Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Q + A: Jesse Riggle

Name: Jesse Riggle
Age: 31
Location: Just moved back to Minneapolis

Q: How and when did you first become interested in art and illustration?
Short Answer: Grade school I guess.

Super long boring answer: I think it maybe began in third grade when I won a contest with the local paper. I drew a Pizza Hut ad. I took special care to draw lots of detail, like mushrooms. It got picked and was printed. My art-ego immediately grew to absurd proportions. To to point that in 4th grade I made a book about Godzilla, Kind Kong, and Vanna White. In my author bio I had the audacity to point out how known I was for art. But then in 5th grade I was dethroned by a new art kid. And it was that art kid, my now good friend Tony D'Amato that I credit with pushing me in the direction of drawing stuff for my 'career'. Mostly cartoons and comic books back then.

Q: Do you have a strategy for starting a project? Any warm-up rituals?

My strategy is one of self-imposed mental anguish coupled with excessive procrastination until a deadline forces me to do something. It's a terrific way to work and I recommend it to anyone looking to increase their blood pressure, loose their hair, or induce massive heartburn. Coffee helps too.

*This sounds more dire than it really is.

Q: Can you briefly explain your illustration process?

Sure, why not. Here is a list:
1. I attempt to draw what I am going to illustrate.
2. Then I get bored and spend some time doodling nonsense.
3. Then I take the least formed drawing I made and scan it in to the computer
4. I then 'finalize' a drawing in some art program or other
5. Then I decide maybe I should do something else
6. Then I Draw some other stuff...
7. Then realize the first thing I drew was probably a better idea...
8. Transfer it to whatever I am doing the final version with
9. Finish it

*sorry for the overuse of the word 'then' in that list

If anyone wants fancy technical info about my painting process, prepping surfaces, transferring drawings, under paintings, varnishing, or whatever, I am always happy to share.

Q: You exhibit your work in a ton of awesome shows, and galleries. What has been your favorite show so far?

Is there a dream show you'd like to organize / be a part of?
Oh, I don't have favorites really. I guess the most excited I ever got for a show was the first one I was in, which was a show themed on childhood toys at Gallery 1988 in LA. I painted Muscle Men, which were these weird little pink plastic monsters kids collected back when toys were still cool. I was (and still am) a huge fan of that gallery and was elated they accepted my submission.

My dream show is a solo show full of whatever I want to paint.

Q: Do you think you’re first illustration jobs came more from promoting yourself or from knowing people and having connections?

Ha, my first illustration job was making math charts for kids text books. Well, that might not be strictly speaking true, but it was my first paid freelance work (and probably why I don't do freelance now). I got it from straight-up self promotion, though how a postcard of lumpy people made someone think I could make squares and circles in illustrator is beyond me...

Since I am not really a practicing illustrator, I guess I should answer this to the tune of gallery group shows I have been in. Those I got via blind submissions I sent to galleries. I sent out a lot of submissions. I need to send out more now that I think about it...

Those shows have also then spawned some additional shows and commissions here and there.

Q: You've contributed to quite a few swaps on the Ten Paces blog - what has been your favorite? Are there any new themes you would like to see thrown into the mix?

My favorite Ten Paces thing I made was for old Folks. Niki Maro gave me a terrific sketch and I painted something that I both like and kind of disturbs me all at the same time. The holy grail in my opinion.

As for themes, I don't know, things I like maybe, video games, movies, travel, pig-related products.

Q: What are a few favorite pastimes aside from making awesome illustrations?

I like to think about playing video games and sometimes I play them too. I am a TV junkie, I watch all the shows. I eat whenever and whatever I can, food adventures are high on my list of useful ways to spend time and money (you probably all think I am a 400lb whale now...). I also like to travel whenever and wherever I can. I love mountains and all the activities they entail.

Q: You recently moved from Brooklyn, NY to Minneapolis, MN. Does where you live influence your work at all? What about Minneapolis inspires you? (People, scenery, environment, etc.)

I think it does. I don't know though. I didn't paint bums or sidewalks when I lived in NYC, and I don't paint snow and jell-o salad when living in Minneapolis, so I guess the inspiration stuff goes on behind the scenes in my brain.

People where I live definitely inspire me. And I am surrounded by tons of super dedicated art-people 'round these parts.

Q: What are you currently working on – a job, a personal piece? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

I've been working on picking out a TV to buy, which is way harder than it sounds.

Soon, I have a couple more shows to make work for at Gallery 1988 in LA. I don't think the shows have been officially announced yet, so right now they are secrets. I also have some ideas brewing for personal work.

Q: Is there anything we should know about you or your illustration work?

I wouldn't presume to know what you need to know but if there is something you'd like to know that I know I can share that knowledge.

For more of Jesse's amazingly lumpy work check out his website, and blog!

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