INTERVIEW: COLLAGE MASTER RICHARD VERGEZ
Multi-media artist Richard Vergez is definitely one of our favorite active artists right now. We haven't jumped too much into the world of collage but after seeing Richard's work, its inspired us to go in head first.
Richard's collages are certainly something unique. Inspired by post-punk, dada, and surrealism, his collages blend the different styles with such ease while still conveying strong and true messages or ideas.
As much as we'd love to express our opinions on Richard's art, we'd rather let you guys be the judge, and let Richard and his work talk for themselves. Fortunately, we got a chance to pick at Richard's brain and get some background.
Here's what we picked at:
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Richard Vergez, Cuban-American collage and mixed media artist by night, graphic designer by day. Born in Philadelphia, stinted in NY, currently living and working in Miami, FL.
When you first started, what were some of your early inspirations?
Most apparent is definitely the type of work that the Dada, Bauhaus, and Surrealist artists were doing. Also more contemporary work I’d see on album artwork by industrial and noise artists like Nurse With Wound and Organum, which was in itself a bit of a reference back to the surrealists. Also, there was the urge to break away from the constraints of my day job as a graphic artist.
From where do you curate most of your subjects for your collage? (Magazines, newspapers, the Internet etc etc)
I take a pretty improvisational approach to making my collages. I may have a general idea of what I’d like to put together but then let the source material guide me. Everything I use is from old magazines and books.
Is there a specific time period that you love to collect content from?
I usually stick to 1950’s-1970’s material.
Are your collages done digitally or are they all hand-made?
Pretty much all are handmade. I find the outcome so much more interesting when you are somewhat limited with what you have to work with as opposed to just being able to google image search. There is a certain sense of life that exists in an analog collage, the little imperfections that make it interesting. I’ll turn to digital sometimes if I need a very specific subject matter for a commissioned collage.
Can you describe what attracts you towards collage rather than other mediums?
I love the immediacy of collage. It has the ability to be striking in its distortion of reality in ways I feel painting or drawing cannot. It’s also very economical.
When (and if) you get sick of making collages, is there any other escape for you?
I generally take the same approach to making music, working a lot with found sound sources and improvising using old tape machines and synths. I have two musical projects. Drowning the Virgin Silence, which focuses mainly on post-industrial and ambient music.There’s a dark and cinematic quality to it, very similar to my collage work. Möthersky is my more straightforward band approach to making music with a friend in NY. Experimental post-punk, synth and drum machine driven, very heavy on atmospherics as well. And finally I use my own name for independent music projects like modern dance scores or more conceptual pieces.
How do you manage your time? Do you try to set time aside from your daily life to make art?
Yes, I always make it a point to set aside some time, at least to just go through my source material and cut out elements for later use. I am part of a collage group from Spain, where we set challenges every month based around different themes to create work with. One of the members will set a theme, then we have a week or so to complete the challenge and post it to social media on the same day at the same time. It helps to keep me active and deadline driven. Also being the only American in the group gives me the motivation to catch up mentally to their time zone.
Do you read a lot? What are some books that creative people should be reading?
Not as much as I’d like to or used to. Our current world has its endless distractions. I feel like we could survive for the rest of our lives with the media YouTube alone provides. But it’s important to read because it ignites your imagination. I find myself going back to writers such as JG Ballard and William S. Burroughs for their dystopian and abstract views of the world, inspiring concepts I aim to convey in my collages. Most of the reading I currently do involves music theory and history of avant-garde, post-punk, and rock movements.
What are some of your current favorite artists/people/musicians that are creating work right now?
Fellow collagists, I’d have to say Isabel Reitemeyer, Tinca Veerman, Mike DeSutter, Anthony Zinonos, and Eli Craven. As well as all of my colleagues from Spain who inspire me. For music I’ve been on a frigid post-techno kick, stuff from the Downwards label like Regis and Talker. Also Alva Noto and L A N D. And I really look up to musicians from the past who are still creating new sounds outside of the mainstream, like Swans, Yello, John Foxx, and Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire. And of course, Brian Eno.