Midnite Collective interviews Lucas Ruggieri, Illustrator
Mediums: Pen and ink, watercolor, etching
Based in: Brooklyn, New York
Years active: 5
Most recent clients: Maryland Deathfest, Abyssal(mexico), Corrupt Moral Altar, Kadavar, Nekrofilth, Solemn They Await, Ageless Oblivion
Current albums in rotation: Tsjuder – Desert Northern Hell, Carnage – Dark Recollections, Winterwolf – Cycle of the Werewolf, Necros Christos – Nine Graves, Necrophobic –Hrimthursum, and pretty much all Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest always.
Intricately crafted, your pieces are beautifully detailed images often displaying very occult themes or dark entities. How has your subject matter and inspiration for pieces come together through your artistic journey? Where do you seem to take the most inspiration for your works?
I would say that I take inspiration for my work from the past in a general sense, mythology and (art) history more specifically, though I think the two go hand in hand. The fantastical elements of mythology make for incredibly rich imagery and have become a heavy focus of my work. The imagery of Northern Renaissance etchings, engravings and woodcuts have also had a huge impact on the more stylistic aspects of my work.
You recently completed a piece for Maryland Deathfest. Knowing you are a long-time fan and attendee, how was it collaborating with a client that sits close to your heart? If you were able to commission another ideal client or piece, who/what would it be and why?
After receiving the email about that commission, apart from being ridiculously excited, I was just really grateful to have such an opportunity. Collaborating with a client like that is really enjoyable, but can be slightly nerve-racking at the same time. My expectations for my work are high and the pressure is really on. Overall, everything for this went smoothly and I couldn’t have asked for a better client.
The first bands that immediately come to mind when thinking of who would be an ideal client would probably be Unleashed, or Aura Noir. I would also love to work for a band like like Peste Noire, with such a unique sound I think it would be really fun and challenging to make a piece to properly fit with their aesthetic. This is a really hard question to answer and keep short; I could list so many bands that I would only be so lucky to work with.
Following the Deathfest line of thought, what are some of your favorite bands you have witnessed there over the years? Share your Top 5 performances over the years there and those whom you are looking forward to seeing most at this next festival.
This one is also really tough to answer. Year after year, Deathfest has had such amazing lineups, and of course next year is no exception. A particularly memorable experience from the first year I went was seeing Ghoul headline the pre-show. I had just finished the first comic that would eventually be included in the Maniaxe vinyl. I had brought it with me to show the band, and I ended up getting to meet them before they played, which was really awesome. I would have to say that this past year At The Gates and Unleashed were just really incredible. Entombed playing in 2010 and Nunslaughter in 2011 were also very memorable sets that were just insanely fun. Again, this one is really tough to keep at only five, so I’m going to cheat and say that I also have to mention Necros Christos this past year, who played a pretty perfect set in my opinion.
This coming year I am really looking forward to seeing Tsjuder, Splatterhouse, Bulldozer, Metal Church, Razor, Aeternus, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, just to name a few (another list that is hard to keep short). I also was unable to attend the year that Napalm Death and Dragged Into Sunlight played, so I’m really looking forward to their sets as well, and its always great to be able to meet bands (Dragged Into Sunlight) that I have worked for and have the chance see them live for the first time.
You currently have an exhibition (aside from Midnite Communion) fast approaching at The Cotton Candy Machine. Tell us about that growing gallery and your upcoming, as well as recent, involvement with them.
The gallery itself is incredibly stimulating. It definitely stands apart in that it’s not your typical white walls gallery with pieces of artwork minimally dispersed throughout space. There are just prints, toys, t-shirts and books everywhere, and they really offer something for everybody. Events of theirs like the Tiny Trifecta and the Robeling Fair are really great examples of their attitude towards both artists and collectors, wanting to facilitate success of the artists while keeping customers and collectors happy by offering amazing work at such accessible prices. They just have an all around great attitude and. The word that comes to mind when asked about the people who run the gallery is hospitable.
I participated in the Roebling Fair a few times over the summer, which is a new event that they have set up on the weekends outside of the gallery with booths set up and artists selling their work. It was always a really interesting mix of awesome people each offering something different. I had been selling some original works and mostly prints, but the upcoming show is all original work, mostly brand new, as well as some older original works that were commissioned by bands including Dragged Into Sunlight. The show will be opening on November 22nd and I’m really excited that the other show that will be going on in the front of the gallery space will be Arik Roper and The Art of Skinner, so needless to say I’m honored to be able to share the space with such incredibly talented artists.
If you could collaborate with any artist from the past, who would it be and why? Also, taking from the past is there any one in particular that has helped guide you through your art career? And do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
If I could collaborate with any artist from the past, I would have to choose Heindrik Goltzius, a Northern Mannerist engraver, draftsman and painter. Goltzius was often looked down upon because of a deformity of his hand; the result of a childhood accident. Although he was a master of his craft, many people disregarded his work. He was a pretty inflammatory character in the realm of art history. He would do things such as shield his identity from critics, striking up conversations about himself to find out their true opinions about his life and work. I mean, who doesn’t love an underdog.
I can’t really say that there has been any one person who has served as a guide or anyone that I would really call a mentor, but my suggestions to any aspiring artists would be to work hard, do your homework and if you really care about something, go for it. For the most part, nothing will be handed to you, but also don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I’ve secured jobs by reaching out and expressing interest, hoping only for a response, if anything and ending up with a commission out of it. Along with that, I think knowledge of art history is pretty critical and can only help artists develop opinions, draw inspiration, and add depth to their work. It’s a lot of hard work, and it’s not for everyone, but if you’re really passionate about whatever it is that you do and you put effort and energy into your work, others will notice.
Lucas will have a new original and selected works on display at this year’s Midnite Communion, taking place November 15th at The Complex in Los Angeles. Visit www.lucasruggieriillustration.com for more samples of his work and contact him for commissions.