I first met Justin Slattum at Portland’s Saturday Market back in September 2012 (read about it HERE.) I stopped at his booth, admired his paintings and exchanged a few pleasantries. I purchased 3 small prints cards which now sit at my writing desk and provide daily inspiration. After reading his interview, I am more grateful to have found his artist’s booth at the Market and am honored to have made his acquaintance.

Psychonaut Artist J. Slattum

Psychonaut Artist J. Slattum

1) At what age did you know you wanted to pursue art as a profession and who, if anyone was instrumental in helping you attain your goal?

When I was a young child, I knew I wanted to be an artist. Then I forgot. It wasn’t until a brush with death nearly 6 years ago that I had the personal enlightenment- pursue happiness. Along the way, not being formally-trained, I’ve reached out to some of my favorite successful artists. Gabe Leonard and Chet Zar continue to be great mentors to this day, sharing their knowledge of art and the business-side of it.

2) With my writing I usually get inspirational ideas and then lay them out without much planning (pantser by trade.) Where do your ideas for painting come from and do you put much thought into how it will look, or is it sketch and paint?

I’ve found that inspiration can be an elusive beast, like a cat, that only comes around when you’re not calling for it. For me, it’s a very Zen–like approach- here and now without trying. I’ve noticed it’s when I’m having fun that something shows up in sketch form… something that tells a story. From there I know what my next painting will be about. Then I spend several days planning the piece to tell my story as effectively as possible before I even begin painting.

3) We first crossed paths at Portland’s Saturday Market. Was that the first venue you publicly displayed/sold your art? If not, then where?

The Portland Saturday Market was my first attempt at being an artist full-time… and it worked. Before that, an artist part-time, I showed a few pieces down in Los Angeles with some small success.

4) You opened a gallery showing last fall. Describe how that felt? Any more gallery shows planned for 2013?

My first big solo show was titled “The Other Side- Chronicles of a Near-Death Experience”. It went better than I expected- sold over half the work and the turnout of support was overwhelming. It felt great.

As of now, I have yet to plan my next show. I’ve been blessed with enough social media exposure that I don’t need to rely on galleries to sell my work anymore. Most of my pieces sell through Facebook believe it or not! (And without the 50% gallery cut).

4) Away from work/painting, what’s your favorite free time de-stressor?

I love the outdoors. It’s a good way to get away yet also find inspiration for my work.  I often hike through the vast trails of the Pacific Northwest, especially the Columbia River Gorge. Sometimes I need to veg out too- give the gears a little break–I like playing old school Super Nintendo RPGs. Other than that, it’s hard to pull me out of my studio.

5) If you could meet one master artist from the past to offer one piece of advice/critique, who would that be and what would you tell him/her?

Da Vinci. I’d love to ask him from which source of inspiration he drinks. The man was pure genius, an inventor of all. Just to learn a fraction of his creative flow techniques would be an arsenal for any artist–no, person–to have.


Thanks Justin for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find his work at www.jslattum.com. He’s on FB and you can follow him HEREto see previews of his upcoming work. Sometimes there is a free giveaway, which is what we have here.

Simply leave a comment (with contact info…contest open until 2/7/13 and the winner will be announced 2/8) on this post and you’re entered to win the two 8 X 10 prints displayed.


“Forest Thinker”

"Root of Good Intention"

“Root of Good Intention”