Rick Rogers is an artist based in St. Albert, Canada, a suburb of Edmonton. He’s such a treat to chat with and is very much an open book that I enjoyed learning from.
I’m not sure where he finds the time to be a full-time IT consultant while balancing his “side career” of art while also planning a symposium of 50+ artists later this year, but he seems to be able to do it with ease.
Rick has some very remarkable insights. Enjoy reading through our chat below.
[Featured Artwork: “Consonance and Dissonance.” 36″x36″ mixed media on cradled birch panel.]
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
01. Rock, paper, or scissors?
I never play it but if I did it would probably be either Lizard or Spock.
02. What are three interesting facts about you?
A. I’m an adolescent survivor of measles. I was in a coma for a couple of days and I had to recover from brain damage. I was really, really lucky; it was very mild, and that gave me an appreciation for how life can suddenly change on you. It was 6 months of recovery in a variety of ways.
B. I’m not exactly someone who makes long-term decisions really well. I’m a bouncer. Even in my career, I’ve moved around a lot because I get to certain point where I’m comfortable and then I have to move on to something challenging again.
C. I had a prior dance career. My wife and I met at the University of Alberta dance club where we were volunteer instructors. Then, we went on to teach dance for another 15 years after we finished that. Dance was my side career before I shifted into art. And it’s still something that I really enjoy. I’m taking jazz dance in my late 50s for the first time at the U of A.
03. Where did your passion for art start?
It started in childhood, for sure. For me, it started with collecting stuff. A lot of kids go around collecting stuff, like stones, stickers, stamps. That’s where I think we start getting our first sense of aesthetics. I think that’s where (my passion for art) started developing. Thinking about and collecting what I thought was beautiful and interesting and exciting. And it just grows. And you want to make things and it keeps on building as you go through your life.
04. Is art your career or a hobby? Or something else?
I’m an IT consultant. I would say that I have to bring home the bacon so IT has to be at least considered a career for me. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Art is the career that I want to have and want to spend most of my time on. IT is something that I still enjoy doing, but art is where I would like to spend most of my time.
05. Are you more productive at night or in the morning?
I’m definitely a night owl. Usually, my mornings are getting the stuff out of the way that I need to. Even in my IT work, the morning is where I get rid of my email and get my schedule set for the day and focus on what I need to do in the afternoon.
06. What is the main medium you use in your art?
I’m definitely a mixed media artist. Acrylic is the foundation media so I use that to stick everything together. It’s rare that I do a piece that is just acrylic, and I typically work on wood panels.
07. What is your favourite drink?
My favourite drink is tea. And if you’re talking alcohol, then red wine. Very specifically, I make a combination of cocoa and peppermint tea.
08. What is your go-to band or artist?
I probably have to include two: David Bowie and Annie Lennox, or the Eurythmics. In every playlist I create, they show up. But my playlists generally have 50-100 songs from different artists. Maroon 5 is another favourite band, and Great Big Sea.
09. What inspires your art?
My art gets inspired, like a lot of artists, from just about anything. Usually, “just about anything” has to hit a conceptual nerve for me. In order for it to be something I can make art out of, it has to be bigger to me than, “That’s a cool colour combo.”
In recent time, the most inspiring thing for me has been collaborations. I’ve done projects with the Goop of 7 — who your wife Meghan is a part of as well — where we’ve created a single piece of work that multiple artists have collaborated on. You see different ways that people come at art.
Recently, I’ve done a collaboration with Pamela Baergen who is involved with collage. It was unsettling imagery where a lot of the painting was primarily mine, we both did photography, and Pam collaged it together. I took over 1,000 photographs of my daughter in the parking lot behind my studio.
10. What song or artist do you like but rarely admit to liking?
There are just so many. One would definitely be Britney Spears. She has such a reputation in so many different ways, but the hooks in her music are so good. Prince would be another one that a lot of people wouldn’t admit to, but I actually love the guy’s music. And Michael Jackson as well. I think after all the revelations, I think he’s seen as a pariah by a lot of people but I think his music is fantastic.
11. What app do you use most often?
The app that I use most often right now is called Inkarnate. It’s a specialty app used for creating tabletop role-playing maps. I’m basically creating a world for Dungeons & Dragons. My family gets together once a week or once every couple of weeks to play Dungeons & Dragons.
12. Are you more productive at night or in the morning?
At night. I think it started when my kids were little. When everybody else went to bed, that’s when the rest of the world was turned off. And that’s when I could get some work accomplished.
13. What’s the best single day on the calendar?
I’m gonna say Christmas because it’s one of those days where you just completely forget about the rest of the world no matter what and do something fun as a family and, hopefully, not have too many dysfunctional arguments over making dinner.
14. What do you hope people get out of your art?
When it’s something I’ve conceptually been working on, then I hope that they get a perspective on whatever the theme is that I was pulling together. But I work in an abstract vein. And you have to assume that the viewer will get something out of it that you don’t necessarily intend. So there has to be collaboration between the artist and the viewer.
15. What are you hilariously bad at?
It’s embarrassing to me but what I’m hilariously bad at is being able to summarize what I want to say quickly. I feel for you because you’re editing this. [Editor’s note: My pleasure, Rick!]