Interview: Redosking on An Artist's Mental State
The wunderkind visual artist on his process, and the mind of an artist at work.
Jose Lopez Vergara, better known to contemporary art junkies as Redosking, caught the attention of the public because of his drawings of eyes, images that looked almost photographic but were created with color-pencil. He was about 19 when this happened—now attending a professional art school in Italy, Vergara continues to perfect the artist's craft through a variety of mediums. His work has diverged from the eye theme, venturing into medieval themes and grotesque, interesting imagery. He's worked with everything from graffiti to experiments in gold-leaf and pig's blood.
We caught up with Vergara via email to discuss his recent and past work, his process, and how art gives form to his thoughts.
You first gained recognition because of your color pencil drawings of hyper-realistic eyes: what possibilities and inspirations did you see there?
I didn't expect that my eye drawings were going to be so attractive. When I joined Instagram, I saw many eye drawings made with color and graphite pencils, which made me want to do one myself. I always drew eyes, but never at that level. That is when everything started: it began as a personal challenge to know how far I could go with color pencils, and then it became an obsession. Every time I drew an eye, I learned something, so every eye drawing looked better than the last.
Eyes are a very interesting and attractive part of the human body. Apart from being beautiful, the eyes are capable of expressing and communicating feelings in a unique way. For me, the eyes were very useful and challenging when I wanted to learn how to draw because they have different textures, colors and reflections. When I started drawing eyes, I didn't know how to use color pencils; by the time I finished the tenth eye, I felt that I could draw anything in the world.
What have you been working on as of late?
I've been focused on my school work, which includes drawings with graphite pencils and charcoal. At the same time I work at home, trying to balance my time and create my personal drawings and paintings. I use the knowledge I gain at the academy to improve my work technically and I try different techniques and materials to constantly evolve and challenge myself. I need to keep up with my inner dreamer child; he is always seeing new stories and new characters for me to draw or write, so I feel I must sit down and create what he has already seen.
You have roots in Mexico but were raised in Spain. Now based in Florence, have you drawn any inspiration from your multicultural background?
Yes; I feel that my mind is used to dealing with change, as well as adapting to different environments and ways of living. That same thought process applies to my creative process. I like to do everything, from classical oil paintings and graffiti to digital art and making bows and arrows from tree branches and aluminum cans. I could never be trapped into one way of creating; I want to get into everything my life permits me. I want to explore and find new possibilities, even create them.
Are you always inspired, or are you specifically drawn to the emulation of specific feelings or images?
I would say a little bit of both. I can get inspired by the most ordinary things, and sometimes I only get inspiration from other artist's work.
What is it about the act of creating—and the varied mediums that you work on and experiment with—that appeals to you?
Working with different mediums and experimenting with my creative process in general gives me the opportunity to experience my art differently. The creation process is different every time I try something new, so I always get a different experience while I create a piece and a different feeling once I'm done. Sometimes, I feel like throwing pig's blood all over a beautiful girl or carving a wooden sculpture with a knife outdoors. Other times, I feel like drawing the most delicate thing with sharp pencils or grabbing my brushes and painting while I drink hot wine with honey and watch a movie.
Is there a specific mental state you have to be in to create?
Concentration. When I was younger, it was more difficult to get into a good state of mind to start creating. But as I grow and acquire more knowledge on how to create my work, it gets easier and easier to do it.
How has art shaped the way you view the world?Ever since I was a child, I've had a strong imagination. I live in an ever-present dream. My art has become my life and my life has become my art. Thinking that way, I've learned to make the best of every moment, create new ways of living and enjoying things differently every time. Art showed me that everything is possible as long as it is possible in my head. That is something I would like to transmit to others. Art is much more than what people think it is. Art fills my life with wonder and discovery.
The fact that every person is completely different but so similar to each other is astonishing because all of us have something to say and the power to create. It is very important to have worlds to escape from reality every now and then, stories to read and learn how to live a better life or simply to enjoy and feel alive. That is why I encourage everyone to create something, because someone somewhere needs to experience that something.