Interview Artist Rodney Davis Opens Up.
Rodney moved to New York City to pursue his dream of studying Representational art. He was accepted in to the prestigious Water Street Atelier program were he began training and honing his draftsmen skills. Throughout his continued experience with the arts community, Rodney discovered the works of Anthony Waichulis and his apprentices. Rodney eventually enrolled at the Ani Art Academy Waichulis apprenticeship program and is progressing wonderfully.
Where are you from? Where did all of this begin?
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. I had been tattooing for a few years and was taking still life painting classes with a local artist when I discovered The Art Renewal Center and found the list of approved ARC schools. For me, this all began when I decided I wanted to move to New York City to study representational art at Grand Central Academy of Art. My main obstacle, like most people with a working class background, was money. I decided to move back home with my parents and save all the money I could to pursue my passion. For almost two years, all I would do was go to work and come home at the end of the day. Finally, in 2009 I had saved enough money to make the move to New York City. I was accepted into the core program at Grand Central Academy of Art. During that time I also started taking a class with Dan Thompson at the Art Students League. I had been studying in New York for about a year when I came across the works of Anthony Waichulis and his apprentices. After hounding him for a while and researching his program, I applied to the Ani Art Academy Waichulis and was accepted in 2011.
When did you realize that art is what you were meant to do?
When I was young skateboarding was a huge part of my life. I remember sitting in my bedroom all day copying skateboard graphics and hanging them all over the walls in my bedroom. Those are still some of the fondest memories of my youth. It was at this time I knew art was going to play a major role in my life.
Who are your major influences, inspiration in life and in the art world?
My major influences run the gamut of the art world. From French Academic artist like Jean Georges Vibert, Charles Bargue, William Bouguereau, to Pop surrealism artists Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr.
What are some essential tools that you consider a must have for every artist?
One of the essential tools that an artist must have is an obsessive determination to create works of art. I believe a good work ethic is also needed, without this in tow you will not dedicate the amount of time needed to perfect your craft.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a drawing called “Rue”. This piece deals with regret, sorrow and our need for redemption.
A large portion of our audience are artists, like yourself. If you could give them one piece of advice – what would it be?
The only difference between a good artist and a great one is the amount of time they dedicate to honing their skills. You must have a steadfast devotion to your vision of what you want your work to communicate to your audience. In addition, you need to have a very creative imagination, especially in today’s art world. With so many skilled draftsman and painters coming out of all modern ateliers, just producing good academic studies is not enough anymore.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given & by whom?
Be true to yourself and you will never fall. Beastie Boys.
What has been your most rewarding achievement as an artist?
My most rewarding achievement as an artist so far has been having the opportunity to study with Anthony Waichulis. He has given me the necessary skills so that I am not limited in doing or saying what I want within my work.
Could you share with us your favorite quote?
“Great artist are not born… they are educated” This quote is by Tim Reynolds. This quote for me rings so true. There is a myth that artists are born with this special innate talent and that some people have been touched by the hand of god. This is not true as we all start off drawing stick figures and circles for the sun in elementary school.
When you first started, what was your biggest dream? And have you accomplished that?
I am superstitious so I will only answer part of this question. No I have not yet accomplished my dream.
What are your hopes for 2013, and where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
In 2013, I want to dive deep into painting some large scale creative projects. As for the next 5, 10 plus years till my death I want to keep honing my craft and exploring the depths of my imagination.