Interview with Kent Youngstrom, an Artist, but not the Tortured Kind.



Maybe it’s because he’s from Chicago (my hometown) and still a loyal sports fan … or, maybe it’s because his art gives me and many others the tingles … or, maybe it’s his soul and spiritual strength …

I know! Maybe it’s because his words are as seductive as his paintings.

I could go on and on about Kent and why we’re all enamored with him and his work.

Rather, I’d like to let mythology and archetypes do some of the talking.

There are two “son” of God figures that Kent brought to mind when I read the answers he sent back for this interview.

The first is the Son of God, miracle healer, wise one, savior known as Jesus.

The second is the ancient Greek Son of Zeus, Apollo, who is actually the sun as he rides his great chariot across the sky each day.


Both figures are healers. Jesus heals with his hands and faith in his Father. Apollo heals through art, music and all things harmonious.

Apollo is also the ancient deity connected with the Olympics, the Olympians. All things athletic and the discipline of practice that it takes to become one of the greats.

Kent is one of those Apollonian types who will tell you to get your butt off the couch and into the studio or the gym.

Still, he has a deeper message to share with us about how to BE something.

Let the interview begin …

1. Who were your favorite characters from stories, myths, films, etc when you were growing up? and Why did you love them?

the question takes me back to like, forever ago. i was a typical boy admiring sports hero’s from chicago teams. most of my time was spent in the back yard dreaming up scenarios where i was the hero by hitting a home run in the world series or throwing a touchdown pass in the super bowl. we were not a movie going or top 40 music listening family. i fail miserably at movie trivia or name that tune. star wars was cool, but unlike most of my friends i did not have figures, bed sheets or a storm trooper t-shirt.

i did read a lot however and seemed to always gravitate toward the common boy doing good stories. stories like homer price where he stumbles upon a donut making machine or creates the worlds largest ball of string. encyclopedia brown who as a kid detective solves neighborhood bullying crimes. i devoured my dads hardy boys book collection.

my hero’s were not always the stars, but those who did the work behind the scenes or maybe didn’t seem like hero’s at first glance. walter payton was the best football player on the planet at the time, but he didn’t have to let you know that with his words. to me that was the coolest thing ever.

2. You’re an artist, but not the “tortured kind.” Love that! And now you’re an author! Congrats on your book release.

It’s easy to be tortured as an entrepreneur when we have to wear so many hats. I’ve had my moments. When was one memorable moment that you lost your sh*t and had to recenter yourself?

Jumping Kent with Book

like this week? or in the past. in addition to an entrepreneur like most of us i have other obligations. i am also a husband, a dad, and a soccer coach as well as the artist dude. so there is always a list of things to do. it seems a constant battle to keep myself centered. the question takes me back to when i first started this whole art thing as a full time gig and all the things i thought i had to do before 10 am.

my brain would run laps. . . kind of like this.

crud. i know people swoon when they see my work. i know they stop and breathe heavy. like it takes their breathe away. even for a moment.

but i don’t know what to do. where to start. how much to sell it for. where to sell it. how to present it.

i should be on television. the stuff i see on home and garden television is awful at best. most of the things i see there i was doing three years ago. those b#$(&’s wanted me to be more lively on the casting video i submitted. screw them. i’m going to take over the world and they will come crawling back to me to host one of their stupid shows.

all i need to do is get my work in target. how can i do that? if people see my work in target i’ll soon be signing autographs and snapping photos with stay at home mom’s at random locations.

or maybe i could partner with someone famous. famous people should like my work too. then all of their famous friends will buy my work. then i’ll be famous. too famous for target even.

but it’s wednesday. and wednesday night i have soccer practice with the kids. then i pick up my daughter from her special cross country event. and she just told me she needs her uniform washed. plus i need jeans washed for saturday night. i don’t think we have any milk. this light is taking forever to turn green. tomorrow i’m meeting the window guy to fix the rot on the back windows at the house + then have to swing quickly to the studio to meet the electrician who is fixing the overhead lights i can’t seem to figure out.

do famous people meet electricians? wait. my work isn’t in target yet. i don’t know anyone who even works at target. where are their headquarters? who buys their art anyway? how would i print like ten thousand paintings? are those printed in china? which painting should i sell them.

aaarghh. i just want to paint and have people pay me so i can be what i soooo want to be. what i know i am meant to be.

i just want to be/ an artist.

this was my everyday rant to myself about what i should be doing to become a full time artist. if you are like me, you may have had similar battles within your own head. or maybe a friend. or maybe an imaginary friend.

3. Tell us about your book be something. if you want to make something.


be something. if you want to make something, is a pop top energy drink spiked with caffeine laden words that are calming to the soul, while at the same time capable of spurring volcanic eruptions of energy and frenzied moments of accomplishment

be something. if you want to make something encourages makers to stay in the moment and allow ingenuity to be the pace car. each short blurb hands over an uncooked account of an artists rocket fuel fast, can’t stop, won’t stop lucky, sometimes mixed martial arts bloodied adventure. it humorously highlights the speed bumps that were approached way too fast and encourages the reader to push past the exit ramps desperately calling for companionship and accelerate toward the reward on the horizon.

the book runs over the big scary words of the business world like “copyright” and “business plan” and spits out what makes real sense in the life of doing more of what you love for a living.

pull back the tab and sip a bit . . .

i’m hoping at least one reader will be inspired to finally open a cup cake shop and give me a lifetime of free cupcakes when they reach mega super star status. cupcakes are my kryptonite. in fact – i think that’s a killer name. use it – kryptonite cupcakes. that one’s free.

4. What’s your personal mantra?

be. surprisingly more than expected.

5. Tell us more about what’s coming up for you.


what is coming up for me?

my wife nicole + i have two kids in high school, so i have no idea what is coming up for me. ha.

on the art side of things i am always attempting new collaborations with people + companies i admire. (which to be honest can be few and far between at times) so i have a few things i am really excited about that i will leave you hanging on. think attempting a fist bump while the other person just walks right by.

i am also stoked about the release of be something and seeing who may be inspired to start something new. with that i am running a challenge group which will explore 5 chapters of the book and cannon ball off the high dive into being what they are meant to be.

if you can give me five days, i’ll teach you to be.

be the person who sells what you make.

the person who pushes backed from the table of i really should and runs to the big kings chair at the feast of i am, where everyone passes casseroles of praise and sides of cash your way.

the excitement unravels june 13 – 17.

sign up for my be. a part of your start challenge and get five days of energy drink swigs to jump start your creative business.


alllll week long, i’ll deliver tips and tricks to run over the big scary business world you always thought you needed to conquer before you even started.

plus, i’ve gathered a few special guests to pop in + rev your engine a time or two.

I just joined his be. a part of your start challenge Facebook group and getting ready to read his new book, be something. if you want to make something. Join me?

[button url=””]CLICK HERE IF YOU’RE IN … BE SOMETHING![/button]

Kent’s Story

tumblr_inline_mu5c5vlh8v1qb1ce9have you ever gotten completely + totally lost?

maybe in the pages of your all-time favorite book. maybe in your daughter’s tangled hair perhaps in a kiss, or in a vow.

we all want to ‘get lost.’ we crave it. we need it.

and the busier life gets, the more we forget how to do it. i’m a lucky guy, because I’ve found my own way to get lost … every day.

all I have to do is pick up a brush, stop thinking, start feeling … and paint.

owning a piece of my art probably won’t ‘change your life. but it might make you pause, breathe, smile and remember to get lost … just a little more often.

the backstory

i started painting several years ago, in design school, without any big plans or ambitions. it was hard, unpredictable, time-consuming — and the best thing ever. by the end of day one, i was hooked.

one gallery show led to another, and before long i was selling paintings to friends, family + a handful of local fans.

local sales turned into national sales. national sales turned into licensing deals. bulk orders from CB2 came knocking, along with flash sales at, pops-ups in people magazine — and flattering attention from a couple of those ‘home makeover’ reality tv shows.

one day, i woke up and realized, “huh … guess I’m a full-time artist, now.”

i grinned. and then put brush to canvas again.

the nowstory

i live in north carolina with my (amazing) family.

i wake up at 5am most mornings, work out, whirl the kids off to school, check my computer for new orders, plant myself in the center of (at least) ten half-covered canvases, and rarely stop moving ‘til nightfall. i’m usually splattered in about seven colors of paint. it’s a good way to move through the world.

life is complicated enough, so I keep my work simple.

i hope it makes you look. i hope it makes you smile.

i hope it makes you feel …
something you’ve been wanting to feel, for a while.

Connect With Kent

website :
instagram :
facebook :
pinterest :


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.