Every city has more than one story to tell and one face to show. Regardless of the artistic background, each place is full of inspiring individuals making its own culture and story. In Plus’s online initiative, ‘City Talks,’ we feature 10 creatives representing the designated city per season, asking contributors to share personal relatedness and building an engaging community that gives a sense of belonging.
The second season takes place in Los Angeles, and this week, we speak with Austyn Weiner. Weiner is a multimedia artist whose practice explores a duality of forces that are influential and abject to the subjective mind; romance, rejection, isolation, and performance.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Try to stop myself from overthinking, take my vitamins, grab a coffee, and head out into the world.
Where is your favorite (go-to) restaurant in LA? Why
I don’t eat out much. I love to order from Honey Hi in the studio, and when I get home, I like to cook. Oh, and the guilty pleasure of Erewhon, of course.
What are your ways of recharging/ taking breaks?
Evening walks in Atwater Village and along the LA river keep me grounded and reminded of why I love this (shitty) city so very much.
What kind of song are you into these days?
At the moment, I am into very long songs that take you on a journey from beginning to end. The three that come to mind are “Sinnerman” by Nina Simon, “Jubilee Street” by Nick Cave, and “The Shrine/ An Argument” by Fleet Foxes.
You studied photography in college, and can you explain how you eventually start painting?
During that time, digital photography became so readily accessible that it stopped being exciting to me. Darkrooms began closing, and I had little interest in the digital process. I started painting on top of old darkroom prints and eventually let the photograph go. When I moved out to LA, the light on the west coast pushed me further and further toward the medium of paint, and I haven’t looked back since.
In 2020, you transformed your car garage into a pop-up exhibition, which allowed people to engage with art in times of uncertainty and interact creatively without boundaries. I am curious to know if this is something you wish to explore more.
Putting that show on myself in my one-car garage was the most fruitful experience of my career thus far, and I have every intention of continuing to explore alternative modes of exhibiting and curating with no parameters.
Do you have control of every part of the process, rely on your intuition, or both?
It’s funny, I love to control, and yet I have developed a practice nearly entirely void of I think it is my way of dealing with the idea of control. Sometimes I begin with a concrete idea, and I do have control in that stage of the process, but I usually lose it shortly after. Eventually, the painting knows what it needs, and I become the passenger.
If you could have any artwork in your house, what would it be?
A 1970s Francis Bacon triptych would do it for me.
How would you describe the art scene in Los Angeles?
My impression of the LA art scene is vast and eclectic with a hard exterior but a surprisingly warm and welcoming openness. There is more room for experimentation and error here, and I think all artists need that.
What changes would you like to see in the art industry at large?
I would like the dynamics of the industry to become more in favor of the artist. Times have drastically changed since the gallery system was established, and while the role of the gallery remains essential, the artist is doing more for themselves in 2022 than ever before, and I think the current 50/50 split should reflect that.
Which three qualities in yourself are you most thankful for?
My quick emotional rebound rate, my insatiable appetite for every facet of life, and my ability to be hyper-focused in my pursuits but remain open-minded to all I do not know.
Listen to all the favorite songs picked by our City Talks contributors HERE.