Stacey Rozich, Illustrator & Painter

Stacey's paintings and illustrations basically set our hearts on fire - they are so elegantly put together, full of life and just a little bit off-kilter. Her responses here are special too, an insight into the way she approaches her work and her life, as an all-round excellent human. Thanks Stacey!  

What do you do?

I'm a painter and an illustrator

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

It all works out, it always does. My dad always tells me that when I call him having a meltdown.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

The first would be going to art school in San Francisco to study illustration right after high school and subsequently dropping out two years later. The second would be moving home to Seattle where I got a small studio in an old art warehouse, I started to forge my own style by sitting in a dark space painting for hours with no deadlines and no one to please but myself. The third would be my early 20's boyfriend, my "first love" dumping me out of the blue. It totally broke my heart and shook me, but it set me free in a way where I could push through boundaries and channel all of this angst into motivation to work. Heartbreak, especially when you're young, can be a very deep well to draw from.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I have a few personal commissions lined up — those are often my bread and butter work — as well as an editorial piece that will be in a leftist political publication out of D.C. And to cap that off I'm in the middle of creating five new pieces for a two-person show at Talon Gallery in Portland opening next month. I had gotten my wires crossed and I let this gallery schedule slip my mind so I've been painting for the last 9 days straight for 8 - 10 hours a day all to get these pieces created. My eyes are a little sore!

What is your dream project?

My definition of a dream project changes depending on where I'm at with my artwork. Sometimes I dream of having the opportunity to paint bigger and weirder murals in a different country, other times its having a solo show at some of my fantasy galleries. Though the main dream I've always had is to channel the "world" I've created in my artwork into a young adult book series. I still haven't worked out the format, but I would want it to be something like a graphic novel and art book combination, but with a narrative thread throughout the whole thing. It would be a great thing to serialize, then of course down the road I would turn it into a movie If I'm letting this fantasy snowball. My boyfriend Sam is a director (he does tv commercials) and we worked on a music video together in 2014 and he really helped me bring my creations to real life, maybe he could direct the film.

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What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I have seen almost every episode of the Simpsons seasons 3 - 8 probably 100 times each, maybe more. I've been watching that show since I was 8, and I'm 30 now so that's a lot of years of reruns. I have a Bart Simpsons tattoo on my arm. And, wow — I was just wearing my vintage Bart tee on a hike. Maybe I should examine this?

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

I've been really into the new Shabazz Palaces record, it's so dang good. Sometimes, and this will sound nuts but maybe some can relate: I forget music because there is so much of it at my fingertips, it's this weird burden of choice. My mind goes blank when I try to think of an album or an artist, as if I have never listened. I simultaneously thank the Internet for its many resources but also I want to curse it for strange side effects like this. When I work though, I like podcasts. I like hearing people talk: they dispense knowledge or political opinion and insight while I paint. I love Stuff You Should Know, Reply All for informational listening. On the political commentary it's Slate's Poltical Gabfest, Pod Save America and sometimes Chapo Traphouse if I want the socialist weirdo angle. Mysterious Universe too, which is Australian! Sometimes they veer into questionable Internet Bro territory but I like how they approach fringe conspiracy theory with a lot of humor.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

I would like to see more female representation, especially more women of color. Very often these perspectives are left out of the conversation, even in art and design. Which is so frustrating! This field is supposed to be a forward-thinking lens reflecting our current state of affairs back to us and somehow its still deeply entrenched in one viewpoint. I would like to see that change, and for art and design to open the playing field to a wider audience to contribute.

 

 

What places are important to you?

Hands down I think the Pacific Northwest is the most important place for me. I feel really lucky that I grew up in Seattle in the 90's and early 00's when the city was still funky but changing into a small metropolitan city. It still has a lot of time capsule towns in the mountains close by that are very Twin Peaks, those are a lot of fun to explore. I was never a big outdoors-y person but I remember taking day drives with my family into the forest and watching the fog linger around the tree tops and thinking it was so beautiful and mysterious. Just thinking about that now makes me really nostalgic for that clear air; I can almost feel big rain drops falling on me. I live in essentially a desert climate which I don't love but I'm adapted to it now. I may be one of the few people here that finds sunshine monotonous and incredibly boring.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

My dad is really great for many things but he's got a real knack for giving good overall life advice. He told me from a young age "draw every day" and I did! He's an artist too and saw "it" in me when I was really young. I'm really happy I stuck with it and followed his advice.

 

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

I have a lot of really supportive, fantastic women in my field and in my life — I couldn't be more lucky. I've always had a lot of strong females in my life (my mom, my aunt Nancy, etc) that have always instilled a lot of good values which, I think, helps guide you to other similar women throughout life. Getting into my 20's I started meeting a lot more women in the creative field when I lived in Seattle and they've all helped me in different ways. It could be always showing up at my gallery shows no matter how small, to actually collecting my work to commissioning me to create murals for their business' or to help develop artwork for the company they helm the art department for. I am always so humbled by this network for always taking care of each other and giving each other opportunities we might not have otherwise.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

There are many experiences I've had yet I'm always reflective on the day I learned watercolor in art school. Up until that point I think I had half-heartedly tried to paint with acrylic which I hated. Before that I was using — (shamefully) — markers! So that day when I dipped my brush into this dark, shining pool of watercolor and touched the paper this most luscious, gorgeous fuchsia came out! It was an electric feeling. It felt like I was home.

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

There isn't anything in particular I'm dying to be asked, but I am always amazed at how the line of questioning for artists, or musicians — really anyone who creates anything — is what "inspires them". I understand the necessity for people to get to the root of what drives people but there is a smarter, more nuanced way to get to that answer. Whenever I'm asked that I feel like I'm seconds away from my head exploding.

How can we find our more about your work?

At my website staceyrozich.com and on the Instagramz @staceyrozich

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

I would love to read Kelly Bjork's answers!