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 :)