Feature/Interview with Artist Kameron Richie

Every artist is different. Edit: every artist tries to be different. With the exception of those dudes on Deviant art drawing cartoon characters and pictures of their “girlfriends” those dudes are content with there thing. Now Kameron, he’s different and I’m pretty sure he’s not trying for it. He’s got some pretty traditional influences but kind of just tetters off from them after they’re established to come up with this entirely new thing that, while recognizable, is not something that mimics anything else. We caught with him and had him explain his illustration heresy:

Your illustration tends to mix some of the more realistic sides of the genre with a more freedom from form approach. Is that a result of mixed influences?

Upon learning intaglio I have yet to go back to any other printmaking process such as screen printing or relief. I guess I saw a major trend in illustration where most everyone was quite traditional (which I like), drawing and defining things definitely with a straight forward approach. Combined with my interest in photography I got a little disinterested in depicting everything 100%, and decided to take a different approach.

Silk screening seems to be more of a designer thing, was it just a thing you encountered and said why not, or was their some training or process that led to you into the medium?

I’d have to disagree with you on ‘silk screening being a designer thing’; illustration widely benefits from the medium. Reason being, I started out my college career as a designer, and a few friends got me into printmaking. I started taking classes and fell in love with it, and began to double major. That didn’t last
long, printmaking, initially screen printing, stole me away from design completely.

What kind of press do you have and is it something that you use for commercial purposes? Do you ever work as a screener for hire, or is it more of a tool to produce the kind of work you like to do?

I honestly don’t own a press of any kind, but most of my work is completed in the printmaking lab at my university. I work at a t-shirt printing place in town where we do constant amounts of commercial work, but on occasion when I have the time I do freelance print for hire. For my personal work, I only use screen printing to get my images onto my copper for etching. The etching press is my home.

There is an orchestrated quality to a lot of your work that goes beyond sketches and the usual illustration. I think the way I’d describe it is shape oriented, designed and drawn at the same time. Do you do design work or is it just a style choice?

Even though I’m no longer a design student I still apply what I learned to my work. Recently, I’ve been designing my stencils to print onto copper in Illustrator and Photoshop. Afterwards, when I’m going through my aquatint I’m intuitively painting inside the stencils with acid stop out. I kind of let the acid etch paint for me, it’s a controlled but also quietly chaotic way of making images.

Can you describe the thesis work you’ve done, it seems to vary greatly from your other pieces, more of a neat and minimal quality to it. Is it the sign of a greater switch in your style or an experiment that will be incorporated into your art overall?

I’d say it’s a switch of directions for a period of time, but I can’t say I won’t pop in a few traditional illustrations every now and then. Here’s a thesis statement I’ve recently written:

‘My prints consist of compositions of contained shapes filled with shifting valued forms both merging and breaking away from each other. There are definite boundaries not only for the ethereal symbols these works represent, but also a lack of information. My work is a derivative and a somewhat illustrative measure of handpicked concepts from Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series. I am picking instances from the novels that contain multiple similar objects and pinpointing parts of the story where the novelist has not explained much of anything very clearly. I attempt to take what little information is given in the books and reiterate them through the intaglio process, maintaining the loose sense of wonder with which the written concepts are delivered. As I do not receive a fully fleshed description, I am not able to provide one. This is where I sit as a reader and where I would like to keep you as my work’s viewer.’

In addition to his illustration and printing work Kameron is also a talented photographer and a few pieces really caught my eye because of  their unique aesthetic. There’s a thematic crossover between mediums that adds the same story telling style seen in his illustrations.

What kind of art culture is there in Texas, obviously there’s Austin. but everything else seems to be a little less art oriented. Are us outsiders just talking out of our asses? Is there some secret awesome Texas art coalition?

You guys could be spewing some butt juice, outside of Austin, Marfa, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Dallas all have pretty sufficient art communities. I don’t know anything about a Texas artist illuminati, but who’s to say.

Does your work tend to be something that you build narratives or concepts around or is it more of a this idea I have seems cool let’s make this into some art?

This current series is wound tightly around the writing language of The Dark Tower, but I’m drawn to
instances where there are multiple reoccurring objects or concepts. I’m not building a narrative just
reiterating, but I definitely believe the King is cool.
Are you a literature kind of guy? There seems to be some sort of dramatic presence to your work that’s more story than melodrama. What books are you reading going into each piece or even at the moment?

I’m glad you asked, I read quite a bit of Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series (as I mentioned before), but much of my other work also stems from personal writings, Brothers Grimm tales, anatomical textbooks, etc.

Will you be showing anytime soon? Or producing any new series that we should keep an eye out for?

I tend to show in group shows here and there, and on May 1st I find out if I was accepted into the Texas Biennial. This current series is at least going to continue through next winter, but other than that I’m going to continue taking photos, participating in zines, group exhibitions and the like. Keep an eye out for sure.

If you’d like to catch some more of his work visit his website and look out for this guy because this won’t be the last time you’ll hear of him.

-Cameron Patton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s