Interview with Rugman


Rugman is a London-based artist/designer. He has a passion to create pieces of visual quality for people to enjoy…  After a Skate, POP and Comic influenced adolescence, Rugman the Artist mainly paints from his studio in Soho and has been known to on occasion stencil or paste the streets of East London where his art came to fruition. Through the years his work has been exhibited around the world… including in Barcelona, Berlin, California, Dublin, and most notably in London at Cans Festival and Cans Fest 2 alongside some of the leading Urban and Graffiti artists of our time. He now has his own streetwear label, Rum Knuckles, based in Soho, London


Hi Rugman, today you selected for MoW 3 of yourartworks inspired by music, can you tell MoW why you chose those music artists ? What was the music behind the artworks ? What inspired you to create them ?

I wanted to choose Icons that transcend generations such as Madonna in our more recent music history. That was a decision more from a commercial point of view really I wanted everyone to have an idea of the outlined Icon who was covered in tattoos. I wanted to deface the most recognisable Icons to the point of unrecognisable. The whole show is based on Icons, outlines and shapes, my aim was to use outlines of many Icons and use the infill of there face as a tattoo flash sheet. The inspiration was driven from looking at our so called present day Icons who are covered in tattoos, I myself love tattoos and have done from a young age and I am amazed at how commercial and main stream it has become in our society. I got into it more from the anti establishment and fuck you attitude not to look like some footballer with a black and grey sleeve... Anyways sorry I digress the main aim of the show is to decorate our most beautiful and recognisable Icons and see how the viewer accepts them being covered in tattoos and symbolism. Those artworks are part of Rugman's next show called "Iconink". It will take place on 20th of June in Greenwich at Ben Oakley Gallery. 

Why is music important to you and your art?

Music has always helped me personally and also helped me create. When I was 8 or 9 and seeing all the art work on the album covers was wicked. I always remember my brother getting the Ice-T album POWER and thinking WOW what a cover. Then there was 100 miles and Running and loads of Dead Kennedy's stuff which was mad, yeah my brother and I had a varied music sense.



I think this was all important as album covers influenced my art at a young age, the crazy thing is I always remember copying the Bomb The Base album cover "Into The Dragon" and many years later meeting the artist who is now a very dear friend, the one and only Mr David Little. To answer your question, music makes me work...



If you had to choose between the artworks presented today, which of your artwork would be your favorite ? and Why ?

My favourite has to be the Queen image and this is more reference to punk and specifically the Sex Pistols. I like this because its not a direct hit, more of a nod to the genre.

Can you tell MoW more about the techniques you used. How old is your technique? How did it start? How long does it take you to make an artwork ?

My art is always born of the black line. Good old pen and paper. I will spend hours and days on re-drawing something when I am happy I will take it on to my Mac where I can start to digitally illustrate. My main paintings are all made from hours and hours and hours of cutting stencils. That is when music really comes in handy as you need to go to another place almost not human like a robot and music helps me switch off.

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music ? Can’t we expect more music inspired artworks during your solo show ?

Yes I have just finished Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and may even attempt Sun Ra as my oldest daughter is named after him but don't think he will be as commercial for the viewer which is a shame.

Do you listen to music when you’re working ? If so, what kind of music ?

Yes, Sun Ra when I am really creating, Punk or Hip Hop when I am drawing and classical when I cutting stencils...

What is the song you liked the most lately? The album ? What was the last gig you went to ?

I have been listening to the Roots... but my wife and I were watching a great program 2 nights ago on singer song writers Carol King and Bill Withers were on it..... WOW!!!! I have been listening to Bill Withers for 2 days straight, the words to "Grandmas Hands" are unbelievable. I have listened to that song the most.

Are you a musician yourself ?

Unfortunately I am not a musician and to be honest I've never really wanted to although I do love to sing but we can save that for another time... Ha ha... 


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