Though I'm getting slightly better at it now, I've never been too good at talking to strangers, let alone strangers that I sat back and had admired from afar for extended amounts of time like I was Mark David Chapman.
But the main reason for my hesitation to spark small talk with random people is that I've always felt like I had no legitimate reason for me to intrude. It's been like this my whole life, but consistently there's always been two exceptions that have helped counteract this situation: a job title and a counter.
For instance, I worked at KB Toys in a shitty mall in Antioch for back in the 90's. If I was out on the floor reorganizing Power Rangers for the 7th time, I rarely talked to customers. But the moment I stepped behind the counter I instantly channelled Saul Goodman and could start a conversation with a mute if they walked by, because I felt like I was SUPPOSED to. Because it was my JOB to talk to people. Because i was BEHIND the counter. And it was that counter that was my comfort blanket. My protection. My confidence.
The opportunity help create content for Juxtapoz was the "counter" that I had always dreamed of having in front of me to give me that reason to reach out to some artists that I've loved, introduce myself, and finally say "thank you".
So using the words "Juxtapoz Magazine" as my counter AND my crutch, I reached out to a handful of amazing artists, illustrators, photographers and sculptors, some already my friends, and some complete strangers that I had always been scared to say hello to, and asked them to be a part of my month-long hang out session on this site.
But I didn't just want similar content to what has already been copied and pasted from wikipedia on other sites numerous times. I wanted something more personal. So, since the issue that I curated was Halloween-themed, I decided to write up a special Halloween-themed art questionnaire to pass along to my new friends and see what happens. Well, what happened was 60% awesome, 30% hilarious, and 10% completely absurd, and I couldn't have asked for more.
Over the next few weeks I will be showcasing these individual artists' questionnaires alongside some of their best work. And get excited, because there's a lot of "best work".