RJ Raizk Covers the World With His Patterns [Gallery]
From astoundingly intricate and complex black and white canvases to colorful, geometric works on wood, New York artist RJ Raizk's use of a wide range of materials and style reveals his dedication to artistic experimentation and discovery. Expanding his work beyond the canvas or wood panel, Raizk recently began creating inventive large-scale murals, recalling in clubs such as the Lower East Side's Bow and hotels such as the Tribeca Grand and Miami's Hotel Victor and Freehand Miami, recalling the spontaneous lines of Keith Haring and his work in commercial spaces.
We spoke to Raizk about his murals in clubs and hotels, his love for artistic experimentation and his plans to cover the world with his art.
You completed large-scale murals in clubs like Bow and hotels such as the Tribeca Grand, Hotel Victor and Freehand in Miami. How did you start doing murals in hotels and clubs? Did you always want to do murals?
RJ Raizk: I started doing murals in Clubs like BOW and hotels such as Tribeca Grand, Hotel Victor and Freehand in Miami through an interest in doing more commercial and large-scale spaces. The mural work I did became synonymous with the brand of the clubs and hotels. I feel the hospitality industry is a great format for me to showcase my talent, especially it being part of someone's enjoyable experience.
The murals in hotels and clubs remind me of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf's freehand murals in New York clubs like Palladium. Who or what are your artistic inspirations?
It is flattering that people compare my work to Keith Haring. I used to draw figures and fill the negative space with my patterns. Over time I decided to dissect the figures, remove the patterns and make them a whole separate entity. From there, I wanted to use my pattern work for everything. My main inspirations come from my surroundings. For Freehand Miami, I drew a "palm print" pattern on the walls in the rooms. The inspiration for this particular print came from the patterns of the old fronds on a type of local palm tree I saw. It was a very fitting choice for the hotel because of the local climate and the feeling it evokes when one views it.
You seem to work with a lot of different materials and processes from wood and glass to silk-screening and engraving. How is experimentation with different materials important to you as an artist?
It's very important. I am a Gemini and have a very fleeting attention span by nature and having the ability to experiment and brainstorm with different materials keeps me in the moment. Experimentation allows me to create new ideas and works on the spot. I am a very visual person and being able to see and touch a range of different materials is nothing but beneficial to me. I have created some of my most beautiful works through the use of experimentation. Sometimes I have a vision and by the end of the process, the work may look completely different. Different in a way where it looks better than I could have imagined before I went hands-on.
Your black and white ink works on canvas are extremely intricate, tightly drawn and appear very controlled. What is your process with these works?
These works started out as hand drawn patterns on sketch paper. I freehand the patterns on the sketch paper. They have to be very clean and I only give myself one chance to complete a sheet. If there is any type of error, if the pattern doesn't look even enough or the line is too thick, I start over from scratch. Once completed, I save all of my pattern sheets for future ideas. These black and white ink canvas works are actually digital edits of my drawings. Not digital in the way where I add to my own line work, but digital in the way I enhance them. For the black and white works, I mirrored my own drawn image four times, with the center as the focal point. These edits are great for canvas works, textile design and direct application to walls.
Speaking of textile design, you have also worked with designers such as your collaboration with Sang A on clutches. How does fashion inspire your art?
I appreciate textiles. The various prints I see give me inspiration to create new patterns. Textile design is another field I want to explore and fashion does just that. I also love different textures, which brings back to my experimentation with glass, wood and leather.
What are your future artistic plans?
The future looks busy. I have been working on some private commissions and more murals for businesses and private clients. I want to cover the world with my pattern work.
Images courtesy of RJ Raizk