Lindsey Whittle interviews Joe Leamanczyk

Can you briefly describe yourself and work?

I have a background in fine arts as well as interior design.  I typically do mixed media sculptural work that focuses on the human experience and authentic interaction as well as the tangible and ephemeral effects of such experiences.

How do you engage with the art community in Chicago?

I try to be a regular presence at the more obvious art happenings such as gallery openings and performances.  I also heavily use the Chicago Artist’s Resource website to find out about opportunities on the scene.

What makes you want to be an artist in this city vs. any other city?

I think Chicago has a nice combination of being a big metropolis while still having a somewhat human scale.  There is a fair amount of competition yet there is a nurturing spirit and plethora of opportunities for the beginning artist.

What do you recommend to someone that is thinking about trying to break into the Chicago art scene?

Again, I think it’s really important to have a presence in the gallery scene.  Go to openings and make yourself known to gallery owners.  Developing those relationships can give you the leading edge over a competitor.  Also make sure to understand why your work would fit at a certain gallery and communicate that to the owner.

Are there any places you think an artist living in Chicago needs to visit?

Obviously all the great museum collections in the city, but for me Chicago’s greatest resource is it’s diverse communities.  I like to walk around the different neighborhoods and take in the local culture.  I find this is a great source of inspiration for work.  In the end it’s all about the work.

What gets you into the creative zone?  Music?  Dancing?

Really great human interaction.  A wonderful conversation, or a new experience.  The not so wonderful ones can get me going just as much.

What is your greatest piece of advice you have to pass on (to anyone)?

Always be on the lookout for possible connections.  You never know when you will meet someone that can be a great resource in helping advance your work.  Also, get involved and network.

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