I have an article in the April issue of Status on illustrator and former Mixel Pixel frontman, Rob Corradetti. It’s also the music issue, cover’s Santigold.
Here’s the original interview, outtakes included:
1. Hi Rob! How are you? What are you doing besides answering this?
Well hello! I’m currently right in the middle of working on an album cover for Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang. It’s is large drawing that involves eagles, walking sticks, termites, flowing water and wind, and Bongo (which is slang for bling, bluff, or talkin’ shit). It’s called “Kill Me With Bongo” which quoting Boshra from the Bubu Gang translates roughly to “I have no money and you’re killing me with your ostentatious lifestyle.” I love their music! The album is coming out on Luaka Bop (David Byrne’s label) this Summer.
2. I think I took a picture of your work wheat pasted onto a wall in Chicago, somewhere near Union Park. This was back in July of 2009. If this wasn’t yours, what do you think of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?
I’m not sure it was mine! It’s possible. I want to say something important to that like ‘We are all really just the cave people writing on our cave walls!’ Wheat paste on, cave bro. Brain bro. Cave sisters too.
3. Your prints and illustrations have these recurring images of monsters, and your bio mentions being influenced by nightmares. However there’s also this exuberance about them that dispels the horror usually contained in these themes. Could you tell us more about this?
Some people do yoga or run or see a therapist in order to free their inner monster. I have to draw. Drawing for me is a form of meditation. If I don’t draw for a few days or a week I start to feel restless, angry, and depressed, especially in winter! I usually work in black and white, just composing. I have an idea of color but I will generally add that later. I love color, because that is what attracts people, but I don’t like relying on it. I like to experiment in order to create contradictory feelings in people when they see my prints. I will make a yellow / orange palette for a certain monster and someone will see it and say, ‘do you have it in blue?’ Then I will make it in blue.
4. Is this deliberate, or does it just work its way in the way it would in a dream?
When I draw my brain travels. I can finally escape reality and my day-to-day mind peels back. I am able to tap into childhood memories, or more specifically, impressions. Often I think of a doctor’s office. My doctor growing up always had the best art posters on his wall: Jim Dine, Paul Klee, Magritte, Shel Silverstein. Somehow my intense fear of seeing the doctor and the insane images on the wall always heightened my awareness. I would stare into the posters and really cling to the colors. The colors would explain my fear. That was my first connection to artwork, at around age 3 or 4. I usually go back to that place when I try and understand my own work. On a side note, I had a similar experience when I watched Hellraiser for the first time.
5. Do you ever imagine the people you know as animals and the animals you know as people?
Well I am into astrology. People, animals. People always look like something. My friend Hugo looks like a baby ram / lamb. He’s an Aries, born on April first. He is an April Fool. I always felt I was more of a fox. Then I thought that maybe foxes were seen in culture as being too sly and sneaky. Now I am more of Sleek Majestic Old Time Elk.
6. What about your work has changed as you transition from small presses to gallery shows?
I think it’s gotten better! I’ve actually also just transitioned from zines to tumblr.
7. What’s a typical day in the life of Rob Corradetti like?
It’s like fighting the infernal darkness with disembodied Sharks for Arms.
8. What was the last song you listened to on repeat?
I bought Thee Oh Sees Castlemania on vinyl and have been listening to that a ton.
9. Anything in the news you’ve been obsessing over?
I always am out of the times. I get into news stories like three years after they are important. I just got really into Sludgie The Whale. Sludgie was a female whale that got lost and swam into the Gowanus Canal, a polluted waterway in South Brooklyn. As you might imagine, the story doesn’t have a happy ending. I made a drawing about her. R.I.P. Sludgie.
10. Whose idea was it to name the Mixel Pixel truck ‘Bonky 3’?
I’m not quite sure where you got that classified information! Bonky was the name of a carved coconut head that hung from the rearview mirror of Matty’s old wood panel station wagon back when we first moved to New York. Bonky was named that because when the car would brake he would bonk against the windshield. Because of the coconut head the car was also aptly named Bonky. After Bonky died (the car, not the coconut) there was Bonky 2. Bonky 2 was another wood paneled station wagon. After Bonky 2 died (impaled through the radiator by a fork lift) Matty got a real truck, a Ford Explorer. That I suppose was by default named Bonky 3.
11. What’s the best party game ever?
Pin the tail on the ‘Graunk’, an invented animal. Loosely based on a Donkey, a Jackalope, a Star-nosed Sneep, and a wild outdoor cat named Hopper. My friend Amy Benfer made up the Graunk. Please direct copyright and trademark questions to her.
12. Did anyone in particular inspire or convince you to make art full-time?
This is the part of the interview where I will go all Tebow 2012 and thank God for blessing me with my drawing arm!
Mom and Dad, mostly. Uncle Anthony, who is a glassblower from Baltimore. Not to mention David Sandlin, an awesome print maker, who helped me refine my skills!
13. Was being a weirdo (now a bearded weirdo) something you had to come to terms with growing up?
Reader: I don’t have a beard anymore. It is now a sometimes beard. I got called skinny and picked on a little in high school but I’m half Italian and half Irish so I always had a mental complex from infancy that I could box way bigger people.
14. There’s this Momus quote that goes, “You can’t get happiness from a bottle or a pill, but you can get it from working at something you love.” What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Momus wrote me an email once when I had first started making music. That was amazing! I still have it PRINTED OUT. I’ve had a ton of weird jobs. Two winters ago I helped out scanning and archiving all of Robert Mapplethorpe’s private Polaroids. That was like hacking through a forest of seven thousand dollar dicks in bondage gear. If I wasn’t doing this I would like to be working at NASA, exploring the solar system, fixing lunar landers, peeing into a pee droid.
15. Any dream Killer Acid collaborations?
Yoko Ono, Dr. Dre, and I make a song together about being born on the same day and about how we are all ONE.