Although Max has always been a creative individual, it was painting live around Los Angeles that gave him his chops and developed his distinct style. Being discovered online by the right people brought him across India, France, and Spain, where he painted in front of many audiences, met many local artists, and continued to develop his own unique perspective. Now he spends most of his time in his home town of LA, painting with his friends, and working in his studio to create new work for galleries across the country. Having seen the art scene of several different cities in several different countries, he is proud to be from Los Angeles, and continues to enjoy being one of the city’s premier contemporary artists
1xRUN Thru Interview
Old Friends by Max Neutra
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this original piece, when was it created?
Max Neutra: The original was commissioned to help promote the Assassin’s Creed 3 video game and was auctioned for charity at a Rock The Vote event in October of 2012.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Max Neutra: My whole life. I painstakingly reenacted every step of the creation of this painting and have documented the entire process.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Max Neutra: I think it has a strong initial impact, but allows you to lose yourself in the details…
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Max Neutra: Because you like tomahawks. Because you are rebellious. Because it will look nice in your kitchen. Because it will get you laid.
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Max Neutra: tough.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Max Neutra: I’ve always been one of those creative types. Was drawing and painting since I was old enough to hold a brush. All of my schoolwork was covered in drawings. I was also into music since early on. I learned to play guitar, and later started producing electronic music, putting out a full length album called Automation Addiction in 2010.
As far as my first piece, if you want to go way back to age four, there were pieces called “Man peeing while playing the drum” and “Mouse in the house”. I think the first piece of real emotionally driven pure art that I created as an adult and at the beginning of my pursuit of becoming an artist was called “No Faith in Humanity”. It was a tormented face, drawn in black and white with ink. A response to being stuck behind a bus in traffic.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Max Neutra: Super early influences were the eerie drawings of Edward Gorey and the creative creatures of Dr. Seuss. Later on R. Crumb and Todd Mc Farlane came into the mix. Next was Ralph Steadman (illustrator for Hunter S. Thomson books, among other things) and Gerald Scarfe (animations from Pink Floyd’s The Wall). And finally Klimt and Egon Schiele.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Max Neutra: I think that there are so many mind bogglingly amazing artists doing things these days. My most recent discovery is Jeremy Geddes. I’m not usually into that kind of super clean and perfect painting, but his technique is immaculate, and his work has such a vibe to it. They bring up feelings in me that I usually only experience in dreams. I also have a special place in my heart for Skinner and his general amazingness. Zeloot for his colors and out there ideas. Let’s not forget the influence of my fellow LA artist friends. Maybe not a stylistic influence, but the camaraderie that comes from painting and growing with a group of artists is important. Michael Pukac, John Park, Mimi Yoon, Gregory Siff, Stephen Williams, L. Croskey, there are too many to list. I appreciate having them in my life.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Max Neutra: How many artists don’t listen to music when they paint!? Music has always been an important part of my life. I used to produce my own style of quirky retro electronic music using vintage noise toys and whatnot. It seems that I always have music going, no matter what I’m up to. My musical taste is across the board. As I write this I’m listening to Clark. I recently purchased the latest albums from Dirty Projectors and Rufus Wainwright (That’s right. I still pay for music. Don’t get me started.) Kate Bush. Nouvelle Vague. Tweak Bird. John Coltrane. Stan Getz. Jimmy Smith. Justice. Modern Jazz Quartet. One of my favorite albums to paint to is a little known record called The Days Of Mars by two artists named Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Max Neutra: This shifts for me depending on my mood, but lately I’ve been thinking about how fun it would be to do something with fellow LA artist Gregory Siff. We both seem to have similar philosophies about art and the process, and the fact that it would not be hard to make it a reality is appealing. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of collaborating with someone I don’t now. There are plenty of amazing artists out there, but unless we understand each other, it would be hard to get creative together. Of course, collaborating with someone like Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons would be fun because of giant the budget we would have to work with. I think another version of this question is “If you could hang out with any deceased artist…”. I’d want to hang out with Picasso. He seems like he might have been a fun guy to be around.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Max Neutra: Tough one. Does that Wolverine poster I bought in Junior High count? Still have it. The last piece was a penguin from Walt Hall.
1xRun: What else have you been up to and else do you have in the works?
Max Neutra: I’ve got my nose to the grindstone for my upcoming show at Cave Gallery on Jan 12th. It’s called New Tongues. In the show we will be exploring the way two people in strained communication will create a new language that is unique to their particular circumstance. The way heightened receptivity is a byproduct of creating these new languages. The way we are inventing new dialects as we gain increased access to each other through new technologies. The way a foreign culture can simultaneously repel and seduce. The way a written word of unknown meaning can hold aesthetic value. The way a touch of the unknown can add allure to an otherwise familiar object or situation. The way the mysterious can inspire. Basically, it will be a bunch of big new awesome paintings on wood.
1xRun: Anything else you would like to add?
Max Neutra: Anyone want to adopt an amazing dog? I have been fostering Buddy for a couple weeks and have been trying to find him a home. I bring him to the studio with me during the day, so he is rarely left alone. He’s an awesome dog, well behaved, responds well to treats and training, does not bark at my neighbors barking dogs, etc. Turns out we can’t keep him because of my wife’s allergies, as well as the fact that our house is not quite right for a dog (light colored wall to wall carpet picking up dust and dirt) and our neighborhood sucks to walk dogs in (lots of traffic, no sidewalks, garbage, shitty people). Interesting how it took a dog to get us to tune into our neighborhood enough to notice these things. Too bad. It’s not Buddy’s fault we can’t keep him, it this environment. So I am trying to help find him a new home. He’s such a good looking and smart dog, I feel like he could be in show business! He’s been microchipped, neutered, shots, the works. Lab/terrier/wolfhound? mix. He goes into hound mode regularly and follows mysterious scent trails. 11 months. 45 pounds. He’s very well house trained, and is crate trained as well. He’s a dream. If you know anybody interested in having a new furry friend, please let me know! Here’s a link to some awesome pictures of him here.