The host and creator of the podcast, Matthew Dols, is a Professor of Photography at the University of Maryland Global Campus and an online portfolio reviewer for LensCulture.com while residing in Prague, CZ. He received his MFA in New Genre Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA in Photography from the Corcoran School of Art and Design. His artwork has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of the Al Serkal Foundation, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Crown Point Press, and the deYoung Museum in the Auchenbach Collection.
I am a (currently) an unsuccessful artist trying to figure out what I did wrong so that I (and the listeners) can get on a better path toward success. The art world is broken and I want to understand why and how we can work better in it.
I have had a story filled life. But the one thing that has evaded me is success in my personal art career. I do not know the answers, but I think I know the questions. I was in my ivory tower of academia for decades and I recently moved to Prague, CZ (with my Czech wife, Petra) and I realized that everything I have been teaching was based on old and outdated models. The art world is fast moving and changes even faster. I want to know how it works NOW.
My guests range from artists and curators to collectors and attorneys. Each of them offers some small insight that when added together begin to put the puzzle pieces together of how it all connects together. No one person knows all the knowledge and information, but each of us has something we are wise about and many more things we are foolish about. The podcast is trying to connect the wide range of wisdom that comes from the different experiences and expertise of these art professionals.
I have worked in museums, galleries, stock photography agencies, as a picture framer, waiter, a roadie (and a drug addict) I was under investigation by the DEA and I think I have warrants for my arrest in at least three countries (not for anything series, one was riding the subway without a ticket in Milan, Italy). I am now a professor and a professional portfolio reviewer (yes, that is a job).
I have studied with chefs, massage therapists, reflexologist and Native American shamans. I love a sweat lodge. I have done enough LSD to make me legally insane in the United States and I have been present when friends overdosed on drugs and even held them while they took their last breath. When I was 21 I drove a car off a cliff (because I feel asleep at the wheel) and got out without a scratch. I have bought cocaine directly from Columbians and smoked pot with rock stars. I even taught a rock star how to use cocaine.
In my artwork I work the human form and yet I was employed at a government run university in a Muslim country. I even got the to pay for me to participate in a workshop with famous nude photographer Jock Sturges at a naturalist community, and yes I had to be nude the entire week also. I have photographed porn stars for fashion magazines and my first ever paid photo assignment was to photograph the making of a pornographic film (which was illegal in that state).
Having grown up as a preachers kid I often acted out, but I was still the good son in comparison to my brother. Even though I was a drug addict and was under investigation by the DEA (or so I was told by a relative of the agent investigating me). I think I still turned out ok. The part that has not gone as I had hoped was my career as an artist. There are many mysteries in the art world that even the people in the art world do not understand. That is where the name of the podcast comes form, everyone in the art world is very wise about that niche and foolish about most of the other parts. Myself included. So I have set out to talk to as many people that work in as many different aspects of the art world as I can because I want to understand how it all world. and I figured the best way to learn was to talk with the people that are working in the art world.
The question I have never outgrown is Why? why do some people succeed where others fail, why does some art sell for millions while other are never even seen the light of day. What is that path to success that some see clearly and others never even know exist? Through this podcast I want to try to both level the playing field by offering everyone the opportunity to the same set of knowledge, and help offer a rising tide to lift all boats. There are too many stories about how people gain notoriety because they are at the right place at the right time and befriend the right person. I want to understand what came before that in order to make it so that those people were prepared for that chance meeting.
The podcast is called The Wise Fool because I feel that everyone is wise about their chosen specialties and often foolish about most other things. this is true for me as well, and I want to learn how the art world works so I figured why not ask the professionals in their wisdom about how their corner of the art world works in order to help us all being better educated and have a better chance at success.