Interview with Roberto Carlos Rosas

Interview conducted by Christopher S. Feltner

One of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and an incredible artist. Roberto Carlos Rosas was the easy choice for the first strictly visual-based artist to be featured on this site.

Now, the man, himself...

When did you first start to draw and paint?

Well, the rumor is that when I was two years old, I used to walk around with a pen and paper, and act like I was writing things down. They named me Juan Montalvo, a famous poet in Ecuador. I guess that's when the bug bit me.

Did you inherit creative genes from your parents? Were they creative people?

I would say that the creative side is from my mother's family. My father's side is more logical and practical. They are all math geniuses while my mom's side of the family is all creatives...painters, poets, musicians... They also have the most problems with addictions. (laughs)

As do a LOT of artists!

How many mediums do you work in? Do you have a preference?

I don't like to stick to one medium. As they say, "Styles define us, but they also confine us." I try to use something different every time I tackle a new project. My fall back is spray paint and airbrushing, but I have mad skills with a paintbrush. Pencil is the alpha and omega though.

What type of subject matter do you usually create?

I wake up and whatever I think of from the night before, I write down. I walk into the studio and mess around with media from the night before, and sort of sift through photos or magazines, and books (I have an extensive library). But, I guess Fantasy and Horror dominate the majority of my body of work, but I'm really stuck on portraits, right now. I don't know; ask me next week! (laughs)

There is a certain beauty in the macabre, right? As humans we are fascinated with death and violence. Maybe that's what I draw upon most days. I stopped drinking, so maybe my mindset will influence what I paint now. Who knows? Next question.

I read recently that Dali used a tentacle of an octopus or squid to paint on a certain piece. What is the most unorthodox method you have used to create a piece?

WOW! Dali was one of a kind. I have always admired him, but I never dreamt of him like I did with Picasso. It was like I was interviewing him for a documentary or something. The most unorthodox method of applying media to a surface was when I used a dead frog, which was partially desiccated, when I lived in Florida. My teacher was not amused. But, since she studied at Pratt in NYC, she didn't dissuade me from experimenting.

The painting sucked, big time, but I was embracing different techniques.

Where have you shown your work?

In my whole career as an "artist," Ecuador...Ft. Lauderdale, Florida...Savannah, Georgia...Winchester, VA. Apparently, I have a piece hanging in Minnesota. That's pretty much it. The internet will free me, eventually. I hope.

A common point of view is that artists create best when dealing with negative things in their lives. Chuck Palahniuk's book "Diary" was based on this, to the extreme. But, on the other hand... David Lynch believes the opposite. Give your two cents on this.

Two icons; two opinions. My take is that whatever you feel in the moment is truth. If you are talented enough to pull it from your head and present it visually for another person to see it, well that's the miracle we all hope for. That's the dream. Validation.

I personally have gone through a blender, and have escaped with only my sanity in tact (I think). I'm ashamed to say that I didn't pick up a brush during that time, but it really was waaayyy too much to process, in the moment. However, I did begin to write again in order to document my feelings and whatever craziness was ricocheting around in my mind. I am bound and determined to bring this out and present it to the masses, eventually. But, the truth is that suffering and pain can liberate some pretty gruesome stuff from your subconscious. You may be one heartbreak from your opus, man.

What artists (in any medium/method) inspire you most?

Bacon, Dali, Moebius, Pollock, Giger, Rembrandt, lusko, Boris, vallejo, Banksy... Basically, anyone who pushes the boundaries. I know that sounds trite, but I can't go around and name everyone who has influenced my life and art, but I can say that from own experiences, it has always been that one person who says "fuck you" to the establishment, self-destructs and leaves behind a brief (but meaningful) piece that he/she poured their soul and sadness and grief into. That pain that we all feel. That, to me, is an inspiration.

The street artists that made a difference a while ago have now turned into a pile of copy-cats. We need more experimentation. We can't just sit and expect the moment to hit us. It won't happen unless you go out there and attack it like a bear. Art saves lives.

Roberto Carlos Rosas - The Lab

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