Jeremy Wolff is a contemporary, pop, street artist from New York City, with a focus in current events, pop culture, sports, and music. Since taking on art full time in 2014, Wolff has been featured at multiple charity events, met a number of professional athletes that have signed his work, and has done live paintings. Most recently, Wolff was featured in Forbes Magazine.
With a background in Mass Communications and Art, Wolff has gained a reputable following and aims to present at galleries, have murals on walls all over the world, and gain notoriety for his work. Wolff blends various styles to create a unique look that has transformed into his own. Taking traditional oil painting portraits and mixing it with his often spray paint background and drip style painting, he blends a more modern look with a street/pop art feel.
Name: Jeremy Wolff @jwollfstudios
Birthday: December 7th 1987
College: Towson University
How would you define yourself as an artist? The coolest thing about being an artist is the freedom. I like to describe myself as an entrepreneur as well as an artist. I believe being an artist is not ONLY about creating but also knowing how to get people to see your creations, how to get people to share and admire your work, and of course how to sell your work if that’s how you want to make a living.
Why art? How did you get involved with art? I have always had an eye for art. Ever since I was a young kid in first grade, we would have to write stories that we would share with the class every week. Most of the kids would focus on the writing portion, I focused on my illustrations. I even remember my older sister having me draw her book report covers because she could barely draw a stick figure. It wasn’t just elementary school that foreshadowed my career as an artist. I would go to my grandmother’s house and she had a 400 page book of just pictures of all pieces from art history. I was always drawn to that book and would study it for hours. Art just always spoke to me.
What art do you most identify with?
It would be hard for me to choose. I love all types of art. I have been to countless concerts so music has definitely played a huge role in my upbringing. I am not painting if I’m not listening to music. I believe as an artist myself it is important to appreciate all types of art. I was lucky enough to study all aspects of art, history, sculpture, figure drawing, painting, etc. I one day hope to take my keen eye for art and translate that into my career as well. Curating or advising in the art world is something I plan on doing at some point or another.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative is about being able to make something from nothing. Having an imagination goes hand in hand with being creative. If you can imagine it, you can put your mind to it and make something. Art is very subjective so if you have a vision and can explain that vision in any matter, then it is being creative and creating art.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative?
I read a life-changing book that I recommend to any artist out there. It’s called “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. In this book there were a plethora of quotes that really stuck with me. I’ll share a few with you so you can get a better idea of my thought process.
“Art is Theft” – Pablo Picasso
“I have stolen all of these moves from all of these great players, I just try to do them proud, the guys who came before, because I learned so much from them. It’s all in the name of the game. It’s a lot bigger than me” – Kobe Bryant
“We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you cant steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your own voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.” –Francis Ford Cappola
These quotes mean a lot to me because I truly feel art is about inspiring other people. There is a huge difference between imitation and emulation. I know I am an emulator rather than an imitator. Sometimes it takes a long time before that happens to you, if it ever does. Everyone has his or her own skill set, there own imagination. One artist may be a master at perfect line work; another may be the best color blender. It’s the artists that use their strengths while also emulating other artist’s strengths as best as they can that are successful.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I think I am trying to let people know that I have my finger on the pulse of what is going on today. Fashion, politics, pop culture, sports, I find myself to be a very well rounded person and I have noticed that If I have an interest in it, more then likely it will be something someone can relate to or enjoy. I want my art to be relatable to everyday thoughts or things people like.
What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually?
I think my paintings have a nice flow to them. I pride myself in my placement and being able to map out a nice full painting. Something you can look at every aspect. I want people to not just look at one spot of the painting but rather the entire thing from corner to corner. I want different aspects to draw your eye while maintaining an underlying theme of the painting.
What themes do you pursue?
Pop Culture, Music, Sports, History, Politics. Basically as I mentioned earlier, I think I am a very likeminded individual. If I like something and want to paint it, I am willing to bet someone will most definitely enjoy it.
What inspires you to work?
I haven’t worked since I quit my 9-5. Life is my inspiration.
Movie:Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Quote: “You have to work very hard to be successful. You have to work even harder to maintain it” – Jimmy Iovine
Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start?
Sure, I would love to share some insight on that. Typically, I have a painting done in my head before I even lay one pencil mark or stroke of paint onto the canvas. I literally envision the entire painting, from placement of the foreground, middle ground, and background to the exact colors I will be using. I plan out step-by-step the order at which I will paint the piece so that by the time I am ready to start painting I know exactly what I am going to be doing the entire time. No guessing. No seeing how that looks. After it is conceptualized in my head, it’s all about just getting it done from that point on. A lot of artists have a sketchbook, completely draw out the piece before they do a master. I don’t work like that. I don’t do sketches. I find it to be a waste of my time. We live in a digital age. I can pretty much find anything I want to see via the Internet and portray it in my own way in my head and then onto canvas.
What Role does the artist have in society?
Society would be pretty damn boring with out artists, I’ll tell yah that right now. I think artists are a vast majority of the people who motivate and inspire. I think athletes are in that boat as well but art has such a broader range. Music, Food, Movies, TV, Books, are all different forms of art and that’s what makes our world go.
Do you suffer for your art?
Nah, I don’t consider myself to be a very deep person artistically, at least not at this point of my life. Most of my paintings don’t have a much deeper meaning. You see what it is and that’s all it is.
What do you think about the art community and market?
I am so glad to become a member of the art community. Or at least continue trying to be. Thanks to social media I feel the art community is a lot smaller than it really is. You begin to see familiar people and faces at art fairs and galleries. It’s all a big networking game to me. As far as the market goes, I am still learning about it everyday. I think there is so much more I need to know. This is one aspect of my career I plan on mastering, knowing the art market. What artists are sought after? How did they get there? What makes a piece of art worth X amount of dollars? Who is buying that artist work? Where is an artist showing their work? All ins and outs of the art market that are important.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
So many to choose from. As far as classic artists go, I would have to say Van Gogh and Chuck Close are two of the artists I really admired when I was a young kid. Starry Night has always been one of my favorite pieces. I love the texture Van Gogh puts into his work. Chuck Close’s portraits just always WOW’d me. I was always blown away by the size of his work.
As far as today’s famous artists that inspire me, I have mentioned him in every write up/feature I have done, but King Saladeen (@kingsaladeen) has really been someone I look up to. The way he has climbed a ladder of success is really something I plan to achieve as well. Christopher Florentino (@byflore) is another artist that just blows me away with his success. Both Saladeen and Flore have the IT factor that I am after, that underlying theme that differentiates them from any other artist. I really look up to both of them. I can keep going with this question. Another two artists that I relate to are Mark Paul Deren (@madsteez), and @TimmySneaks. Again, it’s about the path these artists have taken that makes me look up to them so much. They are all truly an inspiration. So having said that. Thank you to those artists mentioned.
What other interests do you have outside of art?
I’m actually a big sports guy. Die hard New York Rangers fan. I do my fantasy leagues with the same group of guys from my hometown since I was a teenager.
You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art performances today?
Well I live in New York City. There is legitimately something going on in this city at all hours every day. I can walk up the street from my studio and see a gigantic Jeff Koons Ballerina statue, or I can walk right out side my apartment and see a freshly painted box truck that has some dope graffiti on it. I try to get to as many Art Fairs as possible and also I try to attend my favorite artists solo shows when I can. I am truly lucky to have been able to call Manhattan my home the past 6 years.
How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? Id still be sitting behind a computer, worrying about my daily recap report I would have to email to my boss at 5:00 everyday. I would be trying to hit a quota making a company I was working for 10 times the amount I was being paid for an entire year. I don’t know, shit like that I guess?
some short questions now…
Colours: All of them
Describe your style: “Define yourself”… I am very chill, go with the flow
Define your art: I like to describe my art as contemporary, pop, urban art. A mix between classical oil paintings and aerosol can street art. I want to blend many different styles to create my own.
Art Fairs: Spectrum Art Fair! I have always been a fan of what Scope Art Fair and Context Art Fair bring to the table. I look forward to Art Basel Miami every year.
Museums: Museum of Modern Art, The Louvre, And The Guggenheim
Cities: New York, London, Miami, Paris, Honolulu
Artists: Kaws, Retna, MadSteez, Flore, Bradley Theodore, Producer BDB, Timmy Sneaks, Tripp Derrick Barnes, BK The Artist, Hebru Brantley, Jeff Koons, King Saladeen, Jenna Morello, Sean Sullivan, Daniel Allen Cohen, Spencer Mar Guilburt, Alec Monopoly… should I keep going?
Music: Bruce Springsteen, The Disco Biscuits, Bob Marley, Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Fabolous, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Action Bronson
Cars: Lamborghini Aventador, Subaru WRX
What are your next projects? I have A LOT on my plate. I just finished a project with Tommy Hilfiger. Be on the look out for a feature on yours truly going up on their blog early August. I will be doing the artwork for a couple restaurants down in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have an imminent project with the Empire State Building on the horizon. I will be having a piece featured in Asbury Park. I plan on doing a rather large 60×60 inch Springsteen piece. Various type of prints will be offered for that via my website.
I have big plans for Art Basel Miami in December. I will be partnering up with Imagine Lifestyles and painting a 2017 Lamborghini. Going to make that car super bright and beautiful and then drive it around the city for everyone to see and enjoy.
Those are just some of the exciting things. Only up from here!
Define Klassik Magazine for the audience? Awesome!
Jeremy Wolff @jwollfstudios