The artwork of Rodney White – featured on today’s Styleboard – is fresh and new, yet surprisingly familiar. Appropriating the aesthetics of advertising’s golden age, White brings messages of inspiration and curiosity to the masses. We recently sat down with the artist to hear about his art, inspiration, and process.
What’s the story behind your unique logo?
It’s an animal of my own creation – a Cheagle. A chicken that dreams to soar above the clouds like eagles. The chicken represents my past (I was born in the south). The eagle represents where I want to go – which is everywhere. You can say I flew the coop.
Has your work always carried such inspirational messages, or was there a moment that sparked that?
My poems have always been about me finding solutions to my problems. When I started painting – the two came together and the things I wanted to say happened to be the resolve in poetry.
Please explain your creative process. What mediums do you use? How long, on average, does each work take?
My process starts with either the visual inspiration or the poetry. I am a graphic designer, so I sketch all of my paintings in Adobe Illustrator. It’s there I work out the colors, typefaces, and layout. After I finalize a sketch, I use it as a guide and begin painting it on wood panels. I use mostly acrylic, found objects, and rust. The sketching part can take anywhere from a day to 3 months depending on how inspired I feel. Actual painting is the easy part. That takes about 1-2 days on average.
With your work being featured in museums and on many television series, was there a moment when you really felt like you had “made it” as an artist?
I’ve never felt like I’ve made it as an artist. I don’t believe there is such a thing. I am certain when I feel like I’ve made it, my creativity will stagnate. I need to always have something to learn and something to get better at in my craft – even if that is only ideas.
What was the hardest part of moving from Augusta, Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York? Do you find similarities as well as differences?
I didn’t find it all that hard. It was a dream since I was a kid. The hard part about staying is the cost of living! There are only differences between NY and Augusta. They are very, very different worlds.
What are you doing when you’re not working?
Seeking inspirations and learning something. I’m kind of a nerd about random things. I want to know something about everything pretty much.
– John, hayneedle.com editor
Original interview by Chelsea for the Foundary.