Interview w/ John Speaker - Colorado Artist and Friend of Grassroots
We are very excited to release our second collection with Colorado based visual artists John Speaker. For this collection we pulled from his Bicycle Day painting to develop a variety of headwear styles.
- Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? When did you get started with art?
I'm a full time artist living with my wife Blaire and our one year old son Nico in Niwot, Colorado. Together, we run an art studio where we are building a wholesome and supportive art community! Check out www.johnspeaker.com/
studio-sessions for upcoming events.
I was born and raised in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2010 I was fresh out of college with a degree, yet felt very lost and uninspired with the direction of my life. I was living with a heavy cloud of depression and really wasn't sure that I wanted to keep living anymore. One day, a friend offered me some LSD, and I thought "I don't really care about anything anymore, so why not?" A couple nights later, I took the LSD by myself in my bedroom and proceeded to have a tremendously transformative experience. At one point during the trip I felt a calling to pick up a pen and piece of paper. As I was doodling I had a realization of oneness (or God, or whatever you wish to call it) and experienced pure joy in a way that I hadn't felt since I was a child. From that day on I have made art practically every day!
- How did you develop your current style?
An art style is something that seems to spontaneously emerge through dedicated practice. Obviously, my art style has been informed by psychedelic experiences as that was the catalyst for my art journey. Beyond that, my art style has been informed by traveling, hiking, spiritual insight, friendships, and the experience of life itself. I don't feel as if I have actively tried to create a style though, I think it's something that continues to evolve as I pay attention to life and remain open to creative intuition.
- What are some inspirations for your style?
Inspiration can come from anywhere and appear in an infinite stream of flavors. When I go on a hike I feel inspired to paint a beautiful landscape. When my son was born I was flooded with a wave of creativity inspired by new life. When a family member got sick I meditated on death. When I read a Ram Dass book I wanted to paint about love. Sometimes I just want to space out and doodle without a specific reason. The creative spirit can take over at any time and for any reason, I just try to do my best to be in touch with that intuitive side and pay attention to all of the lessons that life is constantly throwing my way.
- What keeps you inspired to continue creating?
Art is a continual process of discovery. The creative spirit keeps teaching me new lessons, introducing me to amazing friends, leading me to beautiful places, and helps to support my loving family.
- What was your inspiration behind your Bicycle Day painting? Any hidden meanings behind the imagery?
I have always loved the classic "Bicycle Day" blotter art design that was created by an unknown artist sometime in the late 60's/early 70's. It depicts the first ever LSD trip by its discoverer Albert Hoffman.
My dedication to art was kicked off by my first LSD experience and LSD had completely transformed my life, so I decided to recreate that design! I liked the idea of taking the simple imagery and deepening the details and overall "trippiness". Countless artists have done their own renditions of this classic image throughout the decades and it was fun to join the party!
- What is your favorite piece from the Bicycle Day collection being released?
I'm absolutely loving the corduroy hats! Everything turned out amazing, but I've had a thing for corduroy hats for about a decade now and it's so awesome to finally wear one with my art on it!
- Do you have any dream collaborations you would want to be involved with? Artists, bands, brands, etc...?
I would love to work on an animated cartoon series based on my art. Maybe one day!
- Any advice for up and coming artists?
Keep going. Trust your intuition. Challenge yourself while being kind to yourself. Practice mindfulness. You are far more brilliant than you realize.
- Any upcoming shows or events?
I'm focusing most of my attention on events at my studio these days. You can see our events listed here: http://www.johnspeaker.
I'll be set up at Boulder Creek Fest in Boulder, CO (May 26-29) and at Rockygrass in Lyons, CO (July 28-30)
| Posted on April 17 2023