We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnathan Herzberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnathan, how do you think about risk?
When confronted with this question about risk I thought that it would be fairly straightforward in terms of explanation but as I started to really dig into it, I realized that risk is very complex because it is such a personal thing. What I view as a risky choice at any given time or under any influence may be an easy decision for someone else. It can be incredibly subjective. How do you value what is being gained or lost? Just like everyone else I have gained and lost from taking risks. Anything from launching off ramps on my mountain bike to putting my artwork out there for the world to judge. I have had glorious days of lots of high-speed fun and I have had bad crashes that put me out for months. I have had friends, family and strangers respond with warmth and positivity to some of my paintings and I have received rejection and insincerity as well. One of the more difficult risks to take in regards to my work is when I know I’m close to done with a project but It’s just not right yet and I have to make the choice to take another step either adding or taking away paint. There is always the potential that whatever I do will completely ruin the work and I will have to start over. Although that’s part of the fun and at the end of the day I view risk as a positive force because the reward is so much better when you are willing to give something up to get it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an abstract painter with some exceptions. I am heavily influenced by the outdoors. This theme shows up over and over in my paintings and in a few cases the work is more of a landscape than an abstract. I really enjoy painting in a way that allows as much freedom from my inner critic as possible. I aim to continue a painting and go with whatever I feel in the moment until it suddenly strikes me as complete. One of my goals as an artist has been to work on a larger scale and slowly but surely I am moving up. I believe I am where I am today simply because I continued to try. I haven’t made large strides but I slowly gain foundation so that I can build something I’m truly proud of. At the core of it I enjoy what I do and I hope to show others that art is for everyone to create. Go make something!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to one (or all) of the local breweries. Eureka heights has a really fun bike ride bar tour. 8th wonder brewery and St. Arnold’s brewery are among the others that we would visit. There are enough music venues in Houston that there is bound to be some live music we would have to see. We would probably go for a trail ride on some of the local mountain bike trails like The Anthills, Memorial park, New Territory(Sugarland), and Cypress Creek. It’s pretty much a requirement when visiting Houston to visit NASA. We would spend one of the days exploring the museum district. I’d have to take them exploring downtown because there are so many good places to eat and drink, and who doesn’t love a little adventure?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents have been there since day one and I don’t take that for granted. They have always provided me opportunities to explore and they are a big reason that I paint today. Putting yourself out there for everyone to judge is not easy and my friends and family have always been there to make it seem a little less risky. From the words of encouragement to the random conversations about art, I love you all. Thank you. I would also like to recognize Agora Gallery because they provided an incredible experience when showing my work and even helped me to my first big art sale. I would recommend them to anyone.