Stacey Rozich: Tiger Walk with Me

Released Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tiger Walk with Me, by Stacey Rozich.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Farm Sanctuary.

Stacey Rozich is a native to the Pacific Northwest who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. She attended California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she studied illustration, and Seattle Central for graphic design. Combining what she learned in school and from years of drawing from her over-active imagination, Stacey has created a storybook narrative of beasts and patterns all playing into a world of cultural folktales.
Over the past couple of years, she has taken a strong interest in her own ethnic heritage (Stacey's father is Croatian) and in exploring the history of the traditions and folklore of Yugoslavia. From her research, Stacey discovered beautiful yet frightening carnival masks that utilize strong colors and textures to evoke a certain feeling of awe and reverence. She was intrigued that these creatures were displayed among beautifully garmented young women dancing in costumes of wool vests, draped shawls, and large triangular hats all adorned with woven designs. Stacey likes to think that she's channeling an ancestor from way back in her family history that has helped her to create some of these pieces that she finds so compelling. Aside from the Balkan influence, she has spread her feelers out to different cultures – Russian and Scandinavian, to the Native American cultures of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, which are most evident in her recent work.

About the print:
The small, green, bat-like creatures in this print - I like to call them bogeys - are a recent feature in just about all of my new works. They are the little bit of humor I like to inject into my pieces, some more subtle than others. They sometimes drink cans of Rainier beer, smoke cigarettes or joints as big as they are - generally causing mischief and mayhem. In Tiger Walk with Me, the unbridled carnage of the tigers is a way of amending the bad behavior of the bogeys through primal instinct - crushing them, chomping in half - showing them who's boss. The way the figure is straining to reel them in also reminds of me of so many dog owners who take their dogs out and have to be wary of other creatures engaging them in potentially messy situations. I got to play with scale for this piece, since the original is a lot larger than I'm used to - 15" x 22". This gave me a chance to play with the detail of the two tigers, as well as the figure reigning them in.

This print is available in multiple sizes, and in an archival ready-to-hang version. It was digitally signed by the artist. The 8x10 and 11x14 prints are numbered by The Working Proof, and the 16x20 prints come with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Learn more here.


What does a typical day in your studio look like?
My time these days seems to be pretty evenly divided between my "on time" and my "off time". I'm in an off time right now, because I'm inbetween shows and a big trip to Europe later this summer, so my days consist of getting up late (and cursing myself for once again extinguishing my alarm without knowing it) and e-mailing for a while,  then running errands and taking meetings to discuss future projects. During an on time, I get up earlier, run errands, and work on pieces all afternoon and into the night. I don't go out much during my on time.

What themes are you exploring in your most recent body of work?
I'm incorporating a lot more elements of modernity into my work. My artwork is still deeply rooted in a multicultural narrative of folklores and vignettes, but the characters are now punctuated with basketball shoes, playing cards, Garfield mugs, lots of cigarettes, and the aforementioned cans of Rainier, which is a subtle homage to my home of the Pacific Northwest and my glory days of being a beer-swilling delinquent.

How do you come up with the fantastical creatures in your work? What is your starting point and how do you develop them?
I think it is hardwired in me now; I've thrown out the cover of the deep, dark well that is my subconscious, so that it all comes rushing out unfiltered. I pride myself on having a strong photographic memory, so the figures and creatures in my past works just walk right out onto the paper, along with newer influences that I keep logged away, which portray themselves in current work. I am a firm believer in rough sketching my ideas before creating them, so I have sketch books that are filled with loose pencil lines of compositions and mask ideas that I work out before I lay them out on watercolor paper.

Do certain creatures show up in your work more than once? Is there a progressing storyline for these characters, or are they specific to that one artwork and moment in time?
The black birds and bogeys are my favorite new additions to my work. It's a way of breaking up the negative space created by the main image. I enjoy the birds because the hard edges of their feathers lets me play with crisp lines while their coloring gives me a chance to experiment with different tonal washes. And the bogeys, well, those guys are just fun and a whole lot of trouble. I can imagine them coming to a party and being a barrel of laughs, and then the next morning you're wondering how there are so many beer cans in the bathtub, pizza crusts under your pillow, and why all your underwear is out flying on the power lines.

Any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I have so many projects cooking right now, but the main thing for me is a several-month-long trip to Croatia and Eastern Europe at the end of the summer. I was the recipient of a grant that will allow me to explore the region that my family is originally from, and which started the whole narrative behind my work. I'm taking my father for the first two weeks, since he has a closer connection to the land and language but has never been there. It's going to be a good trip to connect with our roots. Once I return home, I imagine I'll be bursting with new ideas, and probably a few new prints for The Working Proof!

Why did you choose to pair Farm Sanctuary with your print?
I decided to pair my print with Farm Sanctuary because I believe in animal rights and the safe harboring of mistreated and abused animals.

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