With long hair and a freshly groomed goatee, a crystal pendant necklace and cuffed black jeans, Andre Hart maintains a personal style that reflects his bohemian life.

A local San Jose artist, Hart, 23, has been painting full-time for five years. “I wouldn’t call it an occupation, but I am an artist,” he said. “I would never do something if I didn’t fully believe in it; it has to be honest.” SanJose.com sat down with Hart to discuss his career.

SanJose.com: When did you decide you wanted to try your hand at painting?

Hart: Painting has become an intuitive experience for me but I sucked at it when I started, believe it or not. My senior year at James Lick [high school] I didn’t take any art classes, but I knew I wanted to do oil painting. So for about a year I had the paint, I had the canvases, I had the easel, but I couldn’t paint—I was so damn afraid of it. So one day I finally just sat down and painted, and I’ve been doing it since.

How would you classify your style of painting?

First and foremost, I never label my styles; I leave that up to everybody else. I always change my style when it starts to feel very comfortable. It’s important to never feel like you’re at a place of arrival with creativity. You have to be in a stage of constant becoming.

Where do you get your inspiration to paint?

I’ve found my muse; I’ll call her V. She’s given me an overwhelming peace about myself. She told me something no one had ever said to me before, that she appreciates my conviction to do my art. I think if you’re creating something you should show it. I realized that there’s going to be a part of her in everything I do now, but I’ve never been this in tune with someone before, and so quick. The next painting I do, I’m going to attempt to paint her soul and let that positivity ring through her as she’s given it to me. I mean, I’m very in tune with the moon; I believe it’s one of the easiest ways to speak with the universe, so I get a lot of creativity with the full moon. I use sacred geometry and esoteric zodiac symbolism. I’ve been dealing with crystals, putting intentions into the stones to help me manifest peace and creativity. But right now, V is my muse.

What’s something you’ve learned through your art?

I know where I’m at, but I’m not really anywhere. Time always changes and you have to move with it, otherwise you’re not existing in the present. Time is a perception of then and when, it exists in our heads. We exist in the middle of time. So it’s like ‘here’s time, there it went,’ you know? Everything is everything. I am, therefore, we are. We all come from the earth, we all breathe the same breath. It’s not a fight, it’s a dance, so you can’t darken your heart because of life’s woes.