Rtistjono
Worlds without end


To look at a drawing signed by Rtistjono is not enough, you must visit it. But, beware ! You are penetrating into a labyrinth and you could be caught by its content. It is a pluridimensionnel world. A world which seems to contain all civilisations and all epochs, a world seemingly fed by the memories and the dreams of the whole humanity. A world in expansion, where every space generates another world. But the most amazing is the harmony which reigns all over that world. Only a great magician can achieve such a marvel. Or, of course, a great artist.
Interview : Monica Swinn
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 Samurai Dragon – © Rtistjono
 Totem – © Rtistjono
 Totem – © Rtistjono
Identity Crisis – © Rtistjono
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The Artist.

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INTERVIEW



► Monica Swinn: Good morning, Rtistjono! Your drawings give the impression that you were born with a pencil in your hand. Do you remember your first artistic feelings? Your first creative steps?

► Rtistjono: Looking back I cannot recall a time where art wasn’t a part of my identity.  My mother used to tell me stories of how as a child I would draw constantly, but instead of drawing pictures of something like dinosaurs or superheros that you would expect from a little boy, I would draw more peculiar things like old hairy fat men doing random activities, mostly drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. This particularly disturbed her, since neither her nor my father were smokers or drank heavily. She was concerned as to where this imagery was coming from; thinking I was seeing these events occur somewhere outside of home. I guess I was always interested in drawing more unorthodox compositions, possibly as way of externalizing my thought process to gain insight on things I would come across but didn’t quite understand at the time.

► Monica Swinn: You have studied art at the University of Richmond. Could you give us any details about your training there?

► Rtistjono: By the time I entered college I had mostly abandoned my pursuit of being an artist. I was still drawing on a regular basis but never anything serious, for I felt that I should focus on pursuing more serious endeavours.
I attended school on a football scholarship which took up much of my free time. The few instances that I would get a chance to draw I noticed that I was spewing out random clusters of images, seemingly unconnected, into more collage like compositions. I signed up for a couple of art classes as electives, mostly as an easy addition to my schedule which could also boost my GPA in the process. In a short period of time I realized that these art classes were the only place that I felt truly engaged and I chose to return to my original passion ; ignoring the distractions that steered me of course in the past. Although UR isn’t considered a tradional art school, I see my time there as invaluable to my career as an artist. It is there that I learned about the importance of art and its relation to society, the environment, as well as the history and future of civilization.
 
► Monica Swinn: Who are the artists (belonging or not to the present times) you are the most impressed by? Those who most counted in your personal progression?

► Rtistjono: Although it’s sort of a cliché amongst a number artists, I distinctly remember the first time I saw paintings by Pablo Picsso as a child and immedialty feeling drawn to his style of art. The way he played with form and composition spoke to me on a visceral level, and I attribute his  paintings as one of the first  things that inspired me to freely explore very non-traditional forms of art.  Another artist that I would say had a major impact was on my progression was M.C. Escher. The mind-bending complexity of his works is a quality that I thoroughly enjoy, and I love the idea of a viewer getting lost inside of a drawing and becoming overwhelmed with the richness of the imagery presented.

► Monica Swinn: The wealth of your graphic world is astounding. From Japan to the Indians of America, from China, Tibet, to the Mayans, your work appears as an incredible trip across cultures and centuries.
A cosmic trip where old mythologies meet comic strip. What could you say about that aspect of your art?

► Rtistjono: I have a deep interest in studying Pre-Renaissance art particularly that of the ancient world. I came to a realization that much of the powerful symbolism that I would see in this work was essentially the same expresssion as we see in comic books today; that is telling a story through a series static of images.
With that in mind I found it to be a very natural step when I started to incorporate these icons into my drawings, as a means to better inform the narrative of my work.
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► Monica Swinn: You seem very familiar with all that universal imagery. Do you work from memory or do you need documentation ? From where do you get your inspiration ? How do you feed it?
 
► Rtistjono: I come from a multicultural background and was very lucky to be able to see different parts of the world at a young age.   I draw inspiration from these early encounters of being immersed in a foreign country, where I did not speak the native tongue and had  to rely heavily on images to understand the culture. These memories formed the base of my visual language and I am constantly adding to it with every new experience and work of art created.

► Monica Swinn: Your artwork is highly elaborated. How long does it take you to finalize one of those big drawings of yours?

► Rtistjono: It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months depending on the size and how focused the main idea behind the piece is initially. I would say I spend about an equal amount of time exploring on the internet doing research as I do actually putting the ideas down on paper, which I think is an important part of my artistic process.

► Monica Swinn: The way you work, freehand, with pen and inks, requires a great concentration. How do you get it?

► Rtistjono: I like to work late into the night until morning. I’m not sure if it’s because the general stillness of the time, or the fact that it’s a period when your brain is used to entering a dream state, but I’ve found my best results with this process. I usually start my sessions by making an ample supply of caffiene to keep me up through the night, paired with an Ipod stocked with various sorts of music and gradually find my flow..

► Monica Swinn: The way you work, freehand, with pen and inks, requires a great concentration. How do you get it?

► Rtistjono: I like to work late into the night until morning. I’m not sure if it’s because the general stillness of the time, or the fact that it’s a period when your brain is used to entering a dream state, but I’ve found my best results with this process. I usually start my sessions by making an ample supply of caffiene to keep me up through the night, paired with an Ipod stocked with various sorts of music and gradually find my flow..  



SECOND PART RTISIJONO’ S INTERVIEW ►►►
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