It’s no revelation that success is the sum of preparation and opportunity, yet it’s always inspiring to witness the philosophy in action. On today’s podcast episode, San Diego-based painter Ezra Brown joins host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power to chat about the power of perseverance in an oversaturated industry.
“I’m a late bloomer,” says Ezra, who dropped his day job during the pandemic to focus on a career in fine art. “I’ve been [painting] for such a long time, and I had been waiting for my opportunity to hit,” he tells Scott, adding, “In this day and age, you’ve got to do what makes you happy.”
Ironically, Ezra’s signature character, a vintage-style cartoon called Happy the Clown, is anything but. Starring as the protagonist in Ezra’s recent show at LA’s ThinkSpace Projects, Trying to Keep It Together, Happy drinks, smokes, and cries as his house burns, his soul leaves his body, and his girlfriend leaves him. Like many artists before him, Ezra encourages viewers to access and cope with their own emotions as he puts Happy through the wringer. “I’m tired of the norm … just watching art on a wall, walking away from it, having a drink, and forgetting about it,” Ezra says. “I’m creating an experience that somebody’s going to remember and talk about for the rest of their life.”
In the episode, Scott and Ezra chat about humanizing classic iconography to access raw emotions. They also cover the pitfalls of parenthood, the dangers of social media, and Ezra’s recent collaboration with collectible toy company Tenacious Toys. Tune in to the episode below to hear about Ezra’s creative success, and the dedication it took to get there. “You have to make those sacrifices,” he says, “and put in the extra work.”