Monday, March 23, 2009

THE MEANING OF -re-: Interview with Rodney White

I would like to introduce my good friend, artist extraordinaire, Rodney White. The two of us are working on a collabo piece for my next show opening April 6th, so we recently sat down and talked about life and art, the meaning of rebirth, and everything that has to do with 'starting anew'. Truly inspirational, to say the least. [photo by Stephanie Land]

What do you do? Where are you from?
I am an artist and an Art director for an ad agency. I am from Augusta, GA. The South.

Could you talk about your background...does it reflect in your work?
I am from a small city. Not a country in landscape and expanse, but country in its sense of culture and outlook. Augusta was and still is not very advanced in its risk taking. So even as a kid, I fantasized about something bigger and better for myself. So those fantasies and pep talks found their way into what I do now.

How did your art evolve? Did you always paint?
No I didn't always paint. But I drew a lot as a kid. And strangely, I drew a lot of words. Graffiti inspired type started my fascination with typography and words.. But I was very much into visualizing a world and bringing that world to the page. Then I started writing poetry. And I longed for a way to make my poetry visual. Then came what I do now.

You recently had a life-transforming event that had a huge effect on your life. You mentioned that you feel like you restarted your life. Could you explain how this experience reflects in your art? Any new directions?
I was in a major car accident in May '08 and that showed me immediately how fallible I am. I admit to feeling a little untouchable before that. And after my miraculous recovery that wasn't easy though I made it appear that way, I had been giving a lot of thought to my life. And truth be known, I flatlined that night of the accident. You can't get any closer to not being here than that. So that gave new meaning to a concept I had only touched on in my work a little. I began to see myself as having a second chance at life. Which spawned the "RE:" series. An opportunity to do everything over. "RE: Do"

We are in the middle of doing a collabo for my next show on April 6th, the Hermetic Test. Could you tell me a little about your piece?

As a part of the "RE:" Series I did a piece entitled "RE: Define". It was tough dealing with the accident psychologically. And I had to really think about what my dreams and goals were. I had to redefine them because I am no longer the same person, therefore my old goals were a bit outdated. but before I could redefine my goals, I had to first redefine who I AM.

You see a lot of artists going beyond the classic role of painter, and thinking of themselves more as brands with outlets in fashion, advertisement and so on? How do you see yourself as an artist living & creating in the new millenium?
No doubt I see myself as a brand. I always did. Even before brush first touched wood. I am a lifestyle brand. My work truly is a reflection of the viewer's lifestyle. Whether in actuality or in aspiration. I truly enjoy encouraging a better idea for life. And if I can get that message across in other areas, all the better. I am truly an optimist. And a dreamer. But dreams come before reality. What happens in the mind, truly happens.

What is your vision for the next 3 years?

3 years isn't a long time, but in that short time, first and foremost I am building a brand. That will include men's and women's fashion, home furnishings and accessories, coffee table books and poetry books. Then after all this, I plan to maintain my happiness.

CHECK OUT RODNEY IN ACTION!

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