DIaBEtic DEW555

>>50<<::.ye(AR)S__I-S ALONgti=mETO#HAteyouRWIFe°°°°°


venerdì 25 dicembre 2009

Interview with Rick Baker

q) Please tell us a brief info about yourself.

a)My name is Rick Baker.

My drawing pseudonym is Silav, which is “VALIS” spelled backwards. VALIS is an acronym for “Vast Active Living Intelligence System” and the title of a 1981 Philip K. Dick book about Gnosticism, madness and the true nature of “reality”. According to Dick, VALIS was an aspect of God that revealed itself to him in the form of pink laser beams.

I have never had a mystical vision. Not really.

My drawings vary in content and style. But they all function as a catharsis for me. The act of drawing is a kind of meditation. Through it, I seem to be able to find a sort of psychological and emotional balance. Plus, it’s fun.

I have only recently begun think of myself as an ‘artist’.

I am 39 years old and live with my wife Hilary in South Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles.

q) Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?

a)I have drawn for as long as I can remember.

Early on, I was heavily influenced by newspaper comic strips and television. Common subject matter included animals, race cars, traffic accidents, football players, Garfield and the celebrity panel from the Gong Show.

I remember I would often draw pictures and show them to my mother. She dispensed unconditional praise.

When I was 12, I wrote a latter to Jim Davis (creator of Garfield). 10 months later I received, in response, a signed ‘photo’ of Garfield.

When I was 13, I created an entire baseball league made up of exotic animals (the Milwaukee Chinchillas, the Kankakee Kinkajous, the Walla Walla Wallabies…you get the idea).

Another early influence was a television personality named Tom Hatten, who hosted a Sunday morning show on KTLA (out of Los Angeles). He dressed like a sailor and introduced cartoons (Popeye, Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle)…in between, he would invite viewers to send him ‘squiggles’—little abstract doodles, which he would make into cartoon characters. I started doing that constantly—I would make a ‘squiggle’ with my eyes closed and then try to find faces or bodies in them…

I still do that, in a way.

q)What are your tools of the trade and why?

a)For the most part, I use only pens (Micron, Staedtler, Rapidograph, Prismacolor). Sometimes graphite, crayons or a touch of acrylic paint.

I suppose I use these instruments because they give me the most control. I think my better drawings are the ones in which I challenge this tendency to ‘be tight’ by letting in some kind of chaos that I have to accept and ‘make sense of’.

I like details that only come into view when you look very carefully…

q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?

a)Who: Ernst Haeckel, Hans Bellmer, Albrecht Dürer, Joseph Cornell, Hieronymus Bosch, Chris Ware, Marc Bell, Henry Darger, Jack Chick, Adolf Wolfi, Robert Crumb, Raymond Pettibon, Jason Rhoades, Led Zeppelin

What: Television, plant morphology, decay, horror movies, cryptozoology, pre-20th century anatomical drawings, old photographs found in thrift stores, Viewmasters, spirit photography, diseases, Christian propaganda, esoteric cosmology, bunny rabbits and the Bible.

q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?

a)I took a year of art in high school and one drawing class at a community college. Both were very helpful. But for the most part, I have learned from my friends’ successes and my own mistakes.

q)How do you keep “fresh” within your industry?

a)This year was the first time I have ever sold a drawing. So I don’t really have an industry…but I am open to all invitations!

q)What are some of your current projects?

a)At the moment I am working on the third in a series of large drawings. Each one is an abstract interpretation of the Buddhist deity Mahakala.

I am trying some small experiments with found paper (letterhead, ledger paper, etc.).

I also continue to draw pictures based on an album of photos (circa 1950 – 1960) of a boy named Ricky. I bought it at a local thrift store. Ricky had some sort of degenerative muscular disease and grew up in nearby Glendale, California.

q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?

a)I tend to like the drawings with intense detail…not so much because they are technically better, but (because they take so long to complete) they serve as a kind of record of a period of time. I can see, in the repetition and minutiae, the accretion of days and weeks and sometimes months. Those drawings have a kind of ‘psychic weight’ that maybe only I can see…

q) Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

a)The list is too long…I’ve only just begun.

q) What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

a)I tend to go in streaks. I will draw obsessively for months, and then stop for long periods. I am trying to change that. I feel like if I force myself to sit down and work on something everyday, even for a short time, it keeps me stimulated.

Since I have a full-time job—I help manage the estate of an installation artist named Jason Rhoades – I sometimes have to really struggle with a lack of creative energy. But in general, I find that it will kick in if I just sit down and work…Unfortunately, it’s such an easy thing to forget.

q) How do you spend most of your free time?

a)Draw, watch movies, spend time with Hilary, daydream

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)I’ve only just learned that ‘obsessive art’ is considered a genre…I like Obsessive Art.

In general, I like anything startling, intense or sincere.

q) We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?

a)At the moment, I have no proper means of selling my art. I’ve been saying for a year now that I need to start an Etsy.com shop or create a proper website. But I have not. For now, keep an eye on my Flickr.com site (www.flickr.com/silav) for any announcements or developments – and you can always email me directly at rickvbaker@sbcglobal.com. I invite all offers, advice, criticism and/or encouragement!

martedì 15 dicembre 2009

Interview with Judy Ragagli

q) Please tell us a brief info about yourself.

a)I live and paint in Los Angeles, California. I was raised and schooled here. I paint hyper-realistic oil on canvas paintings of the classic Barbie's circa 1959 to 1970.

q) Tell us about your humble beginnings, when did you first realized that you wanted to be an artist?

a)My father came from humble beginnings and raised 4 daughters in the Italian section of Chicago, Illinois. I am the youngest of 4 girls. I never realized I wanted to be an artist until later in life. I was never one of those lucky people who knew what they wanted to be at a young age. I had a love for the visual arts at a young age, but, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. That came later in life after college.

q) What are your tools of the trade and why?

a)I use oil on canvas. I use linseed oil with the oil paints. Many coats are needed to achieve a richness. I lay down the paint with a bristle brush and then I blend with sable brushes. I mix all my own colors because it helps to see exactly what I am actually painting. I also stand when I paint, it helps to use your full body. Sitting down to paint is too passive.

q) Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?

a)It is the classic Barbie's and her beauty that have give me the inspiration for my paintings. I also love old movies, and fashions from the 1940's to the mid 1960's. People often say there is a "creepiness" to the paintings, but, they also see other things. I get many different reactions from people who view my paintings. Because Barbie is a symbol and icon of beauty, people percieve beauty as a mask you hide behind. Beauty is a mask that we shut out in some way. I guess one can say there is an icy distance to the paintings. I see my paintings as moody, wistful and thoughtful. I find it interesting to see and hear the reactions. People feel confronted in some way. I find people fascinating and when they look at the paintings they reveal all kinds of things about themselves. I am not trying to get a reaction, but, the Barbie's themselves seem to get a reaction. I also never painted my subject for the "market." I painted Barbie for myself. At first, everyone thought I was crazy when they heard what I was painting, and they didn't get it, but, I didn't care, I loved it. You have to love what you are painting and creating. If you don't love it, it often shows in the work.

q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?

a)I graduated from a University in Los Angeles, with a Liberal Arts degree. Later, in my early twenties, I learned how to paint with oils in private art classes with just a few students. I as very determined and focused. I worked really, really hard at my work and struggled to the point of exhaustion. After 5 years, my art teacher had a heart attack and I didn't have a teacher anymore. I ended up painting by myself without relying on a teacher. It forced me to rely on myself and what I remembered in class. I just tried to remember everything my teacher taught me and I was constantly struggling. To paint realistically, everything has to be close to perfect, it is very technical. After a very long time, it finally just came together and I was able to rely on myself.

q)How do you deep "fresh" within your industry?

a)Getting excited about starting a new piece keeps it fresh. Keeping it "fresh" is the feeling I get when I am painting and loving what I am painting. Also, I really love my work. It has never been a problem keeping it "fresh." I am always excited about my work. My problem is finding the time to do everything I want to do.

q)What are some of your current projects?

a)Presently, my oil paintings are featured in a newly released hard-cover book titled "EDGYCUTE" -From Neo-Pop to Low Brow and Back Again" by Harry Saylor. I am extremely thrilled about this book. My work is on tour on the East Coast. I am also embarking on a new series that I really excited about. Also, I love doing Brad Benedict's shows. He is an amazing curator .

q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?

a)I mainly like my head-shots and bust-shots the best, and the simplicity of them. They are straight forward. A couple of years back I painted a challenging piece rather large, it was of a full-length 1959 Brunette Barbie wearing a Dior-esque inspired ensemble and she is standing in front of the Arch de Triomph in France. It is a full-length piece with scenery. The France painting took many months to complete. I knew when I was struggling and painting this piece that it would be one of my favorites. It took what seemed like eternity to finally finish it. I think if you breeze through something it doesn't always turn out good. I sold this piece and would love to buy her back.

q)Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

a)I want to do a really large scale oil of a head-shot, maybe 65 inches by 54 inches. My pieces are usually 36 inches by 30 inches, so a large scale piece would be quite the challenge.

q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

a)Franciscan Wine and re-runs of the 1970's show "Soul Train" on YouTube.

q)How do you spend most of your time?

a)My work is my free time. I see it as fun. Hard work, but fun.

q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)I have always loved the visual arts: Fashion, cinema, music. In the art field, I really admire Todd Schorr, Robert Hickland, Robert Williams, and Ryan Heshka.

q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?

a)Yes, I sell my work. I have a website www.JudyRagagli.com Also, I just entered into cyberspace and joined Facebook. I just posted some of my new pieces up there.

domenica 6 dicembre 2009

Interview with Dimitri Drjuchin

q)please tell us a brief info about yourself.

a)I was born in Moscow, but have lived in New York since I was a year
old. I am a working artist and a musician.

q)Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you you first
realized that you wanted to be an artist?

a)I think I've always kind of known. I was the guy that could draw well
in school and have always loved doing it. When I was in high school I started taking it more serious since my adult hood was fast approaching and had to decide on what to do with my life. There was no real question in my mind that this is what I wanted to do. Though at first I was more set on being a comic book artist, but towards the end of high school I started painting and switched to this path. I went to Parsons School of Design and graduated with a degree in Illustration in 2003. For a few years after I kind of floundered when it came to doing actual art. I toured parts of the US and Europe with my old Hardcore Punk band and took jobs as a graphic designer. During this time I drew more then painted, but found it harder to find the time and energy to really buckle down and do the real work. About a year and a half ago I was working at an office and was feeling really down about it and felt like I was wasting time and talents. So decided to quit and start painting again and see where that leads me. Since then I feel like I've done the best work I have ever done in my life and have finally found a proper channel for my voice... so I guess to answer your question, in retrospect, I have always known this is what I wanted to do, it's just been a steady climb to that realization.

q)What are your tools of the trade and why?

a)When I paint I work in acrylics on canvas. I used oils when I first
started painting when I was 17, but I switched to acrylics when I went to college. I like acrylics mostly because they dry fast. I don't blend or do a lot of shading or values in my work, I use a lot of flat colors, so it's helpful to use a paint that dries within minutes of application. I will often layer things too so it's good for me that I work on a dry surface. This summer I started using an electric fan and set the painting in front of it for even faster drying. I can get impatient and work over something that's not fully dried yet, so the fan helps. I work on canvas mostly out of habit. I noticed a lot of artist these days work on wood. But I guess I'm old school in that sense. Something about canvas I find comforting. I also work digitally for illustration. I use Adobe Illustrator mostly. It's nice and clean and I can undo things which is nice.

q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?

a)Well, I wouldn't call my art morbid, for start. There is an element of
sadness in them, but I think sadness is natural. I rarely deal with actual death. I like to think that my characters live in a world where there is no such thing as life or death. They're from another dimension... but I digress... Everything inspires me really. Everyday life, friends, family, classic art, modern art, comic books (indie and super hero), old side scroller video games, music... everything i've subjected myself to plays some kind of influence.

q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?

a)I'm mostly self-taught in the style I work in. That kind of naturally
developed over time. I did go to Art School as I mentioned before, which helped me refine my skills and broadened my horizons, so I guess it's a mix of the two.

q)How do you keep “fresh” within your industry?

a)I just try to keep to my own vision and try not model myself in what's been done. It's important to me to have a unique voice. I know I have elements in my work that other artist use too, like animals, skulls, symbols, etc, but it's the way I use them is the difference. I think it's the combination of my painting style with my subject that makes my work stand out as my own. But obviously it's hard for me to be objective.

q)What are some of your current projects?

a)Right now I'm working on my first solo show. I work on every piece one
at a time. It's a continuation of the work I have been doing but I'm constantly trying to refine my style and try to keep it moving forward.

q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?

a)I'm always excited about whatever pieces I'm working on at the time or have just finished. I feel that last few pieces I've made have been some of my favorites. But that is always the case. That said, a piece called Milk that I did last year is one of my favorites and one that I'm proud of. It's the biggest pieces I've done (not counting the mural) and It's the piece I feel that set the president for all the work I've done since. I feel I really found my stride with that one.

q)Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field
that you have yet to try?

a)I would really like to do some sculpture in the future, or design some
weird toys. Also I've had an idea to try to do some photography that mimics my paintings in some way. I'm still trying to figure that out in my head.

q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

a)First off, it never hurts to take a break to clear my head. but I also
keep busy in other respects. I work on digital illustration and play in bands. It's been healthy to jump between the three. When I paint it's just me alone with no outside input. I paint only for myself. Digitally I usually work on concert posters and that includes other people. So it's a different mind set to work in. And playing music with my friends keeps me engaged on a different level. I've noticed in the last few months how the three have started to influence one another. And that always inspires me to keep everything moving forward and not stagnate. But when I do feel stuck or frustrated I remind myself that first and foremost that this is fun and I shouldn't take anything too seriously. Even when I feel unmotivated Ill force myself to work. Once I get my hand moving the rest takes care of itself. It's like going to the gym. Sometimes you don't want to go, but if you force yourself you'll never regret the workout...

q)how do you spend most of your free time?

a)I love going out with my friends, I play bass in a band called Mother
Of Three ( http://music.motherofthree.info ), I like to play music alone at home or with a friend, I do music for my friend Greg Barris' comedy show Heart Of Darkness once a month... I also love watching movies and television.

q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)Some of my favorite contemporary artist are Leah Hayes, Myles Karr,
Dimitri Simakis, Everything Is Terrible, Andy Kehoe, Josh Keyes, AJ Fosik, Dmitry Kopytin etc... I think all of those folks are doing very exciting work.

q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on
them? Do you sell them? How?

a)You just have to ask :)