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Meow Wolf’s Max Neutra: Made For Art

Meow Wolf’s Max Neutra: Made For Art

Today’s special guest is Meow Wolf’s own, Max Neutra. Before joining Meow Wolf, Max painted all over the world: in the catacombs beneath Paris, on the patio of a restaurant during a monsoon in Mumbai, on a rooftop in Madrid, and on the streets of Tokyo.

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Max, who is well known for his ongoing bunny street art project, a study of space and motion, a meditation on achieving balance, a pursuit of the perfect curve. Four years ago, Max became a full time artist at Meow Wolf.

“One of the things that made [Meow Wolf] a success was because they weren’t tying to fit in to an established scene that has a set of rules and regulations and ways to do it. They were making their own rules.” — @maxneutraart [0:39:00]

In this episode, we not only talk about all the cool things that Max has done, we also dive into the amazing multidisciplinary work he is doing with his fellow geniuses at Meow Wolf, headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Max Neutra with his bunnies.
Max Neutra with his bunnies.

During the course of our conversation, Max shares his continuous pursuit of a creative livelihood and the aha moment that made him realize that he needed to make being an artist his full-time job.

“If you say, ‘I want to be an artist,’ you might have an idea of what that means in your head, but if you say, ‘I want to be around creative people,’ the possibilities explode because creative people work in all sorts of ways.” — @maxneutraart [1:01:05]

We also touch on the importance of having faith in your vision, the role that storytelling plays in creating emotional connections, and the practical side of innovation, as well as how you can lead a creative life without becoming a “traditional artist,” plus so much more! Join us for this inspiring and uplifting conversation with the incredible Max Neutra.

“If you say, ‘I want to be an artist,’ you might have an idea of what that means in your head, but if you say, ‘I want to be around creative people,’ the possibilities explode because creative people work in all sorts of ways. You get shoe designers or architects or traditional painters or graphic designers or furniture [designers]. Creatives are all over the place; in TV and film and music. To get that message out to young people that are considering what they might want to pursue in college and beyond high school, to show them that you can have a creative life without needing to be a traditional painter. I think they think that being an artist means I draw for a living, and that’s not necessarily true.” — Max Neutra [1:01:05]

Meow Wolf's new building has a new sign. July 29, 2021.
Meow Wolf's new building has a new sign. July 29, 2021.
Meow Wolf Denver: Convergence Station. Sept. 13, 2021.
Meow Wolf Denver: Convergence Station. Sept. 13, 2021.
Meow Wolf Denver: Convergence Station. Sept. 13, 2021.
Meow Wolf Denver: Convergence Station. Sept. 13, 2021.

Key Points From This Max Neutra Episode:

  • How Max has been weathering the pandemic out in Santa Fe.
  • Insight into his upbringing and what led his family to Santa Fe in the first place.
  • What relation he has to prominent modernist architect, Richard Neutra.
  • Max shares a bit about his family and where he believes he inherited his creativity from.
  • Hear about his passion for music, which Max calls his first love.
  • The aha moment that led Max to realize that he needed to be creative for a living.
  • Find out how his pursuit of a creative livelihood as an artist unfolded from there.
  • How a six-week painting trip to India informed Max’s career as a live painter.
  • His transition from music to visual art and the achievement he felt in completing an album.
  • The multidisciplinary creative home that Max has found at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe.
  • The inspiring origin story of Meow Wolf and the new portal they’ve opened into the art world.
  • Why Max believes that it’s important to have faith and trust in your own vision.
  • Examples of the work that he loves doing for Meow Wolf; like figuring out how to communicate with sixth-dimensional swamp beings!
  • Max reflects on the practical side of innovation and how he was inspired by The Thing.
  • The important role that storytelling plays in our emotional connection with art.
  • How Meow Wolf has expanded into different cities and survived the pandemic.
  • Discover how Meow Wolf seeks to create a pipeline for younger talent.
  • Max emphasizes that you can live a creative life without being a “traditional artist.”
  • How Meow Wolf is the only B Corp in the arts and entertainment industry.
Max Neutra painting his beloved bunnies
Max Neutra painting his beloved bunnies

“It was in that moment that I went, ‘You need to be a creative person. That’s what you are already. You should figure out how to do that for a living, so you can be who you are for a living.’ That was the big moment for me.” — @maxneutraart [0:17:02]

“[I asked myself], ‘What are you built for? What would you be doing, whether you were paid or not? What comes out of you naturally?’ That’s when I realized, in that moment. I went, ‘You’re a creative guy. You make music. You like to draw.’ I was drawing all through high school. I was always drawing, I just never pursued it seriously. But it was in that moment that I went, ‘You need to be a creative person. That’s what you are already. You should figure out how to do that for a living, so you can be who you are for a living.’ That was the big moment for me.” — Max Neutra [0:16:41]

Lo-fi art by Max Neutra
Lo-fi art by Max Neutra

“Stories are important. They help us, as humans, connect emotionally to things.” — @maxneutraart [0:52:10]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.

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