Ric Heitzman – Art and Cake

What does a day in your art practice look like?
I am usually up early, in fact, I don’t sleep much in general. I like to produce work as soon as possible after coffee. I usually draw or paint for two-three hours. When I remember dream images, I will take the time and attempt to draw or paint them before anything I have already underway.
I keep sketchbooks daily, a practice I’ve followed since college. I work out future ideas, draw narratives, gag cartoons or observational drawings and listings of ideas to pursue.
I have just completed a long project, a stencil sketchbook. I spent a couple of hours a day drawing, cutting out stencils and spraying the finished piece per page. Two hundred and twenty individual stencil paintings. This project took years of sporadic effort to complete. I am documenting it and animating pages for a short film, “The Sketchbook” as well as researching publishers. I alternate animating on the computer with working in the studio.
Currently, I am working with acrylic, vinyl, inks and oil paint, switching back and forth between a series of paintings on panels to a series on canvas. Also, I have several large drawings in ink and watercolor going concurrently.
I work on whatever has the strongest pull on my imagination. Some days I have to make myself focus on a stop motion film that I have been involved with for over five years. Each project has its own timeline.
For a few hours several times a week I work on the business of art: mailing out orders of a self-published book, emailing, researching galleries and artists. Currently, I am looking for representation by a gallery, an effort that is daunting. To stay focused on my goals, I have to work on business in bursts.

What inspires you?
I have eclectic interests: birds, art from high to low brow, comics, Italian filmmakers, dance, music, Kaiju films, history of civilizations and migrating peoples in history, early animation and filmmaking, puppetry, and historic political cartoons are a few that come to mind.
My friends inspire me, I am lucky to know many inspiring people.

How do you like Dem Apples? , ballpoint pen on Arches, 24 x 40 inches

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Create like no one cares but yourself. Don’t dwell on work you can’t resolve; make something then move to the next piece. Surround yourself with people you can learn from. Mentors are good to have and not abuse. Share your interests.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
For the last five years, I have not had the problem of lack of motivation, there are not enough hours in each day for me presently. My preference is to not know exactly what I am going to draw or paint and trust myself to begin with a series of visual challenges. For instance, I mentioned my interest in design and comics. I have a continuing series of drawings, where I will use parts of comic book characters to kick start the compositions. An eyebrow of Goofy or the tight grimaced lips from a Dick Tracey villain are removed from their original context. I distort these shapes to make compositions. I use these elements because I appreciate the artistry of artists that have led the way for me. These elements become cues for me to develop a composition full of other visual references such as psychedelic posters from the sixties to renaissance ceiling murals. If you study my art closely, you would see that I bury images within images. Like secret messages, I have many things hidden within the intricate line work, from comics and political ideas to drumming notation are woven into the maze of cross hatching. These practices are motivating me at the present.

Gean Geanie, painted sculpture in polymer & acrylic, 14 x 8 x 4 inches.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Listen to yourself. Pay attention to your intuition. Tune out the junk whenever possible.
Striving to create something is enough. Follow your heart not your pocketbook.

How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
I have been very lucky to have interactions with masters of their crafts; artists, comedians, actors, writers, directors and musicians. That happened because I took a chance a one point in my life to have an adventure. Though I am by nature shy in public, I do believe you have to be present in the community to understand how it works and how you fit. I took a chance to DJ, write and act in radio plays and to perform in public. That got me out of myself, corroborating with other artists. Improvising with others can be magical also there’s safety in numbers. These kinds of interactions are what sparked creativity at that moment and beyond. The narrative content that I make draws from everyday experiences and critique. My art is the detritus of my life experience.

What goes through the mind of the accused whilst evading the Press, Ink & watercolor on Arches
36 x 24 inches.

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
My goal is to fascinate the viewer for the few seconds that they are viewing of one of my pieces. I hope to give the viewer a rich experience in the time they spend with one of my artworks. I am hoping I can hold their gaze long enough for them to look a little closer, that investigation will prove to unfold more content woven into the composition. I intend to lead the viewers eyes within the picture by the use of color, form and composition. The pieces are full of hidden symbols and narrative sentiments to be deciphered by the viewer if they retain their interest. The intent of my art varies by the piece. In some cases, I begin with developing a visual metaphor with intent to comment on some cultural issue. Other times, the intent becomes clearer as I develop the image or sculpture. What matters is how the public perceives what an artist makes. The art will live if the public deems it worthy. It will have to stand up to critique and examination.

What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Starting out in any field, be humble. Listen, look and learn. Be curious, ask questions to learn. Be eager to learn everything or switch to something you can be eager about.

Ric Heitzman at Face Guts
July 16th noon-6pm PST

4136 Verdugo Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90065


A Solution in search of a Problem, acrylic & ink on canvas, 72 x 50 inches