I really appreciate your time.

Craig: [00:43:43] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to art since you can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rates show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. If you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read a transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to Canvia Art. And click on the Podcast tab. If you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at Craig at Canvia. Art, thanks for listening.

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