Russ Pope has a pretty long history in the skateboarding business. He went from being a sponsored skateboarder to starting up his own companies (Creature & Scarecrow Skateboards) to working with brands like Black Label & RVCA, and now currently resides as brand manager for Fallen Footwear. Not only has he kept busy doing all that, but he has also found the time to successfully pursue his art career. I recently jumped on the opportunity to interview Russ & see what’s up with what’s going down in Russ’ world.
Russ, you sound like a busy man what have you been working on lately?
I’ve just finished a couple boards that I painted for a show in Phoenix being put on by the Molten Brothers at Pravus Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. I also just had an opening at Shepard Fairey’s Gallery Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. (last weekend). I’ve been painting for that for the last 4 or 5 months.
Describe the process of developing a painting for us? Coming up with a theme, the characters you draw, the colors you use, brushstrokes, etc.
I draw a lot. I make sketches of people/things that I see day to day. I usually use images from these drawings for the subject matter in my paintings. Colors, brush strokes and things usually come from whatever is happening or I’m feeling at that moment. I lay down colors that I think work well together or set a tone/mood appropriate for the painting.
Who & What has been inspiring your work lately?
Man, I’m inspired by lots of people and things. Art world inspirations, I’d say I dig Barry McGee, The Gonz, Chris Johansen, Jay Howell lot’s of people, Thomas, Chris Yormick. I like less contemporary guys like Basquiat, Miro, Picasso, Rauschenberg. I’m inspired by my family, Beer, music, the beach, mountains, bicycle riding. Skateboarders inspire me, Grant Taylor, Pappalardo, Cards, The Gonz again, Keegan.
You’ve had a lot of involvement in the skateboard industry over the last 20 years, what have you enjoyed most about your career?
Mostly, I enjoy the people I’ve met all over the world. I have a huge extended family and group of friends that I wouldn’t have it weren’t for skateboarding. I dig being able to work creatively with people who are down to make shit happen. I’ve spent most of my life on a skateboard and in the skateboarding industry. I feel comfortable around skateboarders.
Top 5 favorite artists? Chris Johansen, Basquiat, Barry McGee, Picasso, T.Moss
All time Top 5 favorite skateboarders? Mark Gonzales, Cardiel, Blender, Jason Jessee, Ricky Windsor
Top 5 bands? DEVO, Blondie, Black Sabbath, The Clash, John Coltrane
Top 5 classic horror films? The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price by Edgar Alan Poe 1961, The Phantom of The Opera 1925 silent version, Nosferatu from 1921 starring Max Schreck silent, The Rocky Horror Picture show 1975 (a horror musical), Dracula with Bela Lugosi 1931
Tell us more about the Weekend Pacifists art show that is currently underway… Weekend Pacifists is a group show that I assembled with Andy Jenkins, Mike Myers, Chris Pastras, Michael Sieben and Myself. It’s running the month of September at Shepard fairey¹s gallery Subliminal Projects in Echo Park (L.A.). If you are in the area go by and see it. You can check photos from the opening on the world wide web.
For more info about Weekend Pacifists visit http://www.subliminalprojects.com
For more about Russ visit http://www.russpope.com/