Posted by Eyes On Walls on Jan 07, 2014
We are excited to announce the launch of our new online "Guest Picks" feature, premiering this month with Inked Magazine and Playboy editor, Rocky Rakovic. With additional guests ranging from esteemed journalists to celebrity fashion stylists, Eyes on Walls is thrilled to appeal to a variety of well known and inspiring tastemakers.
Each month, we will announce the guest and showcase a series of the person’s favorite pieces. Browse each guest’s personal picks, and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look into his/her own style, inspirations, unique work experiences and much more.
Let's get right into Rocky's Art Picks...
'Life' by Lora Zombie
"Life is a mess of grey days, colorful experiences, headlines and obituaries."
'Miami' by Shark Toof
"Love the composition, colors and power of the sharks. And Toots & The Maytals."- Rocky
'Aquapolis Ex-Machina' by HR-FM
"Even in the future we will be staring out our windows, marveling at its state, but also hoping for a better future."
'Deer Wearing Gym Socks' by Charmaine Olivia
"To me, the fawn represents youth and the gym socks represent their time period the '80s. Follow me if you will, but I think this could represent sports before the steroid era. When we weren't as big and powerful but we were innocent."
'Feel Something’ by Alex Cherry
"With the title "Feel Something" you are commanded to take a Rorschach test. My eye is drawn toward the black and blue in the upper left corner. What do I see? I wish not to incriminate myself.”
Of all the Inspirational Posters I had on my ‘90s boyhood bedroom walls (you know, the ones with the bald eagle photo and the motivational quote, or a bon mot by Vince Lombardi underneath the shot of a football player with the logos Photoshopped out of his helmet because they didn’t want to pay the NFL for the usage rights.) the words that most-impacted me came from the Editorial Director of Playboy Jimmy Jellinek. During a meeting about the direction of articles he asked me about how I was planning on approaching copy for a Playmate roundup. It was a package that had been written the same way for over 50 years. Straight-faced, but completely joking, I replied, “I’m thinking an All Haiku Playmate Review.”
Jimmy just responded, “You do you.”
What sounded like something that could be the tagline on a Monster Energy Drink can was a brief way of showing that he had trust in me to create art. Since that meeting I’ve taken that approach with every writer, photographer, and artist I’ve worked with. The nice part of my job, specifically editing Inked, is that I feel as much a curator as an editor. Of course I give some direction, but the mission is to give creative people an outlet to produce without constriction. I do the same when commissioning art, when the artists ask what I want I just tell them, “You do you.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY AFFINITY FOR CREATING ART—OUTSIDE YOUR WRITING?
Firstly, thank you for recognizing writing as art. Other than that, as an editor, I have a hand in some of the direction of photography, ideas on art, and after five minutes into any conference call I’m a champion doodler. Outside the office, I like working with scissors and images. I have no idea what that would be called—or what I am doing—but I’m compelled to cut and tape.
I am not conventionally artistic with paints or drawing. You know that correspondence art school that airs commercials on late night TV? The one where you call them and they send you an art test where you have to draw a bear with a bowtie? I ordered one once because I wanted to draw the worst bear ever and mail it back to see what they would say but I am forever without stamps.
TELL US SOMETHING WE WOULDN’T GUESS ABOUT YOU.
Though I edit a tattoo lifestyle magazine, I have no tattoos. I deeply love tattoo art and style but I lack that gene inherent in those who are inked, which is a non-fear of permanence. When they connect to a piece of art they want it forever, where my eye changes constantly. That attribute makes me a good editor and curator as I’m always in search of the new. It also makes me a fine patron of art.
LAST SONG/BAND/MUSIC PLAYING ON IPOD/PANDORA/GHETTO BLASTER.
That’s terribly personal, like something-I-wouldn’t-ask-a-girl-on-a-first-date personal. But I’ll bite. While answering these I’m playing A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector which is the holiday album from the Wall of Sound’s producer featuring The Ronettes and Darlene Love. And if you are reading this in January or some non-Christmas month and wondering when this interview took place I’m not telling you. I want you to think I’m that kind of weirdo. Oh, that album is over, let’s see what’s next. Ah, it’s “Let’s Be Friends Again” by The Toms. YouTube it and you’ll discover how current I am.
WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY/BIOPIC BE?
Ain’t You a Sight For Sore Eyes! Wait, I’m just spitting out the lyrics to the song I’m listening to, did you YouTube it yet?
Tyler Perry’s The Story of Rocky Rakovic* *adapted from the book by Michael Lewis.
FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB.
Providing a thoughtful voice for a community underserved by the stodgy media.
Covering people whose stories deserve to be heard.
Curating art from some of the most talented artists on the planet.
Creating my own art through words and ideas.
Not having to wake up until noonish.
MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR JOB.
Saying “No.” As an editor you have to turn down 80% of pitches, ideas, and pieces of art you receive. Honestly, only about 10% of that 80% deserve ink, but saying “No” to sublime pieces of artwork that are just a shade less sublime than the sublimest is crushing in that way sometimes it hurts more to break up with someone than being the one dumped.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE OUT THERE JUST STARTING GETTING INTO BUYING ART?
If you see something you dig, snatch it up immediately, don’t wait, good art only appreciates. If you commission a piece, give as much freedom to the artist as possible. And learn how to frame.
DESCRIBE YOUR HOME STYLING AESTHETIC?
Spartan, save for an amalgam of different pieces that don’t go together but are an outside reflection of me inside. Displayed in one room are the pieces I referenced before, a few smaller paintings, a stuffed jackalope, photos from my picturesque hometown of Narragansett, RI, various trophies (including a MTV Award that doesn’t belong to me), a piece of wood painted to look like a fisherman, family photographs from the days before digital cameras, a few beautiful skateboard decks, books (I like to think of a bookshelf as a piece of art itself, with the spines and titles creating a mural of sorts), a menu that I thought looked rad so I stole it from the place, a typewriter and radio that predate the Eisenhower administration, more books, and framed magazines such asThe Saturday Evening Post’s “Game Called Because of Rain” by Norman Rockwell, National Lampoon’s “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog,” and a 1991 Sports Illustrated for Kids that resonated with me.
FAVORITE EYES ON WALLS ARTIST?
Lora Zombie. Not only are the paints she puts on the canvas impressive but her use of white space is genius.
Thanks for being our first guest, Rocky!
- The Eyes On Walls Team