Artist interview #39: Robert Pruitt
1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
My studio spaces have varied wildly over the years so I’ve had to remain flexible in terms of needs. However, I think my 3 main requirements are ample wall space, time, and isolation. My drawings are fairly large so often I’m working directly on the wall and constantly moving papers and reference images around. I’ve recently been moving back and forth from one work to another so I need space to see all of this info at once. My process is also really, really slow. I’m regularly just sitting staring at an incomplete work. This requires me to horde time to finish these works. This usually means lots of late night work sessions.
2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I think motivation can be a real issue at times. I try to combat any serious studio malaise by changing what types of information and media I am consuming. This can mean museum visits, comics, films, conversations with other artists and a host of other inputs. Anything to get my mind excited again. I am generally motivated by new ideas.
3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
At heart I am interested in the human figure. My practice is chiefly centered on large figurative drawings but I also spend a little bit of time making small comic book drawings, animations and photography. I work best when I am moving between all these types of projects at the same time.
4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
I am a huge homebody. My greatest pleasure is sitting home watching some decent Sci-Fi. I still read a few comics every now and then. In the last few years I’ve become a little obsessed with the NBA, but that often feels less like a hobby than research for some yet to be determined art project. I think my only real hobby is beat making. I spend a lot of time doing that. Its’ really effective in slowing me down and settling my thoughts. Its usually the first thing I do when I go into the studio. You can check out a few of them here.
5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?
I believe I am one of a number of artists re-imagining the trajectory and definition of the images of People of color in art and media. I like to think that my mode of working is in alignment with an array of models changing how we see the canon of art and history.
6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I would only say that viewers should consider the relationships between technology and the human figures in the work and that the notions of escapism are ever present but the meaning of that notion for me is a more nuanced idea than simple desertion.