@ello x @scene360 :
Scott Listfield: Astronauts, and a Critical Look at Modern Society
As a child, Scott Listfield was promised a future filled with flying cars and robot companions. When those never materialized, he started creating art that captured his sense of alienation from the modern world.
His works often center around a featureless astronaut exploring a world filled with symbols of modern day life: McDonald’s signs, vintage cars, nuclear power plants. Sometimes funny, sometimes melancholy, Listfield’s work speaks to anyone who has felt at odds with popular culture or confused by the state of current affairs. Or anyone who just really likes astronauts.
Tell us a little about your fascination with outer space and/or astronauts … and/or dinosaurs.
Well, the first thing I can remember wanting to grow up to be, back when I was a kid, was an astronaut. That particular ambition faded over the years, probably having something to do with my track record of getting nauseous on even modest carnival rides. But I still grew up watching a ton of cartoons, TV shows, and movies which took place in Space. As a child of the 80s, I assumed I’d grow up into a future filled with flying cars, personal jetpacks, robot best friends, and weekend homes on the moon. Instead I ended up spending early adulthood in a tiny studio apartment, reheating Ramen noodles on a hotplate, taking the bus to work, and watching telenovelas in the local laundromat. It was around this time that I started thinking about making paintings about the world around me, which I felt somewhat alienated and removed from. I wanted to have a protagonist appear in each one. By chance, I watched “2001: A Space Odyssey” for the first time, and it immediately struck me that it was the astronaut from the fictional 21st century that I wanted to have roaming around in my paintings of the actual 21st century.
Also, I like dinosaurs. So I paint them sometimes.
What kinds of emotions or thoughts do you want your work to evoke?
This is an artsy fartsy answer, but I prefer to let people looking at my work respond to it however they want to. I mean, some of my paintings I deliberately try to make a bit funny, and some I try to make more somber, and some I keep the emotional tone a little more abstract. But if someone comes up to me (or, more likely, messages me on Instagram) and says “I think your work is so funny,” or “Your work is filled with so much meaning,” or “Dude, you painted Chewbacca!” I mean, those are all great in my book.