For part four of our Stella Dore feast we caught up with East London veteran, Rugman. Read his thoughts after the jump.
Thanks for talking to us Rugman. If we start from the beginning, how did you get into the street/urban art scene?
I have lived and worked in East London for over 12 years so I have absorbed the street scene over some time – it made me look at my own graphics work in a different light. I have always enjoyed the effect it has on a wider, varied audience. But even before living in London, from an early age, I was influenced by the early 80’s East Coast (USA) graffiti and West Coast skate scene – my older brother was into the music coming out of the East Coast and he introduced me to the street culture surrounding it.
Your pieces, especially the graphic side are journeys into mixed media. What’s your favourite medium to work in and why?
The graphic pieces are born of collage where most of my work starts. I have lots of reference material which I have collected through the years and play around with on my computer. My computer is almost like my sketchbook, in the initial stages… Sorry, to finally answer your question, I like oil paint as it gives me the depth I need but I always like to combine this with my stencils which gives me the strong sharp and bold graphic look I aim for.
A lot of your work is a take on a famous character, Mickey Mouse for example – why is this and are you trying to comment on something?
I think this comes from my love of the big bold POP culture of America. The main influences on my work are Andy Warhol and Mel Ramos. I have collected comics for years from anything like Superman, 2000 A.D. to the Vertigo comics where the art work is unbelievable. Mickey Mouse graphically is a very strong character… I suppose there is a comment in my newest work, a comment more in disappointment for America instead of hatred towards it…because I love the place. But I tend not to work too much towards a comment – instead I try to make a really strong image which people can enjoy!
Who do you rate in the “scene” today and why?
I think it has to be Eine because of the boldness of his work. And his canvas work, which is top class……… and to top it all off, his productivity – the guy has covered London!!!!
What’s next for Rugman?
I’ll be going to Dublin with Stella Dore this month to do a collective show at The Sebastian Guinness Gallery. Then I have a solo show of new work from the 17th of August to the 3rd of September at Bodhi Gallery, 214 Brick Lane. Come down for a beer.
Cheers Rugman, will do.