Max Makewell is a not only an artist, but a storyteller. He began his journey as an artist while watching his grandfather create sculptures made of wax, but his path has taken multiple twists and turns as he has traversed across the globe in search of inspiration for his next work of art. Makewell finds those sparks of creativity from everyday moments, whether it’s walking up the steps of the Met, or noticing an interesting color palette in the New York City subway.
Max describes his process as a mad scientist experimenting with different colors, shapes, and mediums in the lab until he cooks up a new formula. This can be seen through the progression of his artwork. He originally began painting portraits, but now has switched focus to abstract paintings and larger scale pieces of art. Makewell believes that this is just the beginning of his journey into the art world. We were able to have the opportunity to sit down and learn from his experiences while gaining a better understanding of the man that expresses himself through paint strokes.
When was the moment you knew that you wanted to dedicate your life to the arts?
I watched my grandfather’s thick-knuckled hands transform wax into beautiful bronze horses. His bristling creative energy infected my 5 year old imagination. I worked beside him conjuring visions into physical reality using my still soft pale hands. It’s moments like these that made me realize I wanted to devote my life to art.
How do you feel your art has developed since you first started?
When I jog up the steps of the Met I feel a sense of fraternity with all the classical artists celebrated there. Each generation leaves behind a context of skill to for the next to stand on the shoulders of. Since completing my training I feel an obligation to my ancestors to dissect, synthesize, and raise the bar on how deeply art can move each of us.
What does the creative process look like for you?
When I’m in my studio I feel like an evil scientist mixing potions and experimenting with recipes. With each trial I gain valuable insights and approaches. After hundreds of failed attempts the light bulb goes on and “eureka”!
What has been the most rewarding part of being an artist?
Being an artist is both a privilege and a tremendous responsibility.
What do you hope others see when they look at your body of work?
It’s one of the few professions where I believe it’s possible to raise the bar on what we feel is possible in our lives. If I can do this for just one person in my lifetime all of the dedication would be worth it.
Your body of work has evolved over time (portraits to abstracts). Where do you feel you are now and where do you see yourself going with your art?
I feel like I’m just getting started with my art, and knowing there are only 24 hours in a day keeps my feet to the fire.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.
I was in the subway kicking the steel beam out of boredom when I saw its paint was chipped. Seven distinct colors revealed themselves. My imagination ran wild with the stories that these coats of paint had seen and experienced over the decades.
If you had the ability to create anything what would your dream project be?
I’m working on my big dream project right now, creating a full building wall mural in Soho. I was deeply involved in public art many years ago, but this will be a whole new level of sharing on an international stage of viewers.
What role do you feel the artist has in today’s society?
Artists are the ones who raise the ceiling on society’s imagination and potential.
What advice do you have for younger or newer artist trying to make a name for themselves in the art world?
Make it happen, and allow others to join in on the fun.
To see more work from Max Makewell click below.
To see Max Makewell’s work in person, don’t forget to come by Guy Hepners Gallery in NYC.
Opening reception will be February 11th 6pm-10pm
568 Broadway #502, New York, NY 10012