Here for his debut RUN, we are excited to welcome artist and painter Rich Pellegrino with his debut homage to Alice In Wonderland withAlice.Read on as we discuss past influences, RUNdown work in progress shots and more in the 1xRUN Thru Interview…
1xRUN Thru Interview
Alice by Rich Pellegrino
1xRun: Tell us a bit about the original, when was it created?
Rich Pellegrino: The original painting was created in May of 2012. It is 24×30 inches and painted with Acryla Gouache on linen. Once I have a rough sketch of the composition that includes a list of everything to be shown in the final I began collecting reference for the piece. Everything from self shot photos to google image searches to dvd stills helped in the early drawing stages. Once I had a solid drawing I projected it onto the support surface for transferring. The original is still for sale here for $2250.
I use Acyrla Gouache paint diluted with water as a medium. Brushes range from the cheap packs of five synthetics for a few dollars (which turn into the best beat up brushes you can find) to Winsor and Newton series 7 #2.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Rich Pellegrino: This piece was the first created from this series and inspired the entire body of work of my recent solo show “Resuscitatorum”. I was drawn to the story of Alice in Wonderland story due to it’s light and dark nature. I love the constant undertones of is she or is she not indeed mad, drugged, or if it is all actually real or imagined.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Rich Pellegrino: From drawing to final brush stroke I’d say 3 – 4 weeks. That includes working on other paintings simultaneously.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Rich Pellegrino: She hasn’t fallen into the rabbit hole yet.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Rich Pellegrino: It’s going to be pretty hard to find if you don’t get it now.
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
Rich Pellegrino: Eerie
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Rich Pellegrino: I’m sure like everyone else I started drawing when I was a little tot. I mainly drew pictures of my G.I. JOE and Transformer toys. My mother always had crayons and pens on hand for me to draw whenever we were out. I scribbled on the back of many a restaurant place-mat.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Rich Pellegrino: I can’t remember that, but I do have a laminated crayon drawing of Optimus Prime. I must have been five of six when I drew it. I really don’t know to be exact. What I like about it is that his arms are jutting out of his hips in profile. Foreshortening was a beast I wouldn’t tackle for at least another decade.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Rich Pellegrino: I absolutely loved my Transformer and G.I. JOE toys and cartoons. I poured through comics at rapid speed when I was a kid. My favorites were McFarlane, Barry Windsor-Smith, Marc Silvestri, J. Scott Cambpell, Joe Mad (early Battle Chaser work). In High school I was turned onto Renissance painters like Da Vinci and Titian.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Rich Pellegrino: For the past few years I made a decision to limit my intake of other artist’s work. It’s easy to fall in love with someone’s work and then unknowingly repeat it. It’s a danger that happens to everyone if you’re not conscience of it. The way I see it is what’s the point of the world having another Degas or James Jean when you can make your own mark. I’ll never do Degas or James Jean better than them and why would I try? If I really like someone’s work I’ll just buy a print and hang it for my enjoyment.
As far as inspiration goes? I’d have to say whatever I’m interested in. Currently , it’s old fairy tales and myths. I love how dark and twisted they were. Plus they are filled with so much imagery to draw upon.
That said I still love looking at art and enjoy many painters of the past and of today, and although I do not read comics often these days I enjoy a lot of the work.
A short list would be Degas, Lautrec, Shiele, Klimt, Turner, Whistler, Sargent, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Albrecht Durer, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Ann Gale, Skip Lipke, Kent Williams, James Jean, George Pratt, Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, Phil Hale, and Rick Berry.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Rich Pellegrino: I do. Quite a bit actually. I’m into Hendrix, Cream, The Stones, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf. I really dig those old blues cats. Sometimes though you have to just relax to some instrumentals though. I love the songs still, but there’s something about that steady beat and boombap drum backing to those gritty hip hop tracks from the mid 90’s east coast hip hop. Liquid Swords is one of my top albums of all time. Anything by DJ Premier, early Boot Camp Click, KRS-1, BDP, Audio Two, early Mobb Deep, Big L, EPMD, early Nas, Large Professor, Blackstar, J5, Aesop Rock, Atmosphere, and I really like Incredibad. Those dudes are hilarious.
Also, I listen to a ton of books on tape. Recently, Dylan, Keith Richards, and Clapton’s Autobiographies. Listened to all of Orwell’s and Dan Brown’s work and a bunch others too.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Rich Pellegrino: Rick Berry. If you’re a painter and you want to collaborate with someone he is the guy. I studied under him for a couple months after I graduated from RISD and that is where I really began to free up as an artist. After that I kept coming back to hang out and paint in his studio and just kept on learning by osmosis.
He paints with anything you can think of. Squeegees, pieces of chip board, sneakers even and it always looks amazing. So it’s a ton of fun and the results are always surprising.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Rich Pellegrino: I’d like to color in some of John Lennon’s drawings with some paint. As far as visual artists go I think I would enjoy collaborating with Toulouse Lautrec.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Rich Pellegrino: I bought/traded a drawing of a robot with a skull head from artist, Steve Mardo. Well, we traded a lot of drawings. We grew up as best buds and I have a ton of his work. There is a lot of humor and a distinct charm to his stuff.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Rich Pellegrino: I picked up a screen print by Leslie Herman on a recent trip to Virginia for the closing party of the Richmond Illustrators Club Juried Show.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Rich Pellegrino: I’m one of nine artists in SpokeArt Gallery’s August group show. Also, I have works in Gallery 1988’s Crazy 4 Cult 5 and Breaking Bad shows coming up next month as well. More shows after that too. I recently had work in Gallery Nucleus’ Beatles Tribute show. I created portraits of the lads and now the collection it is offered as a 13×19 print.
I have a new online store that has everything from original paintings to prints. I’m excited to be offering my “Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010” Rebirth of the Blues as a 17×22 print. I’m running a pre-release sale that offers the print at 50% off and comes with a 5×7 drawing of a random musician from the show.
What’s interesting about this image is that the original was created in part for designer gift bags given to each performing artist at the show including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Cheryl Crow, John Mayer etc. Being a big blues fan it was a dream gig.
1xRun: Where can people find you across the internette?