Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Interview With Jon Feinstein

The interview originally appeared in We Don’t You A Thing #1 a zine about art and hardcore.

Jon Feinstein is a photographer, curator, critic and the co-founder and Curatorial Director of Humble Arts Foundation. As the hardest workingman in photography he has curated tons of shows like "31 Women in Art Photography", written for Whitehall, GOOD among others and has his photographs shown international and been published in Vice and New York Press. You can see his art at

Ahhh you’re a good photographer I feel terrible I know you as a writer / curator / founder of Humble Arts do you find that your success as a writer / curator / art organizer eats in to your art making? Is it hard to find a balance?

It’s definitely a challenge, especially since I also work full time as a Marketing Manager at Shutterstock, but I’ve been learning how to balance it better recently.

The found Russian bride work is pretty amazing is it the kind of work that results in an endless stream of junk mail that grows exponentially?

It’s a bit of that, and also work that results FROM and endless stream of junk mail. For me the source is as baffling as it is terrifying –as much as I’m interested in repurposing spam, and found imagery, the potential circumstances (sex trafficking, abuse etc) behind these spam emails is a huge concern for me.

Your work seems to move pretty comfortably between traditional portrait and landscape and more conceptual and formal work is it been a conscious choice to try on different hats?

I see it less as trying on different hats and more as something that reflects a range of interests.

So are rumors true that you used to rock the white man dreads?

Haha, yes. There is also a rumor that I still have 2 dreads kept hidden in a wooden Dean and Deluca box but I won’t confirm whether or not that’s true.

Did you grow up in the tri-state are? I assuming with the dreads you were more an ABC-NoRio then DMS?

I grew up in NYC—my parents are still in the apt they’ve been in since 1972. I was definitely more of an ABC-No Rio/ food not bombs-turned waify-hardcore kind of kid than a floorpunching NYHC kid. No offense to any NYHC readers here, but I always saw those kids as being not much different than the jocks I avoided in HS.

Favorite show memories?

At one of the last shows in ABC’s basement—before they moved them upstairs—Saetia (screamo band) was playing and there was chalk dust all over the floor because they had begun renovations…anyway, this crusty kid started dancing/ slamming into people, and the band stopped, the singer pulled him aside and screamed “YOU CAN”T DO THAT HERE”.

As an art professional what are your thoughts on Marl McCoy’s art (

Ha—I honestly didn’t know he made work know he made art until now, but I just hear he’s in a big show at Allegra LaViola gallery. Are you interviewing him for this? I loved Charles Bronson--I think I still have a bunch of their 7"s somewhere. 

Do you think Hardcore helped prepare you to be such a successful part of the photo world?

I think it was pretty important to how humble was started. When Amani and I started Humble, we were pretty much like “we have this cool idea, we want to help photographers get exposure outside of the traditional gallery system, let’s do this shit” Clearly that’s changed significantly as Humble has grown, but I think the spirit presides over all the projects we do.

Any plans and projects too look out for now that you are heading west?

I’ve been working on a few projects for the past few years that should go live on a site update once I’m settled. I started making pictures with a point and shoot, which is a big change for me, but has really free’d up how I make pictures.


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