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Revo Dubois is one of the most talented Bay Area artists that you've yet to hear about. Yet to, cause while he's just getting going he's young, hungry, and about to make some waves during his upcoming residency at New York's School of Visual Arts. And this isn't just some residency, this is some fancy shit. Prestigious one might say. That one being me. And he's got some ambitious plans to get there. During his month long residency this summer he's going to paint 100 pieces and put together a book to raise funds for his tuition. His campaign is here.
I sat down with him (read: emailed him some questions) for a little interview to try and get the word out about him, his art, his residency, and his campaign. Here we go.
Five words or less: describe yourself, as artist or otherwise:
Colorful, coded, narrative, language, pluralist
Tell us about your latest project, this residency. Where is it, when is it, how are you getting there, and how big of an opportunity is this for you?
This current project is called "Beyond the Void". The goal is to make 100 pieces in a month. The ending result will be a book documenting the process, and explaining the works. It takes place at The School of Visual Arts in New York. The Kickstarter funds the materials, and a few other expenses. This is one of the biggest opportunities I have gotten in awhile. This allows me, as a West Coast artist, to experience what is going on the other side of the country. Also allows me to network with other artist from around the world.
You say that your work is infused with a mythos, an autobiographical mythos that's really a language made up from symbols and references from your life and popular culture. You even say that "deeply personal messages" are on display. Do think that makes your work cryptic and/or challenging for viewers to engage with?
To a degree I think it does make it cryptic and challenging, but I feel like people aren't challenged any more. They just want the bright package, the blockbuster movie, the Superbowl commercial. I think that if you treat people like idiots they eventually become that way. They fall into that persona, but if you challenge them to think about what is going on, to think about the meaning of things, and their relationship to the world, then they blossom. They bloom into people looking for more... more reasons, more answers... the subtext to the meaning of life.
What do you wish you knew about art/painting/creating before you got started?
How much networking and being out there is important, but I think it's all a combination of luck and being a part of the art world. Also to remember that everything is subjective. Art and music are realms where people get pick and choose. Not everyone is going to enjoy what I do, or what some other artist does.
How does your latest work match up with your earlier work? More specifically, how has your work changed and how have you evolved as an artist through your career, and is there a strong through-line stylistically or contextually, in your work?
It syncs up well with a lot of my older work. I have those moments when I look at an old piece and see that I was trying to convey the same message even back then just less sophisticated. There was always this astral plane, and these figures roaming within them. The only series that I feel have their own vein are the ones I call "Splatter Paintings". They stand on their own in the most basic fashion, but even those are based around important people in my life. My series "The Bright Grime" was where I began to create messages in my work. This would lead to "Cognition".
That series came about through analyzing a lot of writing I did. The themes were mainly Art, Sex, and Death. At the time I would always paint this girl with red hair. I knew that she was Death always trying to steal my heart, so I decided how would I personify these other themes in my life. It grew from there.
Pulp Fiction, I like the idea of telling a story in broken parts. It forces the viewer to pay attention and look for clues on how each event occurred. Plus it is also full of symbolism.
A runaway trolley is hurtling down the tracks toward five people who will be killed if it proceeds on its present course. You can save these five people by diverting the trolley onto a different set of tracks, one that has only one person on it, but if you do this that person will be killed. Is it morally permissible to turn the trolley and thus prevent five deaths at the cost of one?
Wow. Where did that come from... I'd rather switch with that one person.
Anything else you want to say?
This is a scary moment for me. I was never big on change, but I hope to get all the funding needed for this venture. I have 2 days left. I don't know what I'm going to do if I don't make it. I guess we'll see. I'm just thankful for people out there who care.
Check the vid: