Excerpt from Interview in Love/Hate magazine:
(RENE) I grew up just outside Cleveland Ohio had a pretty average life just kickin it with the kids in my neighborhood playing around the woods
building forts and playing in nature.
I always loved creatures, character art and drawing and had a thing for
Snoopy and Dr. Seuss characters as most kids did. I excelled in art classes
and got a few mini scholarships and studied communication arts and Illustration.
Just after art school went back to Cleveland to pound the pavement for a job and happen to get a lead about a designer position at Those Characters From Cleveland a Division of American Greetings. After a few years I started moonlighting and working with my hands to create art pieces from found objects, electrical parts, kitchen utensils and doo-dads. I started a lil jewelry line called BOBELINK on the side. I sold to shops (famed "Patricia Fields" NYC), boutiques the art museum & galleries.
I love music and nightlife and I was a club kid hanging out dancing and drinking. Went to a fashion performance show at a club and thought how cool it would be for me to have a fashion show. I brainstormed a line of fashion looks that was an expansion of my jewelry line ...full body wear and almost costume like.
I got the hottest club in town to let me put on fashion show performance, it was a success and things just grew from there it was like a spark was lit. This lead to featuring my work on stage at Lollapalooza with Red hot chilly peppers, Ministry and MTV. Trendy fashion shows at the famed
Limelight in New York City. I was gaining a pretty nice portfolio working in 3-dimsionional objects making fashion and sculptures that were in several gallery shows and featured in magazines.
I happen to go to LA to exhibit my work at the Cyber Arts Convention and met with a X- Clevelander who owned a very propionate feature film prop shop in Hollywood. As I was in the shop a production designer from Warner Brothers stopped by, My friend said “you should see this girl’s work, it would be perfect for your film.” It turned out they were preparing Demolition Man starring Sylvester Stallone. I got on the project and my work was in the film and I was able to work on set. I moved to LA full time to see what I could make of this crazy new career.
Once in LA I got involved in Films like Tank Girl that featured my body
armor, jewelry. Also became a stylist for music videos to keep busy.
After a year of be bopping around the film industry I wanted something a lil more steady and called up Mattel Toys to see about a position as a Designer. I landed the job. Worked at Mattel for 2 years and then moved to San Francisco to work for Oddzon/ Hasbro Toys managing and designing licensed toys & development for films like Stars wars, Harry Potter, Toy story, Pokemon and many more.. It keep me busy for about 3 yrs but left to start a
company with my boyfriend and partner Cameron Smith. We started Strange Monster (apparel company) and Inkmonster (Licensing) I have been in business for about 8 yrs now, It's a lot of work but fun and rewarding.
-Describe your style to someone that may have never seen your work.
(RENE) I work in several mediums and styles and so it's hard to describe. When it comes to my drawing style I love to create imaginary characters somewhat cute with a misfit quality. I have an obsession with tentacles and cephalopods. I just cant draw them enough. When it comes to my 3-dimeional art I am inspired by history and cultural costumes from Africa with a dash a futurism.
I never really consciously think about what I going to create I let the
elements and materials come to together and it just all works out.
-Your work has some very delicate nature themes but also can be considered gothic. What inspires you currently?
(RENE) I enjoy the juxtaposition of the dark and light mischievous cute things. I am drawn to Victorian& Edwardian era all the detail and decoration inspires me.
-What medium do you prefer to work in?
(RENE) I am currently into drawing and silk screening, we have a 8 color silkscreen press. Cameron my partner has master the art of silk-screening so we are equal partners in the creation of our line.
have several half baked paintings on wood laying around the house that I work on occasionally.
I am soo happy I move up to Portland 3 yrs ago.
I love the quality of life, trees and nature, the people the quirkiness of this place makes me smile everyday. I feel at home here. I walk to Alberta as it's close to my house and enjoy the many local spots for food drink and yummy Stumptown coffee!
I would love to find more time to paint and create one of kind pieces, but I don't have tentacles.. So it will have to wait..