David Rusbatch is an intelligent artist that finds a true haven in art that he believes is conspicuously missing in the real world. His paintings provide sublime oases for the eyes and they also dish out subliminal nourishment for a hungry mind. David expresses himself with cheeky honesty and expert cynicism that is delightful and humorous. There are clear traits of this sharp wit in all of David’s work because all his pieces possess some element that you can relate to at first glance but there emerges a nagging feeling that you are missing the inner joke (because you are not an insider). This feeling implores you to delve deeper into what the artist is trying to say only to find yourself thinking way too much about the beautiful image before you. It is a vicious cycle that immediately makes you want to consume more of these visual mazes – you are now an instant David Rusbatch addict. See the interview below and strap in tight as you embark on a wondrous ocular journey.
“My mind is usually like a rainbow tinged sherbet fountain, even smart phones add too much noise to my world, and art helps to just set that frothing fountain into more of …”
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
Long suffering brother of 3 younger feisty sisters in middle-class falafel eating Leeds. Sport mad – briefly the great white hope in the swimming world, before swimming through one’s vomit six times a week lost its luster. Bliss was sitting under a tree on holidays with a sketch book – I was obsessed with eyes, I’d draw them over and over with heavy Anne Hathaway lids and Audrey Hepburn vivacity.
How do you describe your form of art and what tools do you primarily use?
Neo abstract portraiture and landscapes would be the posh way to sum it up. Alternatively, it’s just a subconscious lucky way to try making disparate materials work together. Pretty paintings for pretty people. Due to a lack of formal art training, I had a real confidence issue with abstraction, and the use of collage has really helped with that. Stupidly the materials I use; plastics, polymers, gloss paint, glues are all dangerous, and I’ve been to casualty twice for accidental fume inhalation issues. Literally suffering for my art. I let spontaneity enter my work and rarely if ever sketch out ideas – I let it grow alongside me like a verruca.
What does your art and art in general mean to you?
Art for me is like an intimate diary – a haven away from the world. My mind is usually like a rainbow tinged sherbet fountain, even smart phones add too much noise to my world, and art helps to just set that frothing fountain into more of a gurgling meander. It’s a truth in a very false world. The scope in art is endless, I struggle with authority – and it provides a platform to blast through the bullshit and hit people between the eyes with whatever I want. It fascinates me how everyone is confronted with the same white canvas, yet everyone uses it in different ways. The buffet of humanity.
Your images seem random but also very magnetic and subliminal – can you expand on what you want viewers to experience from your work, the symbolism behind it and also how you came up with this unique style?
Subliminal is the way I approach my work, I find if I obsess too much about the message, i loose an ineffable magic. My early work was heavily influenced by the subliminal link to the underground dance music scene, and its aspirations to transcend – be that chemically assisted or not. Also, I paint well out of hate, the whole gamut of art history influences artist and their place within that foreboding arena. Sometimes I find hate or a lack of concern for the painting is behind my best work, to prove people wrong and to foster the bravery to do something new.
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
WORST – I did a celebrity postcard auction in London in 2013 to raise money for FEMINISM IN LONDON (my 3 sisters held me at knife point) – which kind of backfired. After being published in the GUARDIAN an uprising of feminist websites and forum’s discussed my postcard at length, coming to various conclusions: “This guy is an asshole. I could say more, but it’s pretty self-explanatory from his “art”, “David Rusbatch: Bad Artist, or the Worst Artist Ever?”, needless to say, they took the money i raised, and are now enjoying therapy….
BEST – Norman Cook (Fat boy slim) said: “Rusbatch is like a visual mash-up put through a TB-303, i Like them a lot” and Maxi Jazz (from FAITHLESS) in typical ebullient prose “Rusbatch’s work is “experimental, engaging, playful and unafraid of the dark. Beautiful”
Which artist/s do you look up to the most?
Jean Michel Basquiat is my all-time hero. Despite dying of a heroin overdose at 27, he left a prolific legacy, that’s inspired a whole generation of painters. Raw and powerful and the best hair in art.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
I think honesty and being true to oneself is the true test of a man, rather than being what “society” conditions us to think. I’ve seen more integrity and honesty in a transvestite than some men. I used to hate going to the local pub to watch England games, stood with the” corfu on tour 1999″ tattooed, rotund beer monsters. I’d played football to a good level, and with that instilled arrogance assumed 80% of the punters were just eulogizing the classic football clichés to fit into their clan, and had never even played football. I’ve realized with fashion, eventually we all dress our age and will become our dad’s. Customizing clothes isn’t done much by men…because it can only make you look like a student. The exception being – I’ve made the world first sleeveless blazer with maritime brass buttons…twinned with a hoody…it actually looks quite good!!! Also a watch though redundant these days thanks to phone…add a shade of power and status to a man.
What is your personal life philosophy?
I have a weird fascination with death, and the impending ticking time. But if you fixate on the clock, you can’t move. I’m learning to just let thing be. You can’t see the sun if you don’t lift your head.
What would you want your last meal to be?
I heard that “Gumbo” is the most popular on death row. So if i was feeling adventurous I’d try that, i hope it’s not roasted elephant in gravy. Realistically it would be a bag of pistachio nuts, it’s a habit I’m trying to address.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two-week road trip with and why?
They say never meet your heroes, I think mine would be obnoxious company – Morrissey, Maradona, Gazza. So, instead, I think I’d take my dog, he’s the only being whose poo I’m happy to pick up (warms the hands in winter). I’d love to do route sixty-six with him.
What type of music do you listen to (if at all) when working?
I like experimental electronic music. It has to be devoid of lyrics in order for me to focus. Bonobo is probably my favorite. Though I have a play list I like to paint to at:
How can people learn more about (or buy) your current and upcoming works?