Wednesday, June 26, 2013

15 Questions for Ruz Cumbre

Name: Russell Maycumber
Birthday: January 1, 1965 

1. Where are your family roots from? Recently I discovered that my great great grandmother raised her children 4 blocks from my childhood home, the Murray Hill side of Jacksonville Florida. But, like most people “from” Florida, my family is a gathering of transients. They came here from all over the south looking for work At one time the worlds largest indoor cigar factory was based in Jacksonville. They also boasted more rail traffic than New York City back in the day.

2. How have your parents/guardian influenced you? My mom was the black sheep of her family. She always wanted to travel and be apart of a world that rarely made it to the deep south of the 1950’s. I think her hacking away at that trail less traveled made it easier for me to take creative risks in my own life.

3. Can you remember your earliest childhood memory of happiness and that of fear? I remember getting lost at Disney World –that kind of covers the fear and the happiness.

4. Is there something in your life that you feel very passionate about? Passion.

5. If you could be any animal, what animal would that be? plant? and insect? why? A really old tree would be interesting. ( Just that amount of longevity would give you an interesting perspective on life. You know in that long wave Taoist sense. An albatross would be pretty awesome too. I’m a big fan of wind and weightlessness-don’t even want to really beat my wings too much just glide half a mile up for days.

6. What is it about being an Artist that keeps you satisfied for it to be apart of your career? As a vocational field I’m attracted to its inherent dynamic qualities. Its this pool of ever changing ideas and people dedicated to making the whole thing roil with inspiration and novel situations. Nothing is set in stone and if any aspect begins to stagnate it is your inalienable right to stir it up. As a social identity your given this sort of carte blanche of mobility, your equally at home with both the uber rich “lords’ of modern commerce and destitute paupers –at its heart Art is a meritocracy. It’s as close as one comes to being judged for how well you manifest honesty. Increasingly I am meeting some really fantastic people who impress me for their tenacity in a very daunting field. Meaghan Kent of Site 95 who curated two of my New York shows. She has given so much of her time to benefit so many others often for very little return financially. Its that kind of camaraderie that keeps you going some times.

7. What is your process? medium? and influences? I like the simplicity of drawing. I like how clean a black black line is on pale paper. This has lead me to sumi-e ink ( I also grew up in the 1970’s. This was a time that as Americans we were celebrating our bicentennial. There were all these sentiments of ant-royalist anti-establishment in popular cultural. I use to watch this show called “Kids are people too”. I played Paul Revere in the school play. Mad magazine and Cracked were full of irreverent absurdist humor. This gave me an in to the culture as a kid. Toys in general were a big marketing push at the time. I remember all the creativity going into action figures in general. Million Dollar Man or Big Jim
Micronauts and of course Star Wars. I think the element of play and the art of satire and humor in general as a way for conveying complex cultural ideas figures greatly in my work. 

8. Can you tell us something that you just learned that intrigued you? I’ve been reading about avant garde theatre lately and interpreting my own work through devices used there. Mainly how I manipulate the way my drawings are presented. Informally hanging them in groups so as to give the viewer a sense that they were not losing themselves in some entertaining narrative but engaging in these ideas with as much agency as when I created them. Antonin Artaud and Alfred Jarry were real riders of dragons so to speak. 

9. What is your perception of how people see you? Shifting would be most accurate. I remember travelling around in my twenties and bumping into friends on the street and them not recognizing me at first. I thought I would make a great secret agent. I think this was mostly because of the context but also I think I was trying to cultivate a certain camouflage of personality. I’ve always been afraid of being locked into one identity. The older I get the less important how I am perceived becomes and the more my social face is just another tool for maintaining a nurturing environment for the people I care about most.

10. What are you listening to these days? I’ve been into this band from Brooklyn for a while. The Dead Starts. I just found out the other day the mild mannered guitarist got arrested in China for protesting human rights there. Other than that A friend of mine dumped this giant library of songs on my hard drive, I just put it on random and see if I can get into it. Right now it’s the Kinks , No Return. I’m into it.

11. What's the best and worst decision you ever made? The decision to not dwell in regret would be the best. I imagine the worst would be to stop this practice. 

12. Can you narrate to me your proudest moment? My son sight reading music, then having him turn that into improve. I guess I was proud for him. Pretty much every time my son voluntarily gives me a hug hello or good bye makes me think I must be doing something right.

13. What do you find most ridiculous about life? My repeated attempts to dictate its form. 

14. Can you share a topic that causes your blood to boil? What makes my blood boil are seeing good people fall for mechanisms within the control structures of powers that be that divide those who might normally find strength and influence in their numbers.

15. If you could take a peek in your future (say 10 years from now), what would it look like? My life is so sedentary at this point. I would hope to pepper that stability with some really rad travel plans –show some work abroad-I am increasingly collaborating with my wife visually. I would like a studio and make some work in some exotic locale with her. 

Photos used from Ruz Cumbre's Facebook Photo Albums (family beach photo by Angela Barbara) 
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Thanks Ruz!

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