Getting to Know You: Jeff Glozzy, Visual Artist

As an established visual artist and budding entrepreneur, Jeff Glozzy has overcome many obstacles in the pursuit of making his dream career into a reality, not the least of which were the rigid expectations imposed on him by his family.

As an established visual artist and budding entrepreneur, Jeff Glozzy has overcome many obstacles in the pursuit of making his dream career into a reality, not the least of which were the rigid expectations imposed on him by his family.

Initially entering the professional world as a sales official, Jeff never felt quite comfortable in the vocation. Though he spent a decade dutifully selling products and services in order to provide for his loved ones, he always harbored a great passion for the arts, both as a creator and an appreciator, and mentally planned for the day he could leave the sales field to become a professional artist—something he always considered to be his true calling.

Originally from Norfolk, Massachusetts, Jeff Glozzy began his post-secondary education studying at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Following that, Jeff was enrolled in a program of Arts Education at Boston University, graduating with a Master’s degree and earning recognition as a Constantin Alajalov Scholar, which is an honor given only to arts students who demonstrate exceptional work. However, even in spite of the credentials and accolades he earned in school, there were still those who believed his gifts as an artist would not provide him with the foundation for a successful career. With a heavy heart, Jeff agreed to set his dream aside in order to earn money and establish himself as a salesperson.

Now, more than ten years later, Jeff has broken free from his previous career and put all his efforts into becoming a confrontation artist. Primarily based on Instagram, he has recently debuted a series of his artistic creations to great acclaim. As a testament to this, he has gained an online following of thousands within only a few short months. Alongside his art, his Instagram account features mini-reels of video footage where he demonstrates, among other things, his pencil design techniques in real time, giving his followers a glimpse into his creative process.

These days, Jeff Glozzy is immersed in the task of building and displaying his library of images, where collectors of unique artwork can browse his oeuvre and purchase his work.

What do you currently do during your workday?

My daily activities include creating images, specifically pencil drawings, which are personally inspirational, and then selecting the appropriate venue to market them. I’m also currently in the process of creating artwork to build a library of images that people can browse. I’ve created a wide variety of art that is both unique and personal. But I’m not interested in creating art as a product or pandering to a specific audience. I’m not out to impress anyone. I create for myself. I create art that I genuinely care about, and I have a lot of faith that others will see my passion shine through in my work. So, that’s my overall approach; to create art which I genuinely believe in and hope that it resonates with other people as I make it available in the marketplace. To be honest, I’m still in the initial stages of developing my business side of my art career, but I have a lot of imagery already, some of which I made while I was honing my craft in school and building my early portfolio. Although I’ve created a lot of other pieces lately, the first images I’ve presented to the public are from the past.

Regarding my more current creations, I’m focusing more on art that contains a message. Although I’m not politically inclined, my art tends to incorporate political elements, some of which can be a bit dark. I often see people as reacting to situations emotionally rather than acting as adults—without demonstrating any kind of calm or flexibility. I’ve been using that observation to guide my work. In doing so, I’m pointing a finger at the ridiculousness inherent to both sides of the political spectrum. I call myself a confrontational artist, and confrontational artists create art which is thought-provoking, challenging, and meant to address important social issues.

Additionally, although I still create a lot of pencil drawings, I use a unique coloring process that I have not yet shared with others. I also make a lot of time-lapse videos so people can see the process of exactly how I create my work. In short, I spend my workdays creating new pieces to build my library, trying to improve its visibility, and determining which platforms are best to use to sell my art.

What is the inspiration behind becoming an artist?

I want to harness my talents to create artwork that inspires people. I feel a responsibility to help society in some way, and this is the way I’ve chosen. Most people are just interested in drowning out all the noise in society and keeping their heads down, making money for themselves and for their family. I respect that, but I want to both support my family and pursue my artistic endeavors. I have a lot of ideas, and I feel a responsibility to share those ideas with the public. At the very least, I’m doing what I feel is the responsible thing to do with my gifts. Naturally, I want to have a sustainable business, but more importantly, I want my art to speak to people in challenging and thought-provoking ways, and to prompt them to think a little more critically about certain issues. The first job of any piece of art is to make a compelling image that’s engaging enough for people to absorb the message.

What are the keys to being productive that you can share?

I think the main key to being productive is to believe in what you are doing. In my own case, I need to understand what the end result of my work is meant to accomplish. Upon embarking on a new work of art, I always ask myself the question: “Is this piece going to help people? Is it going to benefit people? And is it going to be exciting for me as an artist?” The real key to being productive is to have a genuine passion for the project—to care about it.

What is the long-term goal for your career?

My long-term goal is to engage as many people as possible with my art.

How do you measure success?

As a new entrepreneur and an artist, I primarily measure my success based on the feedback I get from my customers. Beyond that, I pay attention to whatever metrics I have at my disposal. These days, I’m exclusively operating through Instagram, so tracking when and what I post on social media down to the time and date and then gauging the visibility of those posts is critical. I’m trying to better understand when to post and what to post, and that data is the best indication. Right now, it’s difficult for me to say which piece of art or which social media post constitutes a success. That will change later, of course, but for now, I’m following my passion and using my gift. I consider that to be the real success.

What advice would you give to other artists who are just starting out in their careers?

A really successful artist has to be enthusiastic and have strong convictions. You also have to be a very discerning person. The best artistic inspiration comes from self-exploration, as do the deepest concepts. Ideas always come from experimentation or from a place of really deep thinking—it’s just a unique process that each artist has to create for themselves. Successful artists have to know themselves first in order to create poignant work, and truly knowing yourself is the hardest thing for a human being to do. You have to be vulnerable enough to ask yourself questions about who you really are. It is an ongoing exploration, and we’re all at various stages of growth. But my advice to all aspiring artists is to become thoroughly acquainted with themselves.

How do you keep a solid work life balance?

I work as hard as I can. I do as much work as I can physically and mentally take in a day and then I stop. That system seems to be working out for me so far.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

Family is everything to me. Sharing time with my children is so enriching. They’re just a lot of fun, and nothing else really matters to me as much as their happiness. Working from my studio provides the opportunity to focus a lot of my attention on them, and I’m really grateful for that.

What is a piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

The internet is critical to my daily routine. I use it to scan my drawings, and then I augment them by coloring them digitally. Sometimes I’ll also add drawn elements digitally with my iPad. I use some digital art-based technology on occasion, as well as Photoshop.

Who has been a role model to you? And why?

A lot of my role models don’t come from the world of the visual arts, believe it or not. Many of the people I derive inspiration from are musicians or entertainers. Right now, I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, who was the lead singer for the Sex Pistols. I’ve listened to all his music, and I think he encapsulates the most important qualities for an artist to have, which are brutal honesty and directness. He’s also not afraid to change his opinions. He explains himself to no one if he changes his opinion on an issue. I respect that. But what I appreciate most is his raw honesty.

What is one piece of advice you have never forgotten?

There are so many pieces of good advice I’ve been given over the years, but I think one in particular is important to keep in mind when performing a self-examination regarding mental health. It’s an old proverb called ‘The Bad Brick in the Wall,’ and it goes like this:

A Buddhist monk is building a brick wall. When he’s finally done, he looks at it, and it’s perfect, except for one brick on one side of the wall that’s just a little crooked. It quickly becomes the only thing on which he can focus. Before long, he comes to believe that he should just rip the whole wall down so he can fix that one brick, until somebody comes by and looks at the wall and says, “My god, did you make that?” And the monk says, “Yes, I built this wall, but can’t you see that one crooked brick?” The passer-by replies, “Yes, I can see that, but I can also see all the other bricks are perfect.” The monk then realizes he has been focusing exclusively on that one crooked brick, and that the passer-by is right—every other brick is immaculate and perfect. But, due to his fixation, the monk did not even recognize how wonderful his wall actually is.

Overall, this proverb is about appreciating the things that we do that are good, and not becoming preoccupied by the things we do that aren’t right. We have to embrace our imperfections rather than obsess over correcting them.