name: RF Pangborn
year of birth: 1971
Q1: When did you start making art?
Ha, well, pretty much like everyone says, as far back as I can remember. Back when My brother and I were little kids, my mother would bring home these big reems of brown paper from work.We would roll out like six feet at a time and build these big horizontal landscapes. Make armies and bases and shoot missiles at each other. Being latch key kids too, back in the day, I remember us occupying alot of our time indoors with drawing. My brother’s drawings were always badass compared to mine. His characters always looked more menacing. He knew how to put in the chest and shoulders correctly, He knew where to put in the jaw line correctly and all that… so that made me want to try to learn to be better at it.
Q2: What does inspire you?
I’m a huge horror, and exploitation film nerd. I have an unhealthy amount of bad movies and shelves of books. I’ve got almost everything by Lovecraft. I collect Brian Keene’s stuff. Garbage in, Garbage out, they say. So I just keep filling up the ol supercomputer warehouse with weird stuff. Pretty much.
Q3: What are your techniques?
Man, when I first got into all this oil painting and started really taking it seriously, I really felt comfortable with the Venetian method. I studied everthing I could about it, grabbed as many good books as I could on the techniques of the Old Masters…After I calmed down and gained a little more confidence,to realize that the only thing that matters are the end result. If it looks right, it is right. So use whatever means necessary.
When you go to museums and see all those great works up close, you can get a better sense of the brushwork and layering. You start to see the many different methods within the same painting, some rules are broken, mistakes are covered over and so forth. The best thing you can take from the Old Masters is to be resourceful.
I once viewed a Reubens up close, and I was so happy to see where he just quickly slogged on some black glaze to darken over the finished layer. It looked like a quick afterthought. From twenty feet away it looks genius.
Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
There’s two sides right now. On the one hand, I am fascinated by portraiture.
Especially in the classical techniques. To paint something no and make it look like it was painted a long time ago. And I think for me, the height of your painting will be when you can convincingly portray a living breathing person, give them a sense of physical presence to everyone who views it. When a human looks at a depiction of another humans face, they will instinctually recognize all of your mistakes. They don’t have to be professional art critics. The face just doesn’t ” look right”. On the other hand too, are my personal works. It’s rare I get a chance to work on them between my day job and my commissions. But from time to time I get to create some fun, grotesque and dark pieces. Boobs too. And monsters it seems.
Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I’m extremely partial to painting the under layers in a warm brown. Black is good too, if you want to scumble the lights out of it. I also tend to use as limited a palette as possible. Sometimes just three colors and Titanium White.
Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
I think the attitude to have is to always look at your work as your harshest critic. Don’t blow smoke up your own ass. If you can’t draw hands, dont draw squares and tell me it’s your “style”. Learn to draw the hands. There are books, youtube videos now…no excuses. Paint constantly. Then your work will just get better naturally. I hope to be making this kind of improvement in my art life.
Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
More commissioned work. If I can keep the portraiture end up, It has the potential to support more of my personal works.
Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of RF Pangborn.
Ah so awkward.
Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
I wish I had something like that, but if memory serves me correct, I don’t think it would be anything to write home about. And done with crayon. I remember drawing in the dirt on the front lawn. Back then, as a kid, you spent alotmore time outside. You could draw on the street with the right rock or piece of cement.
Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
Jesus, I hope they look a little better. That would be good.
Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
That’s a cool question and I think most will agree it’s both of those things all at once. That’s why you do it.