I recently interviewed artist Eric Mirabel aka Rev. Eirik. Mr. Mirabel creates acrylic paintings that involve a great deal of texture work. Due to this he works on wood surfaces (To avoid cracking.). Symbolism plays an important role in his paintings. They are personal... yet at the same time they allow the viewer to create his or her own story around the meaning of the image. In a sense, his work is a confession.
Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?
A. "I would say that the realization of the arts being a part of me till my days end would be at an early age; I discovered that I loved art too much to want to do anything else."
Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?
A. "I find myself to be calmer and also more responsive to peoples needs, I’m not so dismissive and an irritable as I usually am. I’ve come to the exception of having fans, friends, and clients that love me and my work I find it is a gentle slap in the face that puts me in my place. I used to have this elitist attitude and I feel it’s gone now, or so I hope."
Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?
A. "Yes, as it should any artist, I quote Dali when I say "Those who do not want to imitate anything produce nothing."
I fabricate my personal worlds from the one I already know.
Whether the world I create is pleasant or a thing of horrors, they are always an exaggerated version of what already exist."
Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?
A. "In no particular order: Dali, H.R.Giger, Gustav Klimt The cartoonist from the old school Playboy Mags, Patrick Nagel, Alfonse Mucha, Author Rackham, StarWars, Creature Features, Heavy Metal Magazine, KISS, Frank Herberts DUNE, M.C. Escher, Andrew Warhala, Godzilla, Hitler, Communist propaganda, Nivek Ogre, Blade Runner, Jean Paul Gaultier, Architeuthis .
There are many influences, some are human some are machine."
Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?
A. "Well my background isn’t much to boast about, but I know there is a reflection or refraction of my past in my work.
My past was not the best, so things are usually altered with selective memory and at times minimized for our protection."
Q. How long have you been a working artist?
A. "I’m not sure I have so many ups and downs off and ons, so about 5 years."
Q. On average, how long does it take you create one piece?
A. "Well, it depends on the subject of the piece, the size, and how much I am in love with the nature of the project.
I would say that on average it takes me 3 weeks to 2 months."
Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?
A. "My usual rituals usually start with morning tea. Then what ever it takes to get into gear. It all depends on the mood the time and how exited I am about the piece.
Once I’m in gear I’ll put on some tunes or a movie. I usually listen to or watch things that can put me in the world I’m trying to create. So, I listen to many types of music and watch almost any kind of movie, what ever it takes to emulate the idea or bring out the emotion of this that I am trying to create.
For those who want to know what’s usually on my music menu- TOOL, Dead Can Dance, David Bowie, The London Suede, Skinny Puppy, Patsy Cline, Einsturzende Neubauten, Goldfrapp, Joan Morrissey, Queen, Johnny Cash, Laibach, Pink Floyd, Pulp, Prince, The White Stripes, Combichrist, Tom Jones, Turbo Negro, Nick Cave, The Legendary Pink Dots…..The list go on kids.
Movies… Well for someone in my lifestyle there is the "Power 3": Brazil , Dune, and Blade Runner.
Then the list of movies fits anywhere in between The Tales of Grimly Hospital to Bridget Jones Diary.
As long as I have the need to start or finish a piece, I’m in the mood, and those days will always start with tea."
Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?
A. "I know that 89% of my collectors are white males.
Fetish, BDSM, Gothic, Sci-Fi world like my stuff, gay people love my Face/Portraits. I have collectors that are older men with families; there is one collector that is a director of lesbian films…My collectors are all across the board really, there are a few people I’ve never seen or met so who knows."
Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?
A. "I guess I’ll talk about the painting I currently use as my Myspace avatar. .(the pic above)
Title: Bad Kitty, who or what have you been in. a.k.a Kitten.
2003, this was the year I decided that I had to leave behind the girl that I was in love with for 3+ years; I had to let go for reasons that where good.(I’ll bore you some other day with this story), Well, I was pretty messed up. Lucky I had my friend Ashes living with me and she was did a great job at keeping my head level and keeping my heart from falling completely to the floor.
I felt that if I can’t have this person in my life in the manner that I wished it, I needed to change things so it’s ok to be free of her. This painting was the first step of my transition. I painted the pain away.
a. The overwhelming white of the back ground, this white represents how much I was absorbed into this person; I never got a clear view, a clear picture of what was going, or what was happening. I was drowning in her and I needed saving.
b. The girl, her name is Kitten; she isn’t the person that broke me, just a representation. Here Kitten portrays the body the flesh that I fell for, you see she looks serene, tranquil, and innocent, the gravity of the girl invokes thoughts or feelings. You have to look and see at least once.
c. The kitten outfit, it’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing thing.
d. The blood, well that’s my blood, for years she has feasted on my insides and all that were left of me when I came to my senses was my hollowed body.
When I was painting Kitten, it was my self help piece, the washing of my hands piece. I meant a lot that I got it done to free myself. Now today, it’s just another one of my painting.
A Kitten posing at the end of a sinister act. There are many copies of this piece the other times I painted her; there was no emotional reoccurrence, just the joy of painting. I believe I am cleansed. The rise of the phoenix:
Kitten gave birth to the "Kitty Litter" series and the new me."
Q. What is your artistic process?
A. "I work in many ways, my favorite is to work off photographs, I find it more convenient. A photo shoot of one person or even a pic I find off of Myspace that I borrow with permission. I look for special gestures and poses. I’m currently looking for that one muse to match that everything girl that I usually paint.
I also doodle at times, sometimes I produce an image that I like and I work from there.
There is also the drawing session, I’ll sit with a pencil and what ever paper I find and just draw till I’m happy with the image."
Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?
A. "I use acrylics and I paint on wood. I use wood as the platform cause the texturing I do demands it, all my canvas paintings have cracked the paint layers are so thick.
The style of my paintings works best with acrylics.
I’m also not too fond of the smell of oils."
Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how has it helped your art career?
A."No, no degree, I would go back to school, but I wouldn’t take art classes, I would take fashion classes, I want to make shoes and boots."
Q. Where can we see more of your art?
A. "I am currently rebuilding my websites so they are down, but you could look in "I warn you though it needs updating):
And soon on MYARTSPACE.COM."
Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?
A. "No, not really, The Pendulum is new and it’s mostly a club and special events place. There are more parties than art shows there.
I am working on a few shows for 2007, aside from getting my ass into galleries I am putting together a group show for the month of July, August, or September.
My earliest show should be in Feb., we still haven’t solidified a date, and it’s a 2 person show, with Tiffany Star and me at the Pendulum."
Q. What galleries have you exhibited in? Can you provide links to their sites?
"Made to Match Closed
The Works http://www.workssanjose.org/
Art SF http://www.artsf.org/
735 Harrisson Closed
The Pendulum http://thetentacleparadox.com/BlackRabbitProductions/BlackRabbit- PastEvents.htm"
Q.What trends do you see in the 'art world'?
A. "It almost seems that every young artist wants to be featured in Juxtapose magazine. So there are many clones…. Cookie cutters are for cookie dough kids."
Q. Any tips for emerging artists?
A. "Don’t compromise yourself."
Q. Has your work ever been censored? If so, how did you deal with it?
A. "Yes, at a show during college, there was a new Dean and she refused to show my work. I guess the dean didn’t think a four breasted four armed self-cruci-fiction piece wasn’t art. Man I have a pic of that piece someplace."
Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?
A. "There was a point when I got into drugs and all the work I created was total crap, but this crap made very good kindling.
I think that drug thing was the lowest; I’m here now well, at least till cremation."
Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?
A. "The devils in the details and I have OCD."
Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?
A. "I represent San Jose CA and San Francisco CA .
San Jose is pretty damn impressive, although the scene here is not as big as SF. I’ve got to say that I’m pleased, there is a variety of great artist here. If you come to San Jose and look hard enough, you will find the gems. Start your search at Anno Domini http://www.galleryad.com/
SF is a revolving door for art students. I have met so many talented people from all over the world here. It seems that many art students start here cause of the 3 arts schools, CCA, AI, and AAU, and I will add SF State to that list too.
The schools and the city of San Francisco attract some real powerful and interesting artist. The quality and quantity of talents that gather here can give a growing artist a real feel of what they are getting into, there is so much to see and do it’s pretty intense; it’s sometimes really overwhelming.
Oh and yeah Juxtaposes home base is here too so, yeah, fun times."
Q. Has politics ever entered your art?
A. "As a child it did, only due to angst. I had my political phase, I made many enemies.
Now I trust political art to those who have the fight in them."
Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?
A. "Yeah, I was raised Catholic and now I’m a practicing Purest, and I would think that my work is shaped by trying not to represent anything Christian, Jewish, or Muslim."
Q. Does your cultural background play a part in your work?
A. "No, I don’t think so. I try to create things neutral of cultural background, race, heritage, and religion."
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'
A. "Enjoy it while it last."
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Eric Mirabel. Feel free to critique or discuss his work.
Take care, Stay true,