Interview with Scott Listfield


Scott Listfield (b. 1976, Boston, MA) is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos, and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references. Scott studied art at Dartmouth College, for which his parents have finally forgiven him. After some time spent abroad, Scott returned to America where, a little bit before the year 2001, he began painting astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs.

Scott has been profiled in Wired Magazine, the Boston Globe, and on WBZ-TV Boston. His work has also appeared in New American Paintings and Surface Magazine. In 2010 he was named a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant finalist, and was the official artist of 2011 Boston First Night. He has exhibited his work in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, and many other nice places.






Hi Scott, can you tell Music On Walls why you chose to create artworks inspired by music? 

Well, sometimes it's for a specific gallery show, for instance Robot Rock was for a Daft Punk themed show at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco. And sometimes it's because the music reminds me of a specific time, or of a specific place, or maybe both. I made the three London pieces for my first show in that city, and I kind of wanted to revisit the 90's, which is when I first started painting, when I was semi-obsessed with British culture, and when a large part of the soundtrack of my life was Britpop. It was very influential to me early in my art career, and I wanted to go back to it for a series of works which all take place in a sort of alternative version of London, trapped forever in the 90's.




What are your favorites songs of theses musicians?

Oh boy. In no order whatsoever, "Karmacoma" by Massive Attack, "Dirty Epic" by Underworld, "Girls and Boys" by Blur, and let's go with "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk.

You did many artworks representing David Bowie, Music On Walls has selected three of them. Could you tell us more about your relationship with David Bowie’s music?

Well, jeez, he sings about Starmen and astronauts. It'd be hard for him to be any more in my wheelhouse. On top of that, Bowie is for me (like a ton of other people), an artist I've gone back to again and again at different points in my life. Each time discovering new albums and new songs that I didn't know. He had so many different phases, different personas, different careers. And I feel like I've had a different relationship with him as a teenager, as a college student, as a young artist, and now as a, let's say 'more mature' artist, even though I'm not actually all that mature. But his songs remind me of the different phases in my own life. And look, I like a lot of popular music, some of it good, some of it kind of terrible. The word 'artist' gets thrown around a lot, and in most cases it's a little overstated. But Bowie? He's without doubt one of the great artists of our time.


What are your favorites songs of Bowie?

There are so many. Once again, in no particular order: "Young Americans", "Heroes", "Fame", "Starman", "Golden Years", "Moonage Daydream", and "Queen Bitch".

Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today?

Oh, I try not to pick favorites. I did enjoy the entire London series because it allowed me to revisit a time and place in my life and tell a bit of a story. I also got to dive back into a lot of music I hadn't listened to in a very long time. And I liked painting the Man Who Fell To Earth, which is an idea I'd had kicking around in my head for a while. I really enjoyed considering the possibility that David Bowie might have visited Earth centuries ago and had his likeness captured by the sculptors of Easter Island.

Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?

Well I've always loved listening to music, and I've also always listened to music while I've painted. So it's become an integral part of my creative process. I definitely notice an extra bounce in my step in the studio when I've got some new music to listen to.

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians?

Not as of right now, but I've got a bunch of paintings I'll be making in the coming year, so I wouldn't be surprised if something musical slips in there somewhere.

Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?

Sure, all my paintings are in oil paint on canvas. They tend to take between a couple of days and a couple of weeks, depending on the size and how much time I have in the studio. These days I'm painting full time, so I can get a decent amount of work done in a relatively short time.

Do you listen to music when your working? If so, what is the kind of music you would listen to?

Yeah, I'm almost always listening to music while I work. Although these days I sometimes listen to podcasts as well. I've been feeling kind of old lately. I'm having a harder time finding new music I like, and some of the sites and apps I used to use to listen to and discover music have sadly gone the way of the dinosaurs, and I haven't found replacements I especially like. My musical tastes are a bit varied, but I'd describe them as “85% Aging hipster, 10% un-ironic appreciation for 70's soft rock, and 5% New Jack Swing.”

What is the song you liked the most lately? 

Hmmmmm. Not sure I cant pick just one song, but here's a few. 'Strange Pleasures' by Still Corners, 'FML' by K. Flay, 'Over When You Die' by Dada Plan, 'Notice Me' by Deep Sea Diver, 'The Other Side' by Nvdes and 'Heart to Heart' by Kenny Loggins.

Are you a musician yourself? 

Oh goodness no. I can barely tap my foot in time with music. It's complete wizardry to me.







Watch this video interview to get an inside look into Scott’s work and how he got started on Fine Art America.