Neoteric Art is 10 years old: an interview with Norbert Marszalek


Q: Let’s start with the basics – what is Neoteric Art?

A: Neoteric Art is an online art magazine. In 2006 I was writing for another online art magazine—getting my feet wet. After a while I came to realize that the issues that were important to me concerning the art scene were not being addressed. Another artist, William Dolan, whom I befriended while doing research for an article, was feeling the same way. After much deliberation we decided to make our own statement and started Neoteric Art in 2008 and have not looked back.

Neoteric Art Co-Founders: Norbert Marszalek and William Dolan

Q: What kind of content do you feature?

A: We focus on the visual arts. The original intent of Neoteric Art was to give emerging artists a voice and platform. Over the years we broadened our scope to include gallerist, curators, authors and a wide range of others who are affiliated with the visual arts. Our content varies from articles, essays, interviews, and reviews to more unique features like “One Question”, “The Art Gossiper”, and “The Spotlight Project.” I am also curating a couple of ongoing projects, “What Is Painting?” and “What Is Drawing?

Q: 10 years is a long time. How many interviews and reviews have you published in that time?

A: Yes, 10 years is a long time. Neoteric has published over 125 interviews and reviews and over 100 articles and essays. We have posted over 400 items total.

Q: That’s really impressive. How do you find your subjects?

A: Being in Chicago we didn’t have to look too far. There are plenty of talented people here that deserve more recognition. We also find people online and mostly through social media. Some legwork is involved but Facebook and Instagram make connecting very easy and accessible. The most rewarding experience is when a subject turns into a regular contributor. Without our hardworking and selfless contributors, Neoteric would not be what it is. There are and have been so many contributors over the years but I would especially like to thank (pictured clockwise below) Matthew Ballou, Diane Thodas, Bruce Thorn, Dmitry Samarov, Michael Hopkins, David Richards, Derek Guthrie, and Vicki Schneider.

Neoteric contributors (pictured clockwise): Matthew Ballou, Diane Thodas, Bruce Thorn, Dmitry Samarov, Michael Hopkins, David Richards, Derek Guthrie, and Vicki Schneider

Q: You’re also a painter and a sculptor. Has this project changed the way you work, and if so how?

A: Neoteric has given me the privilege to interact with people that in other ways would not have been possible. It’s an ice breaker of some sorts. I am able to contact people knowing that I can offer them a platform to get their work or voice seen. And real friendships have formed along the way. So I would say yes, Neoteric has changed the way I work over the years just due to the fact that I get to be around so many different types of talented people—things seep in!

Q: Do those changes show up in your work? Your painting vocabulary was pretty developed when you started.

A: I believe those changes have shown up in my work and process. For example, my current body of work titled “Early Tea” not only deals with childhood memories and the passing of time but it’s also about investigating the way I paint and asking the question, “What Is Painting?” It’s a tall order. To help guide my way I started the Neoteric curatorial project, “What Is Painting?” and to date have gotten over 50 artists to answer that simple yet complex question. And through discussions I’ve had with artist peers that I met through Neoteric I have expanded on “Early Tea” by creating found object sculptures. I want to keep adding to my painting and overall visual art vocabulary. I never want to be static.

CrutchTotem_final copy
Norbert Marszalek, Crutch Totem, from the Early Tea series, chair, teacups, saucers, epoxy, 38” x 19” x 18.5”

Q: “What is Painting?” is a pretty big question. What insights have come from this question?

A: Many but the biggest insight for me is that each artist looks at painting differently. Each artist has their own set of rules … their own processes. I have learned that there is no right or wrong approach to painting.

Q: Have you noticed any trends in the last 10 years?

A: Social media has definitely changed the landscape during the last 10 years. For instance, it’s much easier now for artists to promote their own work and events. And we are way more accessible to each other through social media. Also, I like all the project spaces that are popping up. A lot of these spaces have been created by artists. Kudos to them!

Q: There’s a lot of art criticism out there. Does Neoteric have a niche?

A: It was never our aim to have Neoteric compete with all the substantive art criticism that is out there though we are proud of all the reviews we have posted over the years. Recently we have partnered with the New Art Examiner. The NAE is known for their in depth and cutting edge art criticism. We will repost some of their content and I will be writing essays and reviews for them. Our niche is still about our original intent: giving emerging artists a voice
and platform.


Q: Ten years ago “objective” painting wasn’t as dominant as it is now. Now we see a lot more of it. Do you think that’s a result of just seeing more of what’s out there, or is it more popular than “non-objective” painting.

A: I don’t know if I see more “objective” painting now than I did 10 years ago. It’s difficult to keep up with the ebbing and flowing of the art scene. I do recall an article back in 2014 by Jerry Saltz about “Zombie Formalism” which was all about the cannibalism of current “non-objective” painting. Visiting galleries here in Chicago over the years, I never felt that there was a dominant style or genre. Plus I never follow trends regarding my own work so what’s “popular” isn’t important to me.

Q: So what’s your plan for the next 10 years?

A: Regarding Neoteric, there were plenty of times during the last 10 years that I just wanted to quit—shut the site down. And who knows why? I can’t even remember the reasons now. I do realize that 10 years is an accomplishment and I’d like to give a big thanks to William Dolan and all our contributors. I am truly grateful. We have some new and exciting features planned so my goal for the coming years is to enjoy the ride. On a side note I’m also thinking of starting a podcast called “No Bunk Art Talk.”

Norbert Marszalek is an artist, writer, and co-founder of Neoteric Art. He was born in Chicago and received a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University and has also studied at the American Academy of Art and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

His paintings, works on paper, and sculpture have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States, including the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles; the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque; the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago. Marszalek also has work in numerous permanent collections including the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Iowa.

William Dolan is an artist working in Chicago. His subject has been the city, and the elements of it which lend credibility to the slogan “The City That Works.”

His style is loose without being sloppy, humble, and loaded with respect for the rough beauty of his home city. His artist’s statement follows at the bottom of this post. You can read some of William’s art criticism at Neoteric Art, the website he runs with painter Norbert Marszalek.