The month of March is quite the birth month of some very well known artists (musical and painters); Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Bach. It made us realize we don’t feature nearly enough artists…of the canvas kind. As it turned out, call it divine intervention, I met someone in the last couple of weeks that shared some of her work with me. I was very impressed and am excited to share her story and just a few pieces of her work, that varies from whimsical to provocative (all beautiful) with you today. Be sure to check out her website to view more of her work, and perhaps add a piece to your home or office.
I recently had the opportunity to view some of your paintings and you are a talented artist! Please share with our readers what type of art you create and what medium you use.
Thank you! I typically create paintings using acrylics and love doing interior mural work. I’m fairly versatile when it comes to subject matter… everything from nursery murals to not-safe-for-work images. My style is consistently bright, animated, and whimsical. I’m an escapist at heart, and it’s therapeutic to create images rooted in fantasy when life so often tries to keep you grounded in reality.
What are you most known for painting?
That answer depends on if you’re talking about my appropriate paintings or the ones you hide from grandma! No doubt I’m known for the art with more, shall we say “adult” content? But, I use that term loosely since my intention is always playful, and I enjoy making otherwise conservative grown-ups giggle. Overall I think my artwork is known for being unexpected. My painting process is thought out only so far as an outline, then I just sort of let my mind wander and often get surprised by the finished product.
Were you always interested in art? How did you get your start?
I’m a firm believer that anyone with a hyperactive imagination and a crayon at a young age inevitably becomes some kind of artist. For me, art has always been a means of exercising absolute control over something when I felt that control was taken away by “the real world.” My dad died when I was two, and I spent a lot of time alone with art supplies and vivid daydreams. My “weirdness” was always encouraged by my family, so I was never afraid to push the envelope and that kind of support has always made art an integral part of my existence.
Did you have a formal education in art?
I’ve only taken a few classes in high school and college. I would always get into arguments with the teachers because I feel there’s a huge disconnect between teaching art and teaching technique. If someone says to draw an apple using water colors, and I decide to make that apple blue with vines sprouting out of it, don’t tell me “that’s not what apples look like.” Sir, that is what my apple looks like, and I’ve done what you asked, so don’t tell me it’s wrong. If a teacher says “nice blue apple, you know, if you use a little less water you can deepen the colors along the edges and add depth,” that’s a fine suggestion! I believe an art teacher’s job should be to expose their students to all the many mediums, styles, and methods available to create and enhance their art, and offer suggestions and help when they’re having difficulty translating their vision into reality. Unfortunately there are too few art educators who would agree.
Are there any artists that inspire(d) you? What gives you your inspiration?
Salvador Dali’s work influenced my style more than anyone else. Anything in the genre of surrealism cannot be a painting at a glance, meaning it’s not a landscape or still-life that you think “nothing I haven’t seen before” and just pass by with a vague appreciation. Each painting of Dali’s, in particular, is a world within itself and I love artwork that has transportive power. It’s typical but I’m a sucker for Vincent Van Gogh, not just for being an absolute genius but because he was so misunderstood and underappreciated in his time. Every artist should emulate his persistence (not his life, please keep your ears) in creating your art as your own truth, even if you’re wildly unpopular. Most of the inspiration for my paintings comes straight out of my dreams. Sometimes I just doodle and let my imagination flow… and other times someone will say “how about you paint a fire breathing vagina dragon” and I think “challenge accepted.”
Speaking of fire breathing vagina dragons, some of your paintings are, shall we say, a bit “mature”. How would you describe them and how do people react when they see them?
Ha! The word “evocative” comes to mind. I think the worst thing that can happen to an artist is to show someone your work and they barely react at all. I always have a moment of hesitation before showing some people the more graphic pieces thinking “this is the day I offend someone beyond repair.” Luckily, the reaction has historically been very positive. I simply try to subvert the societal taboo on sex being something that is intrinsically pornographic and must only exist in the shadows. My work is playful, edgy, and a much needed break from convention.
Have you sold any of those pieces?
I’ve sold many pieces but I usually categorize what a painting will be before I even begin… “For Others” are usually commissioned pieces that I start and finish knowing it belongs to someone else, and I let what I know of them influence how it turns out. The “For Me” ones are harder to part with because they are purely spontaneous and personal, so if I do sell them it’s less about compensation and more about knowing they are going to a good home.
What’s your favorite thing to work on?
Walls, especially interior mural work. There’s something very freeing about not being confined to a canvas, and knowing what you’re doing is going to be a permanent fixture in someone’s home or workplace. For the same reasons, I really enjoy flipping furniture. Painting dressers or cabinets is such a fun challenge because it provides a three dimensional workspace with interesting textures to build on. I particularly enjoy painting nurseries. It’s absolutely magical thinking that a brand new human is going to be exposed to art before they can even begin to define it, and that I helped provide that creative space in some small way.
Do you have a Facebook page or anything like that? How can people find out more about your work and/or hire you?
I only recently became interested in sharing my work with a wider audience. Creating art is an intimate experience for me, and I try to only take on commissions that I know will be meaningful for someone. My facebook gallery is restricted to friends due to some particular content red-flags. But I will be updating my deviantart page in the next few weeks so you can view my gallery at http://rhidickulous.deviantart.com/gallery/
If you’d like to contact me regarding potential commissions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, what advice would you give to someone that is pursuing art as a career or even trying to find their “style”?
My mom tried to enroll me in art classes at a very young age, and I don’t know who to thank for it but, the teacher said something along the lines of “don’t have your child ‘learn’ the ‘right’ way to do things this young, it’ll stifle her creativity. Let her try what she likes then decide on her own if she wants to learn different techniques.” That shaped my approach to art classes later in life. There is no right or wrong way to express yourself artistically, and the worst thing you can do is let your confidence be tainted by criticism (that’s true in art and in life). I’ve also committed myself to trying to keep it a hobby and not a career choice. As soon as art becomes your main source of income, your livelihood is dependant on other people’s “demand” for your “product” and that pressure can ruin your love for the craft. So my advice is do what you love for the sake of doing it, and do it your own way and be unapologetic.