Tanner Goldbeck

Interview by Jimon

1. Currently you live in LA, what would be your second choice? I have been living in downtown Los Angeles for about twelve years now … can’t see ever moving anywhere else around here. If I had to move, I guess I’d go back to Baltimore. Not the city but up in the country. Somewhere close to a well-stocked fish pond and some open space. Spent my whole life trying to get out of that town and now that’s where I dream of ending up. You have to love the irony of things.

2. How long have you been making art and what lead you to start? I guess I’ve been making art ever since I first figured out what Crayons were. As a kid I spent most of my free time drawing skulls and monsters. I was lucky to have a great high school art teacher by the name Barry Hamilton. He was the one person that told me I could go to art school if I wanted. I don’t think I had even known there was such a thing back then.

3. How would you describe Tanner Goldbeck? Tanner Goldbeck is the loudest quiet person you will ever meet. I don’t know; he’s not such a bad guy. I’m an Irish kid adopted into a German Catholic family with a Korean sister and a Korean nephew. The melting pot. I love to keep certain daily rituals, but I detest any sort of working routine. A mess of small contradictions that tries to keep learning and creating new things. Definitely a type, “B” personality with a few type, “A” tendencies.

4. You are very intrigued by street art, what is the source behind that? Street art, that’s any easy one. Love the energy of it. Hands down, some of the most talented artists I’ve ever met. For the most part it’s no bullshit. You either can do it, or you can’t. There is an ephemeral aspect to the whole process that I like as well. Inside the studio and gallery world, so much care is taken to make sure things are preserved and cared for. Outside there is a bit of a fatalistic acceptance that this piece will not last forever. I don’t get to do as much outside as I’d like, but I try to bring some of that energy into the studio works as often as possible.

5. What influences you as an artist? A million things can influence me at any given moment. Overall, I’d have to say tension. I live in place that always has a sort of tension out on the streets. I like people who are struggling to get somewhere. I’ll choose them over the successfully relaxed types any day. Tension is energy. It can be resolved, enhanced or even ignored, but that anxiety fuels the journey. I am influenced by people who are motivated to create and to push boundaries. Not just to make noise for the sake of being loud, but more because they have something sincere to say.

6. How do you define success? Success is a tricky concept. I can’t say that I’m wildly successful in the art world, but I successfully survive in the real world well enough to pay my bills and make some art. Have you ever seen that graphic with the stick people and what they are thinking? The one guy has a skateboard and he’s looking at the guy with a bike while he is wishing he had a bike. The guy with the bike is looking at a guy in a car and he’s wishing he had a car. Similarly, the guy in the car is seeing another guy in a fancier car and the thought bubbles continue on. Success is finding happiness in whatever it is you do. If you wake up looking forward to doing what you do, I’d call that successful.

7. Do you listen to music while creating? If yes, what genre?  I actually don’t listen to a lot of music when I work. I do the random Pandora thing from time to time. I have my favorite metal, punk and blues bands but most often I work with old movies and TV shows playing in the background. I think I like the background chatter. Old Sci-fi films are a favorite. I’ve been known to play Star Trek from beginning to end, Andy Griffith show, Starsky and Hutch Twilight Zone whatever pops up on Netflix.

8. What does Tanner Goldbeck dream about? I dream about fishing, driving old cars and wandering around is strange places. I get lost in my dreams quite often. I never dream about flying though. I really want one of those dreams.

9. How would you like to be seen as an artist years from now? I’d like to end up in at least one textbook. Or perhaps one really nice coffee table book. I’d like to be known for the conceptual works that I haven’t yet created. I have spent most of my life learning how to technically draw and paint, but only recently started asking myself why I paint. That has been a huge universal shift from the technical mindset into a more abstract and conceptual way of thinking. It has become much more exciting and I hope that the future works express this well enough to be remembered.

10. What is the one thing you don’t know that you want to know? One thing I’d like to know … I wish I knew more about physics. I try to follow people like Neil deGrasse Tyson. When they start talking about what goes on out in space and I lose them halfway through whatever they are explaining. Time and space are these abstract concepts that are like slippery fish. Hard to hold on to. I’ve tried to explain some of the things I’ve heard to other people and I just bumble it all up.

11. Do you have a place/person/thing that you visit for inspiration? When everything here is in chaos and I’m on the verge of exploding, I end up back east by a quiet, little pond hidden back in the fields of a neighbor’s farm. That place heals me. Other than that, any coffee shop will do. I like to sit and draw while the world rotates around me.

12. Name three things you can’t live without in your studio? My large, beat up cranky old drawing table, a nice day with decent lighting and enough free time to not feel pressure and the need to rush.

13. If you could have dinner with 3 artists living/dead who would be at your table? That’s a random one. Just off the top of my head, a dinner with Jacques-Louis David, William Turner and Vincent Van Gogh would be interesting indeed.

14. Anything else you’d like to mention that I didn’t ask? I’m five foot eleven inches tall, got my tax extension. I wear a baseball hat backwards every day and I’m a Cancer. How’s that?


you can purchase Tanner’s work in the BUY section.

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