Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rich Pop Bohema | An interview with Rudy Fig

What was growing up for you like?

I had a very chaotic childhood.  Both of my parents were toy designers and slightly unstable so things were both fun and crazy.  I grew up pretty quickly and my pets were my best friends.  I'm much more normal now, sort of. 

Were you always interested in art an early age or was it something that grew into?

Yep, I've been making thing since I was very young.  Ever since grade school people would tell me "OOh derka derpa doo your going to be an artist"  I always blew it off and thought it was annoying.  One day I woke up and it was true.   

Did you undertake any official art training?

My parents were very creative and I picked up a lot from them.  I remember very vividly, when I was three, my mom taught me how to add reflections to jingle bells on one of those silly gas station Rudolf the reindeer coloring book contest pages.  For a while, when I was a kid, before computers, my mom was a designer for commercial Halloween and Easter products, so I learned a lot about old-school product design.  She also used to paint the eyes on doll prototypes, so I have always been attracted to dolly eyes.   My dad was an aerospace engineer and toy designer so I picked up some stuff from him too.  I also went to a high school that focused on the arts, and later I flunked out of art college.  

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from everything.  Life experience mostly.  My work is a way for me to process and regurgitate the things that I think about.  I like outer space, the redwood forests, cake, animals, emotions, colorful hair, lace, glitter... I could go on forever...  

Where do you come up with a lot of the girls faces and mannerisms? Are they semi-based on people you know or fairy tales or simply people grown in your imagination?

The characters in my work seem to manifest themselves.  I really don't think about it at all.  I just sort of paint what feels right at the moment and when I'm done it's like "hmm... that was interesting."  I very rarely predetermine the mood of a piece, I just sort of let it flow and it happens on its own.   I do enjoy fairy tales though, I'm sure I have a lot of subconscious influences that affect the feeling of my work.

How would you describe your art?

 I don't like this questions but I get it a lot.  :)   I would say it's an illustrative mix with both whimsical and macabre elements.  I like to let the viewer decide what it's all about since for me it is personal and I can't always explain what's going on

I feel a kind of quirky whimsical surrealist aesthetic when I look at your work but there also seems to be many dimensions to your work that feel true and maybe even sometimes dark. How do you find a happy medium when working on a piece and deciding where you want it to go versus where it could take you?

I usually just let my paintings take me wherever they want.  It's a complex battle between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, the orderly and the insane, pushing and pulling.  I don't really direct the process too much.  I barely sketch things out beforehand because I like to leave voids for spontaneous ideas and turn of events.  I let the work take me anywhere or else I grow bored and lose interest.  

Who are some of your own favourite artists and why?

I have oodles of favorite artists.  I'm a big art history nerd and I have a thing for French 17th century rococo artists, I like the political chaos that is infused in the work.  I also like Caravaggio, Artists of the Nouveau movement, Botticelli, and a whole slew of modern artists like Will Cotton, Murakami, Bei Badgirl (and tons of others!) as well. 

Is there a particular person or artist you would love to work with? 

Probably.  I like collaborating with others when it is appropriate, but I can't think of anyone off hand.  I'll probably think of someone in 10 minutes...

Would you say you are at that stage in your art career now where you can live almost solely off your art's earnings or is that something that's still a little ways off?

Yep, I don't have any other job besides making art, I haven't since I was about 20.  I manage to feed my dog and my baby and pay the bills, but it isn't always easy. That being said,  I wouldn't change a thing.  

What are your favourite colours and materials to work with?

I love saturated pastels, deep blacks, Neon nebula, earthy browns, Juicy greens, Icy blues and everything in between.  My favorite medium is oil paint.  I often experiment with other mediums though, I like to play. 

There are a lot of females, animals and bright colour schemes in your work that evoke a lot of emotion and whimsy. When your working on a piece are there central themes you tend to re-visit or concepts you like to base your projects on?

Most of my work usually starts with a sad looking female character.  It is sort of indirect, subconscious self portraiture.  Some of my favorite themes to revisit include tea parties, space gardens and sweets. 

Is there any direction you would like to go with your art that you haven't conceptualised yet?

I'm certain there is.  I have ideas up the wazoo and notebooks upon notebooks full of concepts that I haven't had time to develop.  I would love to explore as many directions as I can with my career and work.   Life is a balancing act. 

What can we expect from Rudy Fig in the future?

Lots of things!  Paintings, dolls, prints, collaborations, fashion, installations, and all of the above.  I have my hands in a bajillion projects at the moment and I am always adding things to my to do list.