Ep 98 Featured Image Podcast

The Art of Disruption – John Seed – Ep 98

September 6, 2023


There is something so powerful about disruption. Challenging the status quo is a message in and of itself, but when you apply that to art…it simply transcends. Meet author, artist, and disruption curator John Seed. John has written two books on disruption, with the second book chronicling an entire movement happening in the art world right now. Join us for a conversation about John’s life and career, disruptive realism, creative advice, and a sneak peek into the artists John profiled for his upcoming book.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Getting to know John Seed and how he brought his books to life [1:52]
  • Exploring John’s writing journey from unpaid blogger to author [11:36]
  • Understanding disrupted realism and bringing focus to a distracted society [17:29]
  • Diving into John’s new book [25:59]
  • John’s advice for those on the creative path [31:40]
  • A sneak peek at the artists featured in John’s work [42:05]

Canaries in the coal mine

When John Seed published his first book in 2019, “Disrupted Realism: Paintings for a Distracted World”, many questioned if it was an oracle of what 2020 and the years to follow had in store. After all, the book takes an in-depth look at the works of contemporary painters who are challenging and reshaping the tradition of Realism in our overly-distracted society. But John laughs that off, stating artists have always been the canaries in the coal mines of life. They pay attention to the world around them and use that in their creative expression. This further fueled John’s upcoming sequel titled “More Disruption: Representational Art in Flux”, which has increased focus on social disruptions where artists are making clear social comments about things like race, immigration, queer identity, and other critical social issues of our time.

Defining disruptive realism

To better understand John’s work, we have to dig into the meaning of disrupted realism. He defines it as when you see other creative ingredients changing or transforming the traditional style of realism. When John was in art school, there wasn’t a ton of instruction around realism. Maybe you could find an eccentric professor to teach you on the side, but it certainly wasn’t the main focus. Then came the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s when more schools like the New York Academy of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art began to birth a new generation of artists with exceptional realism skills. The disruption started when these artists realized they didn’t have to stick to a traditional image. That they could put themselves into the work and create something truly unique that broke the “rules” and went outside the artistic norm.

Do some soul-searching

When you’re with someone who has been around the art world as long as John Seed, you ask them to give their best advice. John’s encouragement for those on the creative path is to be inspired. We have to avoid comparisons that only make us insecure. It is possible to love another artist’s work without immediately finding lack and fault in our own. The best artists are the ones who reject cynicism and believe in the power of art. Not just art as a whole, but specifically their art. John believes one of the biggest struggles for people in our world is authenticity. Thankfully, art is just the process of discovering who you are! If we dedicate ourselves to the inevitable soul-searching that happens on the canvas, we will always paint exactly what we’re supposed to.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with John Seed

Connect with Nicholas Wilton and Art2Life

Get the Free COLOR TIPS PDF here


Subscribe to Art2Life on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

new image for vlog sidebar