Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So I finally changed the name of my blogging profile over to RiSK (technically, I changed it to Ri.S.K., but I am too lazy to actually type that all the time).

Why the name change, you ask? Well, as all things change, so does my artist signature. As I'm working on developing a visual identity for myself, I figured part of that is an identity shift as a whole. Nothing too drastic, besides making the conscious decision to devote myself to my crafts. I've realized that to make it doing what I love, I really have to do what I love. While that sounds easy, in reality I've spent a lot of time doing stuff and not really creating. Not enough time has been spent drawing, and looking up reference material, and practicing constantly. So much of my life has been comfortable, staying inside my little bubble of natural talent, doing things that I am naturally good at. Now as egotistical as this sounds, I find it to be true. I do most things decently without really trying, and as soon as it gets hard, I usually give up and move on to something else. I've lived my whole life this way, and no more. I'm sick of being mediocre at everything and really good at nothing, so it's time to really risk something and go for the dream.

And that goes back 20ish years to when I really, really, really wanted to just draw for a living. Back when I was drawing on the walls with washable marker, on recycled printer paper with crayons, or on my shoes with puff paint, I wanted to be an artist. Now, after facing the reality of life and going through the misdirection of my generation, flirting with chemistry, biology, environmental science, psychology, and acting, I know what I want to do. I want to draw for a living. Don't get me wrong, I still like all of the above, and use those tools in my art (and I'm never going to really give up on acting), but they're not my focus anymore. I don't think I've ever been this focused before, and now I want to finally let art breathe in my every cell. Now, I paint on walls with spraypaint, on recycled sketchbooks and copy paper with graphite and prismacolors, and on shoes and clothing with acrylics and fabric paint, and I love every minute.

So back to the name. My full name is Rick Susumu Kitagawa. The Japanese part is loosely translated as "going forward to the North river." I've been leaving out the Susumu part for too long (mainly cuz growing up I thought it was a silly sounding name), leaving out the going forward part. But I've reclaimed that middle part, and wanted to somehow keep it yet keep the name short. So Ri.S.K. is basically an abbreviation of my full name. Ri(ck) S(usumu) K(itagawa). But it also stands for the internal change within me. I want to be a great artist who can change lives through his art. I'm not sure how to do that yet, but I know what I want to do, and I'm not going to let anyone stop me.

-RiSK 11.27.2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Swamped yet still blogging

So the reason I haven't been posting is that I have been completely and utterly swamped with homework. It wouldn't be too bad, but the fact that they've been working me 3 days a week has been making it pretty rough.

So due on Monday are a nude female turn-around, a clothed female turn-around, a reference board, and 2 master copies. And I work Fri-Sunday. Craptastic. It wouldn't have been so bad had I gotten Thursday off, but due to Thanksgiving and the usual not getting anything done, I'm pretty screwed. And that's why I'm procrastinating and blogging. Anyway, if you don't know what a turn-around is (and I don't even know if that's a technical industry term), see what kept me awake last Sunday night:
That was the clothed version based on all the reference on samurai I gathered. The fucking armor took forever, but I think I averaged about 1.5 hours per figure. Ug.

The traveling journal project based on the theme of Unrequited Love has started and about 5-8 books should be circulating thus far. If you are interested, email me at "rick (at) skagawa (dot) com" and I'll send you a book to get started in your area. So far, I think we've penetrated NY, SF, and Stockton, so especially if you aren't in any of these areas let me know.

Also, once I get my shit together, I'm starting on another personal art project for the next year. It's tentatively called "52 Pickup" based on the "game" 52 card pickup (where an entire deck is thrown onto the ground and you pick them up -_-. Anyway, every week, I'll be redesigning a playing card. It'll be a way to force myself into doing something creative for something outside of school and work, and it'll be a great way to try out new styles, subject matter, mediums, and more. Plus, it'll be a cool thing to base a gallery show on. Hopefully.

Oh yeah, and I finished (sorta) a battle scene between the heroine (the floating book wizard lady) and the villain (the creepy child-eating chimney sweeping smoke demon). It was supposed to be in B&W, and it still needs some work to clarify what's going on, but alas, here it is.

Anyway, back to work, as I have to get to bed as I have work tomorrow, as well as 2 master copies I haven't even started on yet. Oh yeah, and finishing these turn-arounds. Blegh.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Woohoo Seattle!

So the plane tickets and hotel accommodations are booked, and we are good to go for Seattle 2008!

Now I'm working on the Unrequited Love Project (which has, admittedly, got off to a slow start), a community art project where little chapbooks are passed about, and people contribute art and stories and such. Today I'll be making more of the books and trying to get them out into the community so I can hurry up (hopefully) get some back. If you are interested in hearing more, or want to help out, email me at rick (at) skagawa . com.

I worked on this giant mushroom idea for a creature concept project. I decided to name it the Red-Masked Reaper due to it's appearance and it's deadliness. It's scientific name, I decided, was Amanita Rex, as in King of the Amanitas, the mushroom genus which includes two of the deadliest mushrooms (in real life); the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel. The back-story is that the hyphae (the "root" part of the mushroom) grows above the soil, and secretes a sort of sticky mucus that traps animals. The hyphae are pressure sensitive and then send a chemical message to the gills to produce it's spores, which also contain an organic acid. The trapped, unfortunate creature is then peppered with spores that burst on contact, dissolving the creature's flesh for absorption by the hyphae. The spores also are a reproductive delivery vessel, and new hyphae start growing on the remaining flesh of the prey. The prey is lured to the Reaper by hallucinogenic pheromones it secretes from it's stalk. As it is obviously a death trap, the mushroom tries to get you to freak out and basically stumble into it's gooey maw of death. And that's the kind of story you get from someone who took an entire class on mushrooms and slime molds and algae. Ha!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Seattle Workshop

Huzzah! So Eve and I just (as in 14 hours ago) bought our tickets to the ConceptArt.org REVELATIONS workshop in Seattle. We're heading out in January to the rainy, cold coastal city to watch, learn, and make art with some of the most fantastic artists out there. Like, seriously big names, people. Crazy.

In other news, we're both at home doing homework instead of doing crazy Halloween things. I put on zombie makeup this morning and it ended up looking pretty decent. Anyway, on to the art.

This is a photo collage I did for my digital illustration class. Fun stuff, composited of a bunch of photos I took in Australia and Europe.