AW: Tell us a bit about yourself; what are you into, what do you like to do outside of the studio?
RS: I'm simple. I take pleasure in what to me are the important things, time with family,friends and a daily trip to the beach. If I'm not painting, I'm involved with one of those.
AW: What do you like most about your work, and what you do as an artist?
RS: What I like most about my work is It's honesty. I guess what I like the most about what I do as an artist is that I'm proud of all the work I do but I don't take pride in myself for doing it.
AW: What are the first words that come to mind when you are asked to describe your body of work? Why?
RS: In the past few years when asked what I paint I just say, 'I paint women".
AW: What is it about your painting technique that you enjoy; what inspired you to take that route creatively; what is the process involved?
RS: I enjoy the entire process from building panels to scratching or sanding up the painting I laid down, but honestly the scratching the work is the most fun. I enjoy that part of the process because the painting is calming and if I don't like, I can paint over it. Once I gouge into it, there's no turning back.
AW: What other genres of art are you find yourself attracted to outside of your own style of work?
RS: All styles. There's beauty everywhere.
AW: Do you draw inspiration from any other artists, past or present?
RS: Sure, so many. From comic book artist, past and present illustrators, graffiti writers, sculptors, the list is endless and growing daily. The list is long but I'll give you a few of my favorites past and present. William Bougereau, J. Scott Campbell, Phil Hale, John Singer Sargent. The painting that blew my mind when I was 12 yrs old, 'Monitor' by Franz Kline! So simple and complex all at once.
AW: About your portraits, how do you choose your figures; how do their characters develop; are they based on people you know?
RS: Many times they are made up faces, some from my mind and some from takinga few faces and creating new face in photoshop. When I choose a "real" person to paint I try to find someone that has some personal strength that I admire. I throw a little bit of my wifes face in every portrait.
AW: What is the greatest challenge about choosing to represent the figure in fine art?
RS: I haven't really found any. I was told by galleries that "people dont sell", I saw this as a challenge.
AW: What was your goal with the conception and development of Beautiful Failures?
RS: The goal was to show work that isn't necessarily my best. Instead of just digging through a stack of failed paintings I decided to take 25 days to do 25 paintings do the best I could on that day and show them no matter the outcome. Most of the time I set up a timer and when the timer went off I was finished.
AW: What is something you hope resonates with every viewer who comes out to see your upcoming exhibition?
RS: I just hope people like it for what it is, a showing of 25 simple paintings.
AW: What has been your greatest achievement so far as an independent artist?
RS: Five years without a day job.
AW: As artists, we all experience the evolution of our work; what do you see yourself doing next?
RS: I'm not sure, I see small changes in every painting. I'll let my work go wherever it goes.
AW: Any shout-outs, words of advice, or general nonsense you'd care to share with our readers?
RS: My words of advice, just enjoy yourself. Whatever you do.