We had the good fortune of connecting with John Sanchez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
We’d have to “peel this onion” to know why I chose an artistic career. There can be a sort of “Freudian” reason such as how I moved practically every six months to a new school district when I was young and I have found that I would sit down to draw on those days I entered that new class room and by lunch time I have made the friends I was going to make for those six months. This was accomplished by my drawings. I understand today that as humans we have this deep seeded need to see others do good work and that is true in almost any endeavor. It can be in a sports game, an artist drawing, or even a cashier filling up bags with groceries. We find these things assuring. We become fans and want to somehow be associated with those that create these moments. It could be that I wanted those accolades? But it could also be about the challenges that creating an artwork reveals. “Can I do this painting?” I find myself wondering when I see something in nature that I want to capture. Will my eye see the correct relationship between the colors? Will I be able to mix that color? And it could be about wanting to “voice” a mood or thought. My patrons and collectors many times have mentioned how owning my work gives them a sense of “coming home” that they are afforded a moment of contemplation that they may not get other wise in their busy schedules. That they treat my work as that instead of decoration to match the color scheme of their sofas keeps me appreciative beyond words. So maybe I chose this career because I wanted friends, I enjoy challenges, and I want to say something with my work, but honestly I do not know if these are the real reasons. They make sense to me for now, but I wonder if it might be something else as well. It is complex you know? I like to think of a Ted talk I heard some years ago by Elizabeth Gilbert talking about muses and demons. How maybe the gods just want to see something made and they go around inspiring different people to make something. Who knows? Maybe its not me doing all this stuff, it might just be some Art Spirit! Why not? We have seen many kinds of explanations before!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When you, dear reader, if you are an artist, have figured out how to have smooth sailing to sales, professional accolades, museum shows and all those other things we believe as a culture makes you a successful artist….enjoy it! And Bravo! Good for you! I am sure I will be a fan and see your work on the top social media sites and latest Art magazines. Sincerely I am in awe of your work. Those things are very important. They give us fuel and purpose. I, on the other hand, have more of a rollercoaster ride of a career. I believe this is the vast majority of us. I have found a few principles that have helped but even those are not fool proof in the very fast changing time. In that case the best possible principle is to be nimble and open to change with these types of things, but most of it is moot if you do not continually create work, even work that you deem to be a step backward in your development. It is imperative that you continue to make that effort to do work. The work is the key to any door of success. As far as lessons learned along the way I can say this: be grateful to those that want to own your work, not only that but be curious about them, ask them about their lives, you have the potential for life long friendships. I have a few of my collectors that chat with me every once in while via text or email. Think about it! If they own your work you already have something in common, not only that, believe me, they want you to succeed even to the point that some of them can not just own only one of your works! They tend to want to spread their joy of you. One incredible collector/friend even commissioned me to do several drawings so he can give them out as Christmas gifts! I can not advise this enough. Your buyers are your life blood. Treat them well. Stay in contact with them, go have a coffee with them (well, virtual ones these days) let them know you appreciate them and mean it. Do not do it as some sort of marketing ploy. There is something that sparked interest in your work so fan those flames. It is rather nice to hear what they have to say about your work too. I aim to capture a universal and accurate depiction to the best of my ability. It is a challenge to just do that and if I can get it then I feel a sense that I communicated a clear moment.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
2020 in some ways really has brought out good things in us. I was able to re kindle my passion for mountain biking. If my best buddy was visiting me he would know that we would be sweating it out on some epic off road biking in South Florida (maybe even a trip to central Florida as well)it can be Amelia Earheart Park, Markham, Virginia Key, Oleta, Delray, or a long ride on the many Levees. Then I might head to get a great Cuban sandwich at Sanguich on Calle Ocho and maybe un batido de Mamey (depends on how epic the mountain biking was) or dinner at the awesome Havana Harry’s in Coral Gables.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Artist past and present at the Arts Students League especially Peter Cox, Mary Beth McKenzie, Sherry Camhy