Interview with David Ruhlmanq) Introduce yourself first please?
a)My name is David Ruhlman. I was born in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent a good deal of my youth moving around. In my youth I lived in ten different states in a 12-year period. Spent the last ten years of my life in Salt Lake City, Utah.
q) How did you get into art?
a)Art was born in my blood. My younger brother Mathieu was quite influential. We would spend hours listening to strange music and try and make even stranger artwork. We made a few art zines together. My early drawings were surrealist influenced pen and ink drawings. I then went into a self-imposed exile and made these unusual hand-made books. Made over 40 books within a 2-year period. The last of these books I used gouache and thought that I should make something I could hang on my wall. I then started painting. I taught myself how to paint and have been painting with gouache on wood for the last 5 years. It has been within this time that I have shown the outside world the objects/paintings that I have been making.
q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?
a)I would again say my brother Mathieu. We would always try and outdo each other, and try and impress the other. The art and writings of Jean Dubuffet were very influential. A qoute of his that I love states "Art should always make people laugh a little and frighten them a little. Anything but bore them. Art has no right to be boring." He opened my eyes to an art that I was searching for. I also love reading artist/poet biographies. Rimbaud, Max Ernst and Edvard Munch are a few of my favorites.
q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind?
a)I work intuitively. I think this goes back to being self-taught. I don’t have a lot of confinements placed on what I should or should not do with my artwork. I read a qoute that make sence to me "I paint what I want to see."
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)I would have to say gouache. I started with gouache and haven’t used anything else since. I tried oil and acrylic once, but didn’t like it. I have a love for found objects and collage material. I would still like to try etching or woodcuts in the future.
q) How much does your environment have an effect on your pictures?
a)Environment plays a big role. Salt Lake City has many advantages and disadvantages. It is a bizarre place. It has been helpful because you can be left alone and it isn’t too expensive to live. There are also some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable (Goblin Valley, Bryce Canyon.) My series “ the earth grows in each of us” came to me as I was hiking up in the canyons. There isn’t much of an art scene. It allows to work on your artwork without a lot of outside "noise." This is difficult at times. But there are some great artists here that unfortunately many others aren’t aware of. Salt Lake is a strange place inhabited by strange spirits.
q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work? Do you listen to certain types of music while working?
a)I work at my home. I haven’t ever thought of having a studio. My work is quite detailed so I don’t have a lot of paint going everywhere. I work on the floor with the board on the ground. This has been a bit difficult on my back as of late- will have to find something new soon. Oh, the music question. I always have music playing in the background. I usually listen to a wide varity of music.
q) Who are your favorite artists?
a)Jean Dubuffet, Wallace Berman, Paul Klee, Werner Herzog, Andrei Tarkosky, Joseph Beuys, Max Ernst, Windor McCay, Ivan Generalic , Hundertwasser, Steve Smith (oneiricrealism.com) Cein Watson, Camilla Engman, Sri Whipple.
q) Any interesting "rituals" before you start creating?
Thanks for your time.