Place of birth: Denver, Colorado - USA
BC: Hi Rodney, I know you have a lot of experience in many fields of art...can you talk to the xLegion reader about your life? What do you consider the key life experiences that shaped you as an artist?
RW: My life has been one of wearing many hats and traveling a rather non-linear path. Always being the non-conformist, it was a blessing to have a family that supported my curious endeavors and perspective. My father, a cowboy, once said “You know, every family has a black sheep (I know I know). So how the hell did we get a purple one? That kind of sums it up. I was the “artist” and ever pushing the boundaries and not in the typical rebellious way. I was a hippie but the only one in my group that didnʼt do drugs;
born designated driver. I enjoyed making art and loved it when someone would say something along the lines of: “Far out man! Whereʼd that come from? Was it mushrooms or pot or LSD?” The best part was when my response “Nope. Just my imagination.” was followed by a befuddled look of shock, disbelief and maybe a little fear. “I donʼt need to take drugs, I just need to take a nap. Iʼve always been fortunate to have a wondrous and vivid dreamtime.” To this day, I have amazingly visual dreams; most every night is my own personal film festival. Thus my early attraction to the surrealists.
“Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.” -- Salvador Dali
Art was important to me very early in life but mostly my participation was confined to the academic precepts of technical training. I didnʼt really seize it as a way to communicate my personal thoughts and feelings until my college years. First attending the bastions of higher learning in the fall of 1969, the time of Woodstock, Kent State, man on the moon and the Vietnam war made it practically impossible to not seek ways to explore oneʼs opinion, values and viewpoint. Art became that tool for me. This time in history compelled me to shifted my artistic priorities from technical expertise to the need for expression. Simply put, my appreciation for the power of art had moved to a much higher and deeper level. This in turn, changed my purpose in life and a quest for an effective voice became not desire but need. The artist path became one not of choice but rather unavoidable reality.
Art became not a career but more accurately my inexorable journey toward art as lifestyle, passion and obsession.
“I have lived my life in accordance to the windfalls of passion.” -- Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance)
With the encouragement of professors, colleagues and various happenstance, art guided me to new horizons. An incurable fascination with art history was equalled by an interest in the human condition. This led me to explore various religions, ideologies and symbolism. Soon a deep curiosity about rites, rituals and the paranormal/occult had begun to develop. I am more inspired by their commonalities than their differences. The hope for some level of understanding in regard to the relationship
between mortal man/woman and the soul/spirit have brought me to meet some truly remarkable people; they have and continue to influence my art in ways I cannot articulate. There have been so many life experiences that I would consider “key”, it would be impossible to share them briefly. I believe that being an artist demands perpetual inquisitiveness and an ever-vigilant observing eye. One must live life with a hunger for experience, information and challenge so that will have “something” to say through their art. My life has been full and diverse.
As an example for many years, I was a fencing and modern pentathlon coach/trainer. This certainly put me in different environments than had I only hung out at art openings, coffee shops or cool hipster bars. While you will not find images of sports among my portfolio, that time in my life did alter my visual aesthetic and vocabulary. My reference points were expanded by these people and there devotion to a passion. It also enabled me to travel to places that would not likely have been on my purely artistic map.
BC: What would you consider your first big break?
RW: Now thatʼs a tough one. I have been so very fortunate over the years to have been presented with unexpected opportunities and circumstances. Hmmmm? The first big one?
I think that would be when I found myself in the unplanned position of managing a gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe NM when I was only 22 years old in the early 70ʼs (1900s not 1800s). Itʼs a long and not all that interesting story but it was a circumstance that shaped me as an artist far beyond any traditional learning environment. To be in the role of presenting the art of others forced me to have power/control far beyond my expertise and experience. What I thought was to be an art related paycheck quickly evolved into me having responsibilities that I did not deserve. The short version is that I took a job and the owner of the gallery was so flaky and unprofessional that I soon was “in charge” as he jet-setted around the world leaving me with little or no guidance. My art advocacy and belief in the value of art was very young. I had virtually no language or clear understanding of my own opinions. This pushed me into pondering my own assessment of art as a promoter and as an artist. I was reviewing artist portfolios, planning special events, opening receptions, doing marketing and learning how to make sales in a very high pressure environment. Shoot, I had to go to a couple of opening receptions just so I had a clue what they even were.
You may wonder how this was a “big break”? Well, this early in life situation made me see art from a different perspective and seek a level of self-awareness in regard to my own aspirations. The world of commercial galleries is very different from the one acknowledged in the academic world. Those two art arenas are almost in direct opposition. This was news to me. This was a full on reality check and cosmic dope slap. The thought process for presenting the art of others was indeed a very daunting and intimidating challenge. The “big break” came in part as I pondered my short and long term goals for life and as an artist. It was a gift to be confronted by reality not just art pipe dreams.
Many may think this sent me down the road of creating “marketable” objects. In truth, it helped me identify the difference between art vs craft and art vs product. The self-imposed standards for my work grew and my expectations for the definition of “fine art” were forever altered. That process was a gift that shaped me as an artist far more than traditional education environment, mentor or art “big break” circumstance.
BC: What are your favorite media and what are its advantages?
RW: Most of my life I was a 3D guy. I was a jeweler/metalsmith and sculptor with stints as a photographer and printmaker. About 10 years ago I completely shifted to painting. It was late in life that I found my authentic art voice and it was via oil painting. The true story is that after taking up painting, I sold all unrelated tools, materials and equipment. I like the way oil paint feels. I like the depth of the color and the ability to paint thick or thin with large or small brushes. This media allows for the use of multiple layers. Oil paint also feels very real and natural with itʼs wide array of pigments (note: I mix colors both on palette and canvas/panel). Oil painting has a long art history and one that at once intimidates and inspires me. Thereʼs a timelessness and universality to painting; especially oil paint. Having spent so many years at the mercy of the dealing with large tools and space, painting is wonderful in itʼs mobility and relatively small studio footprint. Not wanting to be a scientist, I keep it very simple -- Windsor Newton oil paint, Liquin, turpentine, various brushes and Gessobord panels.
BC: What are your methods of visualization? How does the process of creating an art object begin?
RW: My ideas come from many sources and circumstances: some intentional and some “out of the blue.” As mentioned above, my dream life is fertile. Just living life with a curious eye and heart brings ideas in waves. It can happen when walking down a country road or while sitting on a bench in bustling city. Music also serves as a gate to my own psyche and often takes me to unexpected places. Movies and films have often brought seeds of thoughts and imagery.
I work from my own photography. This can come from formal photo sessions with models or spontaneously while on a walk-about. When working with “models”, I am very selective. My preference it to work with people that have never or seldom modeled; models are so model-ly. A common recurrence is to use artists as models. They bring a different sensibility to the process. These situations create a sort of “photo jam session” as we feed off of each other. I also prefer my models to be just a bit shy or uncomfortable. As trust builds, the authenticity grows. Keep in mind that I really am drawn to the uncommon. I pick models that are not just beautiful but unique, other worldly and inspiring. That kind of model seldom falls into the categories of beauty established by the media and trends of so called attractiveness.
“Strangeness is the indispensable condiment of all beauty.” -- Charles Baudelaire
My models are not mere props, they are my muse. Sometimes I choose them to fit into some preconceived scenario but just as often, they take my vision in unexpected directions. Like a jeweler, sometimes they design a piece and then get a stone to fit and other times they create the piece around the beautiful gem.
As an example, I did a small series of angels. Well just turning any random human into an ethereal being was not going to work. It took me years to find my models. Ever vigilant, I watched and waited for an “angel” to cross my path. Remarkably at the opening reception for one of my solo exhibition, I looked over and there stood a young man that practically had a halo above him. Then within but a few minutes, I looked over and saw his female (but strikingly androgynous and beautiful) counterpart. I was in awe and quickly set aside my art schmoozing and approached them both individually and then introduced them to each other. It was a magical happenstance and a modeling session was scheduled for the next week.
That said, most of my imagery just kind of happens. I work rather intuitively and I crave surprises. Not to get all “New Agey” or overtly spiritual, I am open to listening to the voices in my head. A painting may be going one direction and then for reasons that I cannot really explain, Iʼll shift and set off in a heretofore unpredicted direction. I say this wanting to emphasize that these decisions are not dominated by so called art precepts such as “the elements and principles of design.” I am not unaware of making choices that may improve the composition or balance or focal point of a piece but those are not the predominate motivation for making changes. I am simply compelled by forces unknown. I watch. I listen. I seize the moment pat attention to my intuition, heart and soul.
A good example of how this process works would be my paintings “Amauros”. It is close up view of an alluring womanʼs face behind some equally beautiful sunflowers. In a very unplanned moment, I made a significant alteration - I clouded her eyes to make her blind. For me this enhanced the “story” and mystery. This change also made the senses shift gears. The textures on the flowers were immediately more important and made them almost have a palpable aroma. The blind woman was now having a very different relationship with the flowers. Hopefully this also made the viewerʼs interaction with the painting quite different than had she remained sighted. This simply added new layers to the story and compelled the viewer to explore a wider range of feeling. That decision sums up my desire to make work that forces one to look more deeply and hopefully elicit an emotional response.
BC: What do you see as the strengths of your piece, visually or conceptually?
RW: Hopefully when someone looks at my work, they are somewhat thunderstruck. The goal is to impart curiosity at the least and evoke emotion at the best. While my work is not for everyone and perhaps simply not “their cup of tea”, the strength lies in part that it the work is void of any specific answers. They are not necessarily telling a story but rather asking questions. While I hope that the viewers get beyond the technical expertise, the realism is a vital aspect of finished piece. By painting in a realistic style, it makes the image/story/question more “real.” In a way the technical attributes often trick people into looking closer and perhaps, deeper. One gentleman said “These pieces made me get up close and not only see but listen....... and they are beating very loudly.” I hope that the it is not just the concept or awareness of technique that the viewer takes away with them. The goal is to create a memory of the feeling or experience.
“The job of the artist is to always deepen the mystery.” -- Francis Bacon
I hope that my paintings urge people to see beyond their eyes. My work is not “decorative” and one of my main artistic goals is for my work to be timeless and possess many layers of thought and feeling. If a piece is successful, the real power comes from having the viewer look into themselves; ponder, feel, wonder and learn.
A noted art curator and gallery owner (one that I highly respect) once said of my work: “Itʼs not that your work is avant garde but it is cutting edge emotionally.” That can be viewed as an asset or liability, depending on the circumstance.
A strength of my work is that certain pieces seem to encourage the viewer to participate in the process. At one opening, I received three poems (one slipped clandestinely into my pocket and not found until much later that evening) written on the spot that were inspired by specific paintings. This was not asked for or anticipated by me. The three poets were amazed that they were not the only ones impelled to share such a gift with me. Wow!
Another odd pattern is that on more than a few occasions, I have been met by actual tears of people looking at my art. What a grand compliment to know that my work has touched them so deeply that they were willing to share that level of emotion; not only with me but in a room of other art lovers. Like a soulful song, a poignant novel or a sympathetic character on the silver screen, to have someone respond to my work in that manner is truly a treasure and grand validation. I am humbled and inspired to continue by such moments.
BC: What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
RW: In addition to the circumstances mentioned above, I simply canʼt help it. Making art is my life, my passion, obsession and purpose. I am not driven. I am addicted. This addiction is fed by those rare but wonderful moments when I see art reach out and change peopleʼs lives. However fleeting, it is the greatest reward of all. To watch someone look at a piece of art (mine or others) and be forever altered is a truly magical occurrence.
Once upon a time, I was attending the Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC with my parents - (yep the cowboy with his sweet and devoted wife, Mom). We had waited for hours in the freezing drizzle to get tickets and trust me, this did not make sense to Dad. His art history interest lay in the American West with the likes of Remington and Russell. Why he thought “vermeer” was a thin layer of wood used in furniture making. Anyway, we we finally got into the exhibit, he was quickly impressed. We hadnʼt been there five minutes when he said: “Shoot, itʼs like you can close your eyes and feel these paintings.” He so got it! Art by 17th century Dutch painter had reached into his cowboy spirit and touched him. Wow! That moment was yet another moment that motivated me to try painting and raise the bar on the aspirations for my own art.
To have the opportunity to create objects that truly affect people is all I need to keep me at the easel. Itʼs not that I need a strong work ethic about making art, thatʼs easy. Taking care of the mundane realities -- like paying bills, eating healthy food, emailing, resting etc. -- of living life in the 21st century is the hard part. I cannot be cured of making art. If I look back at the day and assess what I have done with my time and it did not include making art, the day feels lost. I keep myself motivated by the shear desire to put as many of these ideas and feelings into some visible form. I have far more ideas for paintings that I have time. I simply must make art. Deadlines donʼt hurt but just are necessary anymore.
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." -- Vincent van Gogh
I concur.....That is all the motivation I need.
BC: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?
RW: Sadly, thatʼs an easy one. I spent most of my life not letting my own art be a priority. I got lost in the quest for security and financial predictability. I chose to do this mostly within “The Arts” as an educator, entrepreneur, arts administrator, advocate etc. This was rewarding but not in those two supposedly worthy barometers of success. I do not regret educating, promoting and inspiring others but I do regret not having committed to my own art much much sooner. Iʼve always made art and have been called a “Rent-aissance Man” - do whatever it takes to pay the rent and make art. I have worn many hats and most of them fall into some version art related jobs. The mistake lies in that I did not allow my own art to be primary; not secondary or even further down the totem pole of importance. In short, I repressed my true purpose, heart and soul. Some might call that a form of self abuse and now I wonder. While I am grateful for my life experiences and honored to know that my actions have impacted the lives of many, I cannot help feel that I may well have wasted a lot of my artist time. Where would I be and where my art be had I made it a priority long ago? I simply did not practice what I preach. Thankfully that is in the past. That personal evaluation serves as yet another factor in my maniacal current motivation/work ethic; life it too short......
Part of this self-repression was related to listening to the opines of former teachers/professors. I was told more than once that “I canʼt paint” so stick to 3D art forms. This in addition to my opinion that “oil painting” is the highest form of fine art (right or wrong, thatʼs what leaked in via those many art history classes) and that I surely not be audacious enough to think I could create valid work in that medium. Besides, I had never actually taken an actual painting class. How dare I even consider this as an option for exploring my artistic expression? You canʼt paint, you donʼt even know the rules. Youʼll surely fail. Your too old to switch mediums. That is a barrier/fear that I am proud to say was conquered but deeply wish I had done so long ago.
BC: “Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness visible.” (Carl Jung)... What do you think about this quote? Is it valid for your art work?
RW: Perfect, well put and thought provoking. Itʼs interesting how many artistʼs like to expound about their desire to “capture” the light. Well, thatʼs one option. How about trying to capture the dark? Or how about seeing beyond the obvious? I am far more inspired by what is hard to see than what everyone can easily see. I seek beauty and perhaps, the mysterious, where you might not expect it. What we cannot “see” is certainly open to more interpretation than that which is clear. As an artist, one can choose to expose or explore that which is hidden, unknown and “dark”. This often requires looking deeper than the surface. Peering deep within a dark cave can certainly be just as inspiring as standing atop a mountain in the sunshine. The unknown is usually more terrifying than obvious monsters. Why? Well, I believe itʼs because everyoneʼs imagination is far more powerful when it is fraught with more possibilities than a clearly defined enemy. Take Ridley Scottʼs “Alien” (the first in the series), you never got a clear look at the creature. Even itʼs scale was a mystery. Our imagination made this monster absolute horrifying; even more so than H. R. Gigerʼs or Mr. Scottʼs vision. Why? Because it remained in the dark, mysterious and unknown.
Even love and beauty have a dark, unknown and mysterious side. That is, in part, what makes them so interesting and powerful. Artists can choose to celebrate the “light” or be adventurous and explore the “dark”. It strikes me as odd that many artists, art lovers and the public in general think that the only emotions worthy of expression and celebration are the ones of lightness, happiness, comfort and familiarity. Thereʼs nothing wrong with that but in my opinion, there are many other emotions just as valid, interesting and worthy of exploration. Making “darkness visible” is not just about exposing the monster but can also expose wondrous treasures. Using the cave analogy again, if there had not been someone courageous enough to crawl on their hands and knees into the darkness, we would not now be able to be in awe of such natural wonders as Carlsbad Caverns, Lechuguilla Caves or the art found on the walls of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc caverns in France.
As an artist, I am far more inspired by the depths of love, beauty, mystery, life, death, the spiritual, survival, joy, hate and the “dark” than I am by yet another so called expression of a pretty tree, garden, portrait glowing the diffused morning light or vase of lovely flowers. I strive for my art work to delve into the enigmatic darkness.
BC: What are you trying to do to people with your art?
RW: I never really thought about “trying to do to people” but that actually is an accurate and honest way to put it. One of my goals is to engage people with my paintings. Some artists go to their studios, make art and then really donʼt care (or so they claim) what anyone thinks of the end result; be it the public, critics or the art world in general. Some (many) artists simply want people to like their art so that they will buy it. Some make art that they hope people will notice and be impacted by the artʼs beauty/message/power etc. Ideally...... and artist makes art with no awareness of what people will think or do with it, someone purchases it and then they become famous.....Lofty ideal but rarely achieved and certainly not likely within everyones control.
One of my barometers of success is that my art creates a relationship between a piece and the viewer. I donʼt paint to please others but I do hope to get their attention. Once the work does get them to look, the goal is that the work compels them to look deeper. Maybe the painting will compel the viewer to ponder the story or their “interpretation” of what the painting is trying to say. If the piece is truly successful, it will elicit participation and an emotional response.
“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his or her contribution to the creative act.” - Marcel Duchamp
One of my favorite things to do is to go to a gallery and be the proverbial “fly on the wall”. I will listen to what people are saying about my work. At a recent opening, I looked over and saw four guys looking at “Boy” ( an adolescent laying down under tree branches gazing skyward) and moved in closer to hear the conversations. Two of the guys looked like accountants or bankers with their uniforms of dark blue suits, red ties and perfect hair; letʼs call them Thad and Hunter. Nearby were two young Goth-hippies in their uniforms of ratty black t-shirts, numerous piercings, tattoos, big boots and less than perfect hair; letʼs call them Snake and Slade. They were talking separately with their counterparts and mostly unaware of the other couple. Then in a wondrous moment, one of the “suits”, Thad said “Havenʼt we all done the same thing the boy in the painting is doing; just lay down under a tree and look up through the forest to the clouds and sky above.” Then Snake said “Yeah man. That always makes me peaceful and kind of small.” Hunter and Slade nodded in agreement and then they began interacting with each other and discussing the painting; and perhaps life. They had found common ground and the conversation/discussion/debate was on. These four people that would likely never have even acknowledged each others existence (except maybe with judgement and disdain) were now sharing their thoughts and feelings.
That true story sums up what I hope my art does to people; both individually and hopefully on a collective consciousness level. No greater reward or compliment can I receive.
BC: Can you talk to us about your painting “Faith”? Itʻs very mysterious and it seems to talk about a precise rite...can you reveal what inspired you?
RW: I never explain my paintings. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretation and hopefully they will bring their own life experiences to the process. I want the viewer to be curious enough to first ask themselves what it might mean or how it feels. At some later point, they will naturally wonder the artist was “trying to say.”
The idea for this painting came in stages. As touched upon in a previous question, I have long been fascinated by rites and rituals. It seems we have lost the importance and value of such activities in our contemporary culture. The few that remain are oft dictated by the mundane and obligatory; they have all but lost the magic. Years ago, I had a solo exhibit called “Candlepower”. All the photos were taken and then displayed solely in candlelight. Part of the process was me building a sort of shrine like environment that included close to 500 candles. Then I brought in a few models and placed them in various poses within the shrine and other vignettes. The resulting photographs were truly magical. Even more astounding was the photo session itself. Again, I used artists as models. Most of them had never modeled before and though they knew each other, it was a very unique experience. They loved the entire process. I was but the artist/photographer/documentarian in the darkness. For them it was a bonding and perhaps, on some level a spiritual experience. Within the following months and after the exhibit itself, they all one by one asked me to do another session.
Over time, the thought of facilitating another similar photo session grew to include new ideas and experimentation. Eventually, just such an opportunity was organized and the “Faith” imagery was one of my primary goals. I wanted to create a set where the women where individual and part of a greater whole. Some of the same women from the Candlepower sessions were included and others were added; including a mother and daughter. I arranged them in a range of poses; some moving/dancing and some motionless. I encouraged them to just interact and try whatever they wanted. Again, this all took place in a very dark environment with carefully selected music as part of the process.
One my predetermined “poses” was to have them laying in a circle. The circle is a recurring symbol in virtually every cultureʼs iconography and language. Simply put, I asked them to create a circle and then just let them find their own way. At first they were stiff and controlled or over posed. In time they loosened up and found the circle to be comfortable and natural. They interacted but soon found their own way of “being” within the circle. In actuality, I had created a sort of ritual or ceremony. They needed not know the intent or goal but rather just let it flow and be natural yet special and magical.
When I got back to the studio and looked at the photos, I just let the images germinate and evolve. Through the use of my “artistic license” and intuition, I decided to place them outside in barren landscape within a stone circle. The placement of rocks/stones/boulders/monoliths in a circle is a cross-cultural commonality. Then came the lightning and ethereal light from above. Once again, my life-long fascination the rites and rituals of various cultures inspired me. Such events and occurrences have strong elements of mysticism and the an engagement with the spiritual world.
“Faith” is part documentation of an actual ceremony (the photo session itself) and part historical reference. Such was the merging of my creative imagination with connections found in nature. Though there is possibly a story being told, for me, the real message lies within what these women are feeling not what they symbolize but what is happening at the moment. Imagine what it would feel like to be one of these women; the ritual, the trust, the shared moments, the nudity, the comradeship and freedom. Add the power of lightning and Kaboom! “Faith” was born.
Note One: People ask me if I work from live models. I tell them I work from my photography. Using “Faith” as an example, I say “Itʼs tough enough to get seven women to lie nude on the floor...... once. Let along every day for a month. And, no they were not lying in a thunderstorm.”
Note Two: If you look closely at “Faith” you will see an accurate example of how I use real people as models. I prefer the spectrum of body types, ages, weights etc. to the typical figure drawing/painting/ photography figure models..... borrrrrring. Itʼs another level of me wanting the work to be universal, real, authentic and natural. While much of art is a form of fantasy, that in itself seldom inspires me.
BC: Often in your paintings there is a strong connection between the female figures and animals. Can you tell us the meaning of this choice?
RW: The relationship between animals and female humans is one of allure, beauty, and spirit. I often use them in conjunction with my exploration of the power of nature. Therein lies magic, sensuality and a bit of blissful ambiguity. That combination is an irresistible muse. Womenʼs bodies are glorious and each is unique. To ponder this truth, I seek to find a kinship between women and the animals that walk/fly/swim among us. Animals often serve to guide us on to the spiritual plane. I find the feminine mystique in tune with the conundrums presented by trying to understand the animal world. I envision women being in touch with the animalsʼ spirit world while man is more in relationship with the animalsʼ physical world. If you look closely, in those particular paintings, itʼs as if the animals and the women are in silent communication. In ways, that connection is made more by intuition and trust than by any verbal language - they are kindred spirits or soul mates without saying a word.... perfect.
BC: You have dedicated a part of your art work, “Animalia”, completely to the animals but humanizing them... and there are undoubtedly underlying messages.. can explain it to us?
RW: Ahhh the “Animalia” series. These pieces have been fairly popular as they are an interesting combination of whimsy and mystery. Itʼs fun for me that most people see these as humanizing animals. The truth is that they were all inspired by people -- I guess you could say that I actually was animalizing humans.
Each creature was created as a sort of homage to someone I know. “The Collector” was directly inspired by a close friend that just happens to be an art, antiques & antiquities collector and appraiser. He values his treasures but will gladly show them to you but just donʼt touch. No, he does not look like an orangutan.
The polar bear, “Bon Vivant” is about a dear friend that lives life with such panache, grace and knows how to do it well. This person an artist, poet, writer and gardener extraordinaire. She does all these things in a cocoon of beauty and living the good life.
“Gargoyle” (Komodo Dragon in a cathedral) acknowledges my art history fanatical crony. She lives to visit old houses of worship and seeks out obscure ancient art tomes for her perusal. Her Catholic upbringing.
“The Fauve” seeks to capture the spirit of my many friends and collegues that happen to be photographers. While their work is diverse, they share a common attitude and see life through a lens.
So while these wild beasts may seem to be tame, they were in fact inspired by some very beastlike human comrades is art and life.
BC: Where we can see your art in the future?
RW: There is no real consistency in my exhibition schedule. Having no current commercial gallery representation is a situation that will hopefully be addressed in the not too distant future. This part of the process is every-changing and dynamic. While for years, I have shown in many such venues, itʼs a moving target and one that requires adapting to the ever-changing realities based on trends, market and the challenges of doing business in the art. The fact is that like many artists, finding the right fit can be problematic and even more so for work that is does not fall into traditional categories.
1. My next big exhibit will be a solo show within the walls of two art space/galleries -- Modbo and SPQR in Colorado Springs, CO - USA . The exhibit, “Galerie Vivante”, will open June 8th.
2. Examples of my work can also be found in two books published by Fantasmus - Artbooks. “Imaginaire III” and recently released “Imaginaire IV - Contemporary Magic Realism”. Both can be found and purchased online and in bookstores.
Note: Two other publications that will include more work will be available soon. 3. Virtual galleries and links:
Just Art-e: Website:
BC: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?
RW: Itʼs completely presumptuous of me to tell other artists what to do but I certainly can offer some insight that relates to my not short artist path. I learned far more from failure than success. I surely do wish that someone had passed along their insights to me long ago.
Most importantly one must make art a priority. It is so easy to get sidetracked and distracted when making art is too far down the food chain. Artists must make choices that enable them to keep art dominate in their every day lives. Keep your overhead costs (rent, loans, food) as low as possible so that you are forced to take on “jobs” that sap your art time and energy. If one must have employment, opt for whatever that will afford you the most time to make art; be cautious where you spend your creativity. Years down the road do you really want to look back be proud of your car, house, vacations or your art? Be protective of your passion and make decisions that give it the care it deserves.
Simply put.... Time is your most precious commodity. Make more art now!
Focus people focus. Itʼs alright to experiment and explore but at some point one is usually best served to concentrate on but a few directions. When an artist is young (in years or experience) it is fine to try various media, tools, content, direction, “isms” etc. However eventually there comes a time to narrow the field. Artists and their work will always (hopefully) evolve. So, there is no need to fear concentrating on but a few media and/or direction. Commitment to a “style” or direction will actually more often than not produce more, not less, opportunities. Make more art now!
Another area that I highly recommend is that artists must find their own voice. We are all influenced by other artists and their work but that does not mean one must fit neatly into categories established by others. Seek your heart of hearts and personal vision. This discovery alone will help you focus and develop a stronger work ethic. Make more art now!
Finally...... Art matters! It is not a merely a hobby or way to pass time. Art defines who we are as a people and culture. Art need not be dark and morose but it is serious and deserves to be treated as such. Many people and circumstances will conspire to prevent you from this worthy endeavor and you must not allow them to do so. Everyone would be better if art was an active part of their lives. It puts one in touch with themselves. It encourages compassion and a deeper level of self-awareness. Art need not be motivated by the act of selling objects. The value lies in part by the shear will and imagination it takes to create it. Think of musicians, they make music and express themselves without the expectation that every time they play, someone will reward them with money. Most musicians make music for the absolute joy it brings them as they create it and to those fortunate enough to hear it while they are doing so.
Take yourself seriously. Play. Take art seriously. Lighten up. Aim high. Experiment. Surround yourself with winners. Be willing to fail miserably. Honor your successes. Be professional. Be open to the unexpected. Work hard. Seek help. Collaborate. Be private. Be authentic and sincere.
ps. If you donʼt have a good website, you are a fool. Oh yeah.....
Make more art now!
Oh yeah..... Make more art now!
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Category: Interviews 2012