Dersu Rhodes has run the gamete in the creative industry, doing everything from writing to producing to art directing to product designing and pretty much everything in between. He recently took off from San Diego to Berlin, Germany, in search of new pastures of inspiration. Here he shares some details about his work habits, which have afforded him the opportunity to travel to some pretty cool places. He also shares an important reminder for artists, that work and inspiration comes from getting out there and talking to people, even if only over the internet.
1. Who are your top three artistic influencers?
Apparel design: Quality Peoples www.qualitypeoples.com
Graphic design/photography: Leif Podhajski http://leifpodhajsky.com/
Music: Nico Stojan (this is the best creative music ever): https://soundcloud.com/nicostojan
2. Where do you create your art?
From the office, or on the road! It’s either at my desk or at a coffee shop, I have my Wacom tablet stashed in my bag and I can usually be pretty productive and work from a small space. I think the key thing is headphones if you want to keep yourself from being distracted. In Berlin, every coffee shop plays deep house, so I realized my leg was sore when I left the coffee shop from bouncing it to a 4 hour set blasting in the shop. I’ve been so lucky to be able to do this, the last year I’ve set up my mini-mobile office in San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver, Montana, Berlin, London, Stockholm, and LA!
3. How much time do you typically spend on each piece?
Boardshort graphics, like the ones we did for the Cyrus Sutton collection for Reef [link http://korduroy.tv/reef_x_cyrus_collab], seemed simple but we put a lot of thought into those. It always seems like the more simple the project, (web design, apparel design, print, etc.) the more difficult because you’re trying to do more with less. I worked with Eric Gigler, Greg Osthus, Mark Tesi and of course Cyrus really intensely on coming up with the concept for his capsule. Cyrus spoke about wanting simple, shorter, around 19″ inseam board shorts that weren’t super flashy. We were working on a few new colors for the season, (vibrant reds and a rich blue) and when we added those colors into the 2 color-ways of the short we started to get really excited. That whole project from concept to getting it dialed where Cyrus was happy was probably about 3 weeks.
When it comes to illustration or web design it can really vary. Working with cool creatives can really help speed up the process. You have people to bounce ideas off of and to get fired up about concepts together!
4. What mediums do you work in?
I work usually with a pen/pencil and paper to start. I was so inspired by the book Steal Like an Artist, that I am trying to create an analog work station now, where it’s all about hands-on and chucking digital to the side. I cut things up and use paint pens and get weird with supplies and sketches.
I work sometimes with a Wacom tablet on the computer and have a few cool settings I’ve downloaded that make your photoshop brush strokes look like a thick ink pen which I absolutely love. But in a freestyle battle the analog good ol’ pen and paper always wins.
5. Do you have any advice for young artists?
Talk to people. Every day, connect with someone. You can never connect with too many creatives. I’m learning this and I wish I would have done this earlier. Social networks yearn for valuable content and your ideas. Being recluse, shy and awkward and expecting to sell your art or get noticed for projects isn’t realistic. You don’t have to be a conversation master, simplify it with Twitter and say hello to creatives that inspire you. Ask for a critique of your project, tell people you love their work. Also go out and ask those designers to work for them for free, or to intern. Show them you’re hungry and you want to be a part of what they do and to learn from them. I’m always looking for interns or just cool people to collaborate with to help with the blog, or design projects! Say hello!
Check out more of Dersu’s work here: www.dersurhodes.com
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