Jacob – Hi Sean, thank you for agreeing to do another interview with me. Last time we did one was 2017. You have grown a lot in these last 3 years in terms of your creative expression.
Jacob – First question, How do you balance the music, the photography with working a day job. It must be stressful.
Sean – I’m working part-time at the moment and my hours can be flexible if needed, so I just make it work when I need to. My life revolves pretty much around photos and music, so unless if I have or make plans with friends or family, I’m producing or writing/recording music, or editing/shooting/planning photos. It can be stressful at times but I’m lucky enough to be able to work on things that I’m passionate about that help me build a better and more fulfilling life for myself, so I’m incredibly privileged in the grand scheme of things.
Jacob – You have gained a lot of support online within the last 3 years. How does it feel to have your art seen by so many people and to also have some of your art go viral?
Sean – It’s pretty great to know I have a fair amount of people who enjoy my work enough to follow my work and want to see more, it’s encouraging to say the least. I try to respond to every comment or message to show my gratitude to everyone who shares my work to others, whether it be to a friend or on their own platform, or to those who buy prints of mine to support what I do, I don’t take any of this for granted and want to continue to try to build up my visibility and community of supporters. Having some works of mine become relatively popular on the internet is pretty wild, especially considering some of these images were done at the last minute or on a whim. It just goes to show that the internet can provide ridiculously wide reach for artists, careers can easily be created from this kind of visibility, and I, of course, hope to replicate my past experiences with having images do well on social media platforms and forums.
Jacob – I know some of the images you make you aren’t as happy with but they seem to connect a lot with people. What is your favorite work you have done in the last few years and what work have you done that did better then you thought?
Sean – A favorite of mine that I made recently is Untitled (Red Thread), it’s by no means my best or absolute favorite but I enjoy it because it was just something simple I thought of that I had no pressure to create and expected nothing to come from, but it’s different than a lot of my other images and just came out really great in the end in my opinion. An image I made last summer called Untitled (September Sunset) did really well on social media surprisingly, despite it being shot on a whim at the last minute before sundown one day at the end of summer. I hadn’t anticipated the sky being purple when shooting (was looking for more of a grey like I usually have in my images), but I think this is essentially what made people more drawn to it, especially coming from me who usually uses mostly greys and blacks.
Jacob – About how many works of art do you think you have created? Including ones that won’t ever see the light of day.
Sean – I don’t create as many as I would like to, or at least I’m not as consistent as I would like to be, but that being said I’ve probably made around 300 in the last few years, but I think a very slim percentage of those are any good haha, maybe 30.
Jacob – So this week you have a new solo show at Galerie Youn. I don’t want you to have to restate the statement so we will place it below the interview. But I would love if you could explain some of the images more in-depth. Would you mind explaining more about the image “Barriers ii” and “Barriers III?” As these two works seen to be showcasing the opposite of each other.
Sean – Thank you for asking! My idea behind Barriers II specifically was to show a character immobilized yet surrounded by what would ultimately free them. The flame images of my Barriers series pertain more so to internal conflict, using the flames in the images to symbolize walls or barriers we find ourselves hitting that block us from achieving self-improvement or want we want out of life, whereas the smoke images are more so about external conflict. Like Barriers II, Barriers III is just another representation of the same idea, but more so extrapolating on the idea of what lies on the other side of the flame (similar to Barriers I), the flame could be seen as some inner turmoil or obstacle stopping you from being your full genuine self.
Jacob – Now I would like to ask you a little bit about your music. Since 2019 has started you have been releasing more music. How has the reception from your followers been and how do you feel about your new music?
Sean – People follow me for photos, so the crossover reach hasn’t been as great as I would like to be, but it’s just starting and its starting well. I’m in the process of laying the groundwork really, and thankfully already there are some people who enjoy my music and want more of it. It’s just a matter of staying consistent and putting out good music over and over until something clicks. I can’t blame people for not receiving my music work as well as my photos, as this isn’t what they follow me for, so in a way, I’m pushing different types of media on to them that they aren’t really interested in seeing from me. I’m sure I’ll lose some people due to this, but my hope is that I can create good enough content in both mediums to entice people to continue supporting me and just have 2 different mediums to appreciate from me instead of 1!
Jacob – Has there been anything you learned on the journey of making the music that you wished you knew earlier on?
Sean – I definitely wish I knew or had the discipline to create finished works of music regularly now that I’m releasing a song a month. I used to just create and put things off and procrastinate, not working regularly to finish something, and in the long run, you just end up shooting yourself in the foot by not putting as much material of yours out there. But I plan on focusing on releasing more music regularly instead of beating myself up for not doing it early enough, better late than never and I feel I have a good place of perspective after seeing what can come from consistent work with photography and visuals.
Jacob – Over the last few years has your taste in music changed any? What is some artist you have been listing to lately?
Sean – Definitely, I used to listen almost exclusively to rock/post-hardcore music, but now listen to a lot more pop, r&b, rap/hip hop, instrumental music, etc. It’s changed mostly just from my exposure to different styles, I get bored easily so listening to different styles helps a lot. Having a wide and varied range of influences to pull from can only help you not become too repetitive in your approach to every song as well, so I’m hoping this plays out in the music in the long run. Lately, I’m listening to a lot of Oliver Francis, Covet, BANKS, Croosh, Always Never, The Underachievers, James Blake, and Proceed.
Jacob – Thank you for all the answers and if you would like to say anything else for the people reading or if you have any advice to give other artists feel free!
Sean – Thank you so much for offering to interview me again and for sharing my work on your platform so many times! Incredibly thankful for both. I’d also like to say thanks to anyone for taking the time to read this, and to everyone who leaves encouraging comments or messages about my work or buys my work and supports me, cannot say how much I appreciate this. For any artists reading this, my advice would be to make as much content as possible as quickly or consistently as possible; for me doing a 52 weeks project helped me enormously and I recommend a project like this (creating 1 finished work a week) to anyone wanting to get more serious about making art in any medium and trying to build an audience for themselves.
Show opening is on the 4th of May at Galerie Youn in Montreal ( https://galerieyoun.com/ / @youn_gallery on Instagram) and runs until June 30th
” “Barriers” depicts the macrocosm of conflict through expository thought and symbolic imagery. The images probe at the divergence of modes in which conflict manifests itself; internal and external. Both realms, though distinct, are fundamentally entangled within an elemental context where they respond to each other. Fire and smoke are motifs underscored in their own respective sets of images to individually express discord, ultimately coupling them together.
Fire allegorizes a contained catastrophe evocative of internal strife. The visceral torment is physical and psychological as it sets the figures ablaze, desensitized in their own innate inferno. With the capacity to stifle its victims from attaining relief, fire becomes established as an intimate obstacle to self. The sacrificial flames encircle, divide, and alienate. These images render the internal conflict as purgatorial yet placid in nature, fire as its direct representation.
Smoke writhes as a subdued abstraction of conflict from the external. This emblem serves as a caveat to a source of dissonance, concealed from view, that emerges as an ambiguous object of fixation for the figures seen. The smoke, exemplifying consequences of conflict, becomes such a focal point that it diminishes the importance of probing for its source. The recoil from broken systems in group and societal settings account for how the wavering ribbons came to be. The smoke denotes tolerance of a reality fastened on the effects of blatant affliction and ignorance of its cause.
The visualization of conflict in “Barriers” is expressed through organic mediums, fire and smoke, both typifying contrasting states through which discord is revealed. These mutual entities serve as markers for complications developing from within and beyond the individual. In view of the exhibited concepts, the images bear a complex discourse between humanity and the looming barriers they attempt to navigate.”
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