INTERVIEW WITH AN ARTIST: Scott Radke On Sculpting, Kickstarter and His Upcoming Book

A sculptor whose work has been an outlet for anxiety for many years, Scott Radke’s distinctive art has an eerie peacefulness about it that can’t help but linger in the mind. His blend of adorable baby faces with creepy forms makes his creatures a truly memorable. The positioning of them in remote and beautiful locations only adds to both their unsettling edge and their charm.

Scott has contributed to such projects as Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland and, although he modestly claims he had little impact on the film, his work made it into the production book. He has recently finished a Kickstarter campaign for his own book exploring the evolution of his work over the decades.

We caught up with Scott to find out about how he has changed as an artist in that time and how his art has changed him.

Kirstie: How did you get into art?

Scott: Well, I’ve always done something with it I guess.

K: Who were your earliest influences?

S: My aunt is a calligraphy artist, Sharon Hanse. She encouraged me a lot as a kid. That and maybe some posters my cousin had of Salvador Dali’s work.

K: Who are your predominant influences now?

S: Usually nature, the people in my life, feeling good.

K: What is your favourite material to work with?

S: Hmm, well, painting (sculpture, not painting on its own), but its taking photos is my favourite part.

K: What is the first piece of work you were really proud of?

S: I drew some birds as a kid, maybe I was like 5 or 6. The wings looked like vv ^^ ,  something about that was just happening on its own. Not sure how to explain it but it was the first time I felt like something else was in charge. Like that.

K: How have you changed as an artist since then?

S: Haha, I don’t change as much as I used to. There were certain times when things completely shifted and I was off in a different direction, but it’s been pretty steady for quite some time as it is.

K: What made you decide to give your creepy creatures such baby-like faces?

S: Well, I don’t really know how to answer that. I can see how they may be seen as creepy, and many things I have made are for sure. I see them as just emotional representations coming from someplace. Just from feeling. That’s it. How they are seen, good or bad isn’t really important to me. I am just fortunate people feel something when they see it.

K: Your characters and creatures have a lot of personality in their faces. Do you have plans for any kind of project that would develop their backstories more?

S: No plans for it right now but it’s nice to think about, for sure.

K: You’ve said that your work has helped to ease your anxiety and depression. How do you feel creativity impacts mental health?

S: Yes, it does help those things for me. Among other things. Creativity is lifeblood for anyone, however it chooses to express itself.

K: This year you exhibited a new show called ‘Home At Last’. How did you develop the concept for this show?

S: I don’t usually work with a theme and I do not do a lot of shows that size. I just went with what was happening at that time in my personal life. Finding a general feeling of home and I have. Nothing is really literal in the works that were included – but the underlying feeling while creating it is from there.

K: You’re now in the process of printing a book that covers your work from 1995 to 2015. What made you want to compile a book now?

S: I’ve wanted to for a long time but thankfully my friend Kasra Ghanbari actually put it all together for me in only the way he can.

K: How did you decide which pieces to include in the book?

S: We bounced back and forth on that. I was more into including current work as my older work to me is a more like reading an old diary. Not always pleasant. But I am happy he was there to organize and make it all fit together nicely and I’ll have plenty of current work for a future book.

K: Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to fund your book?

S: Because Kasra is amazing with it based on his previous books.K: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

S: No one will tell you the answers you want. There are no secret formulas or short cuts. Just work hard and think less and don’t quit. Ever.

Many thanks to Scott for taking the time to talk to us! If you want to keep up with his work, you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and check out his website below.

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