#WhatDrivesYou: Maxwell N. Burnstein
October 3, 2016
From the likes of Elle Magazine, Brian Atwood, Dolce and Gabanna, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, to Harpers Bazaar, Canadian artist, Maxwell N. Burnstein has worked with them all. Our latest artist collab for #F15YRS creates signature mixed media artwork that has become prevalent in the fashion industry. Burnstein, a recent graduate of Ryerson's Fashion Communications program, also takes on the role Director of VULKAN Magazine Inc. and has played a crucial role in the development of the coveted men’s magazine.
Elle Croatia September 2016 Cover
Tell us about yourself.
A graduate from Canada’s premier fashion program at Ryerson University, my education in the industry and abilities within the arts came to form my career.
The foremost collage artist to emerge from Canada’s fashion industry, my multidimensional analog works has prompted collaborations with top clientele in the global fashion industry.
When and how did your career path become clear to you?
After sharing my experimental analog artwork in January 2015 on instagram, the reaction drew photographers and brands previously inaccessible directly to my inbox.
Developing upon this as my primary outlet to establish partnerships and exhibit work as my live portfolio, Instagram’s fashion community continually validates my efforts with the influx of opportunities.
W New York - Union Square July - October 2016
Was it what you’ve always wanted to do?
I always did collage art, covering my walls as a youth in self-sustained mixed media works from fashion magazine. It was only as a student in the fashion industry that I saw the prevalence of art in the industry and potential to bridge my primary passions and skills. Working in fashion was always my plan, having an innate understanding of branding, consumerism and design which I wanted to develop.
What else would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your current position and why?
Outside of acting as an artist, I am the Director of VULKAN Magazine, a digital media outlet, established as Canada’s premier Magazine abroad.
Working to shape the business, producing editorial fashion, celebrity features and executing artistic direction over VULKAN has helped it gain global prestige as the choice outlet for emerging and established talents.
What is a memorable challenge or moment that’s stuck with you so far?
Receiving the cover of Elle Mexico’s March 2016 print issue has still been a highlight of mine, directly asking for the opportunity, which I was granted.
The challenge of being an artist in the digital era is you need to be bold enough to ask for every opportunity you want and strong enough to accept the immense rejection it takes to until there is a chance to make a mark.
Elle Mexico March 2016
Have you ever wanted to give up? What stopped you?
Confronting this rise in digital collage art, prevalent on social media and in mainstream fashion campaigns, my analog works evoke the tactile and genuine quality of handmade art being lost online. Only working with images I have the rights to, I am at a competitive disadvantage, which can be discouraging. The global feedback and opportunities evoked through my persistence remind me that the time, quality, and processes of building artworks are worth it.
What do you do just for you?
I travel; having the opportunities to immerse myself in foreign cultures is why I work as hard as I do.
How do you integrate work and life together?
I don’t, I live for my work and see my career as a full time position.
Favourite advice you’ve heard or like to give out?
“Ask for every opportunity.”
Elle Mexico, Dolce and Gabanna November 2015
If you could invent one thing to make your life easier what would it be and why?
I would build a designated tool for collage artist. There is currently not a readily accessible exacto knife from art supply stores that are built to comfortably fit in the artist’s hand.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen recently?
I was recently in NYC and made the time to explore the New Museum of Contemporary Art in my favorite area, SOHO, which I found really triggered my creativity.
What’s next for you?
Alongside my commercial work, I am currently undertaking Artist Residencies at The Drake Hotel in Toronto, The W Union Square in New York City, while working on shows from the USA to EU, which I will unveil over the next year.
Keep up with Maxwell on Instagram.