“I don’t worry about inspiration as much as system overload.”
— Dustin Yellin
Dustin Yellin (@dustinyellin) is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the founder and director of Pioneer Works, a multidisciplinary cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that builds community through the arts and sciences to create an open and inspired world. He and his incredible work have been featured by media and organizations including the New York Times, Artforum, Vanity Fair, and TED.
Drawing on both modernism and the sacred tradition of Hinterglas painting, Yellin primarily works through a unique form of three-dimensional photomontage, in which paint and images clipped from various print media are embedded within laminated glass sheets to form grand pictographic allegories, which Dustin calls “frozen cinema.” These totemic and kaleidoscopic works often plumb the history and fate of human consciousness within the Anthropocene.
Dustin’s art has been exhibited at or with the Amorepacific Museum, Brooklyn Museum, City Museum, Colección Solo, Corning Museum of Glass, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Museo Del Palacio de Bellas Artes, SCAD Museum of Art, Tacoma Museum, and Creative Time, among many others. He holds an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
P.S. See the slideshow below for some of his incredible work. All images are courtesy of the artist and are shared with permission.
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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Want to hear an episode with another artist/explorer who also believes in collaboration over competition? Be sure to listen to my conversation with David Yarrow in which we discuss breaching great white sharks, being spat on by John McEnroe, FIGJAM, ghost towns, capturing Diego Maradona in his element, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Dustin Yellin:
- New Zealand | Hitchwiki
- Led Zeppelin
- Pink Floyd
- Magic Mushrooms in Thailand | Jones Around the World
- Picasso Baby (A Performance Art Film) by Jay-Z | Universal Music
- Telluride, CO
- LSD (Acid) | Drugs.com
- Ketamine | Drugs.com
- Altered States | Prime Video
- Floating in the Dead Sea | DeadSea.com
- Sensory Deprivation Tank Benefits, Effects, and Risks | Medical News Today
- Handycam | Wikipedia
- Abstract Expressionism | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- BBar and Grill
- Spy Bar Reunion | Guest of a Guest
- Graham Duncan — Talent Is the Best Asset Class | The Tim Ferriss Show #362
- The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes
- The Crack-Up (Video) | Dustin Yellin
- The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Chelsea Piers Golf Club
- Belvedere Castle | Central Park Conservancy
- 13 Things to Know Before Visiting Bocas Del Toro, Panama | Hippie In Heels
- The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
- Dustin Yellin’s Art Factory in Brooklyn Aims to Be a Cultural Utopia | Vanity Fair
- Books by Tom Reiss
- Dustin Yellin’s Modern Community-Building | The New York Times
- Fitzcarraldo | Prime Video
- Bad Boy Bubby | Prime Video
- The Color of Pomegranates (English Subtitled) | Prime Video
- Being There | Prime Video
- Harold and Maude | Prime Video
- Sculpting in Time: Tarkovsky the Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses His Art by Andrey Tarkovsky
- Burden of Dreams | Prime Video
- Mania vs. Hypomania: What’s the Difference? | Healthline
- Sizzler Family Restaurants
- The Basics of LiDAR: Light Detection and Ranging | NSF NEON
- Psychogeographies | Dustin Yellin
- Terra Cotta Soldiers on the March | Smithsonian Magazine
- About Emperor Qin’s Terra Cotta Army | National Geographic
- Star Wars: The Real Reason Han Solo Was Frozen In Carbonite | Screen Rant
- Joseph Cornell: Pioneer of Assemblage Art | Royal Academy of Arts
- Neuroscience as Neuroart | American Scientist
- Alex Gendler: The Myth of Sisyphus | TED-Ed
- Brain Pickings
- The Tail End | Wait But Why
- The Test of a First-Rate Intelligence is the Ability to Hold Two Opposed Ideas in the Mind at the Same Time | Quote Investigator
- Imagine the End of the Oil Supertanker Era | Reuters
- How Arup Became the Go-To Firm for the Most Ambitious Projects of Our Time | Metropolis
Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.
- Why did self-described late-bloomer Dustin go hitchhiking around New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand after dropping out of high school, and what did it expose him to for the first time in his life?
- Where did Dustin get his entrepreneurial hustle?
- Who was the mad physicist Dustin met upon returning to Colorado from his travels abroad, and what did he learn from him?
- How did Dustin start creating his own art, and what has he gotten from the process? In what ways do science and art connect for him?
- How did Dustin’s Altered States-adjacent experiences in Colorado lead him to New York City, and how did he make ends meet once there?
- How Dustin’s natural hustle inspired marketing his art like “a plague” to turn it into a viable source of income over time.
- On The Crack-Up and Dustin’s need to rescue Zelda Fitzgerald.
- Was Dustin’s Crack-Up-documented psychotic break precipitated by something specific, and has he ever gone so far to the shore of chaos and psychosis that he’s scared himself?
- In Dustin’s estimation, what makes a good storyteller, and who does he consider to be outstanding in this field?
- Has Dustin found anything outside of hallucinogens to widen his mind’s aperture to perceiving more of the hidden world?
- How has Dustin been lucky enough to not only survive, but thrive while tapping into the sometimes life-threatening currents of chaos?
- What are the creative benefits of working from an anti-competitive angle, and what does this look like in the real world?
- Why doesn’t Dustin worry about finding inspiration — and what does he feel is a more valid concern?
- How does Dustin alleviate the effects of system overload?
- Dustin is a film buff. Here are some of his top recommendations.
- What is Pioneer Works, and how has it evolved over time to become what it is today?
- How did Dustin secure the massive funding needed to grow Pioneer Works beyond its “original shithole” beginnings?
- Dustin is a manic artist, but is he also a manic business manager? Maybe the secret is in thinking of Pioneer Works as a piece of art.
- What keeps Dustin tethered to the aim of progress — especially when he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed?
- How did Dustin make the transition from being an artist who would give away his art for “exposure” to an artist who can sell his art for enough to take everyone he knows to Sizzler thousands of times over?
- The three questions Dustin asks himself about any new piece of art he creates.
- What are psychogeographies, and what styles and trials led to their creation?
- What are some of the common mistakes Dustin sees aspiring artists making?
- What would Dustin do if he found himself and his studio suddenly bankrupt?
- Dustin describes his newest, almost-bankrupting creation: The Politics Of Eternity.
- Exploring how the death of one of Dustin’s mentors affected the course of his life, and what we might gain by examining our own thoughts on death.
- A question on the lighter side: how did Dustin end up dancing in a Jay-Z video?
- What would Dustin’s billboard say?
- What’s Dustin’s current project — involving a supertanker — about?
- What does Dustin see as the value in making a daily effort to wake up with a mental blank slate? Does he find it intimidating, overwhelming, invigorating, or something else?
- Parting thoughts.
- Jackie Yellin
- Adam Trombly
- Nikola Tesla
- Buckminster Fuller
- Pablo Neruda
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- William Hurt
- John Lilly
- Andy Warhol
- Pablo Picasso
- Henri Matisse
- Graham Duncan
- Zelda Fitzgerald
- Scott Fitzgerald
- Edmund Wilson
- Haruki Murakami
- Aldous Huxley
- Tom Reiss
- Werner Herzog
- Sergei Parajanov
- Hal Ashby
- Claude Chabrol
- Stanley Kubrick
- Andrey Tarkovsky
- Les Blank
- Gabriel Florenz
- Janna Levin
- Tommy Martinez
- Tiffanie Harris
- Daniel Kent
- Maria Popova
- Han Solo
- Agnes Martin
- Joseph Cornell
- Bjarke Ingels