016: Stephen Schubert – artist, polymath, movie buff, judo expert and specialist in neurogastronomy


I meet Stephen Schubert – a hugely accomplished artist, polymath, movie buff, judo expert and specialist in neurogastronomy. He started painting at the age of 33 – as Stephen describes in the interview, he literally woke up from a dream and pursued the creation of what he saw in that dream. The result was a fifteen year run of 3 dimensional birchwood wall sculptures which were exhibited in over forty-five galleries nationwide. Watch the interview or listen to the podcast to find out more about Stephen’s fascinating life and his love of creativity.

1:16 – Stephen’s background and the Japanese phrase that drives his philosophy.

2:05 – What “Kohan ni Shitagau” means to Stephen, literally translating to “follow the request.”

4:02 – Applying “follow the request” to life.

5:28 – Balancing the tensions in the life of an artist.

6:40 – Habits to help stay in touch with your own creativity.

7:38 – Being aware of the work of others as well as your own work to stay creative.

9:04 – Matthew and Stephen’s mutual friend whose creativity is always evolving.

9:46 – The importance of failures; David Whyte’s work of bringing humanity to corporations in Crossing the Unknown Sea and having self-compassion.

11:07 – Stephen’s view of motivation to create art as a journey of self-exploration.

12:54 – The surprise of caveman art in relation to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and what that means for creativity as a need for self-expression.

14:24 – Art as a mix of ability and channeling inspiration.

15:30 – “Tips For Artists Who Want To Sell” by John Baldessari in the Broad Museum and how that applies to channeling inspiration.

16:22 – What circumstances often lead to people being featured in museums and the cyclical nature of trends.

17:40 – Stephen’s interest in Jeff Koons’ career.

18:54 – The effect of art competitions on creativity and making art.

20:20 – Parallels between art and entrepreneurship; accepting criticism for both art and business approaches.

24:24 – Finding the “X-Factor” that works for you that helps you hit at the correct time and adapting for the times.

26:55 – Why intellectualism may not always appear to the mainstream as work and views of success.

28:32 – Moving away from the exchange economy and what that means for artists.

29:20 – Stephen’s current fascination for subjects in his abstract work and his view of feedback on his art.

32:22 – Stephen’s “Brush with Nature” project.

35:07 – The plans for and process behind the “Brush with Nature” project.

38:23 – “Green Towers” and the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser

39:45 – Moving away from every project needing to have a definable, commercial value; moving from scarcity to abundance mindsets

42:21 – Preparing for the different switches in life.

43:13 – Putting momentum behind purity in creation.

Resources and Links Mentioned:


Crossing the Unknown Sea by David Whyte

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell” by John Baldessari


Contagious by Jonah Berger

Friedensreich Hundertwasser