Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interview with Joe Ryckebosch

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)My name is Joe Ryckebosch

q) Where do you live and work?

a) I live and work in Portland, Oregon amidst the rivers and forestry.

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a) Re-mixed and appropriated found nature and wildlife images with geometric lines and patterns intertwined.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a) Well, my mother used to paint a lot with oils and acrylics. I tried getting into that years ago and it never really worked out. In college I took some pottery classes and really felt connected to that process. I still like entertain the idea of someday getting back into making pottery. The process is meditative and self-medicating. When I finally started doing my own thing (in about 2004) I sorta happened upon it by accident. I really only starting making art in this manner to help soothe my OCD. It worked as a remedy and soon I was making pieces non-stop. I never intended to sell or show any of my work, seriously, I thought it sucked for the most part and really just did it for myself. I feel like I'm not a real artist, but rather just a guy who perhaps maybe got lucky with something that not a whole lot other people were doing. The art world is strange to me and I really do not understand it at all. I do love art, and seeing other people's art inspires me. But at the same time there is a ton of crap out there and it is getting attention for whatever hyperbolic reason. It drives me nuts. I'm sure a lot of people have seen my work and thought, "Who the hell is this guy??" Haha. I make art as a way to cope with the horrors of real life.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a) I use Chartpak graphic tape, Formaline graphic tape, Letraset graphic tape, and many other antiquated design/architectural devices. Basically, if I could raid the supply room of a big architectural firm in perhaps the mid 1980s, I would be a very happy person. Of course, I use the images I find as a sort of "medium" as well. I like the idea of all of these things being not so readily available. It takes me a long time to track down this out-dated tape in the colors that I like. It also takes a long time to find just the right image to "re-mix". I enjoy all aspects of hunting down these materials. It makes me feel like I am truly doing something different. But really, this world is huge (or small) and there is likely some guy just down the street doing the exact same thing as me, know what I mean? He just hasn't taken the time to get it seen yet. I soon shall be yesterday's news.

q) What/who influences you most?

a) Outside forces. Laserbursts in the woods. Unnatural occurences in natural settings. The sleepy strange. Dusty old memories of simple and meaningful times. Seeing the treeline in a forest and imagining myriad colors shooting around it.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a) Well, after I work my boring day-job. I come home and start right in on a project. Sometimes it is done in 1 hour, sometimes it takes 1 week. Depends on the size and how many times I've scrapped it altogether and started over.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a) I would LOVE to do this all the time, full time. But America is fucked and does not treat its artists very well. So I still have to have a full time job and basically do my art on the side. But it is very much a second job to me and I treat it as such. I dedicate all of my useful energy into making art. It really is the only thing that makes sense, art is the only thing that makes sense -- now more than ever before, anywhere.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a) Hmmmm....I am such a luddite when it comes to this. I really enjoy the works of Mark Gonzales, Ed Templeton, Chris Johannsen and Ian Pedigo. I like the scrappy sense of these artists, and their non-conformative ideas on how things should be put together.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a) I include the time it takes to hunt down proper images, so it depends, really. 1 hour to 1 month in some instances.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a) I do enjoy selling them, though there were some pieces that I am very sad are gone from me forever. They certainly represented a time and place, a certain thought or feeling that I'll never get back. But hopefully whoever purchased it enjoys it and it means just as much to them, in a different way, of course.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a) I love music and I play music. I play drums. I play in a couple of bands here in Portland. These days I'm listening to just a bunch of random bands. I really enjoy the early '90s UK shoegaze scene -- bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, and Slowdive. These bands will always be my favorites. But one new-ish band had inspired me to start making my nature paths series of artworks and that is a band called Boards of Canada. I can't explain it really, but I would like some of my pieces to actually sound like songs from BOC's Music Has a Right to Chilldren album. I think that came out in 1999 or 2000, so really not that long ago, but the sounds on that album are timeless. Listen to it, you'll see!!

q) Books?

a) Jonathan Ames is my favorite author. I like graphic novels too -- A. Tomine, D. Clowes, and Joe Matt.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a) The creative process is so fickle; here today and gone tomorrow. When I get an idea I try to work as fast as possible. I like to get into a flow and just keep going until the I feel the piece needs a break. I like to come back to it in a day or two and continue where I left off. I feel very satisfied when I know everything is coming together the right way. Sometimes it goes the wrong way and it is very discouraging or perhaps encouraging. I've made so many mistakes and then just gone with it that it actually turns out better than expected. I love the idea of chance and trial and error.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)Being with my wife, walks with the dog, playing druns, skateboarding, and watching old Northern Exposure episodes on DVD.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a) Not at the moment. I have a little show coming up at this hipster coffee shop in here in Portland in October, but nothing sooner - I should get on the ball with that!

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a) Not really. I never have time to follow those things. I'd rather just work on my own art and if somebody (like yourself) sees it and likes it, that makes me very happy.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a) This is tough! Hmmm...okay...q) How much longer can you keep this up? a) 2 more years and then I need to move onto something else. Soon enough they'll know I'm a charlatan with no fine arts degree. Shit.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a) Take long walks and breathe deeply exactly five times. I do this and it helps me think and focus on projects.

q) Where can we see more of your work online?

a) Updated news and works are best seen at