Sunday, October 16, 2011

My interview w/ Effgy’s David Rankin 10/16/11

The 2011 New York Comic Con and Anime Festival was a one of a kind, momentous occasion for all to enjoy. Personally, out of every event there I enjoyed the artist alley the most as you get to see the original designs of some of the most talented people in the business. One such artist is Dave Rankin artist and owner of the fabulous Effigy skate shop in Philadelphia, PA. I got the chance to see Dave’s art, buy a piece and interview him all about his special artistic talent and what he brings with him to the convention.

 1) Can you tell us a little about your self and your paintings? (I.e. –
where you’re from, what do you do,
where your business is based out of, how long have you been in business
there, etc)

I grew up in New England, mostly in a little town in Maine called Blue
Hill. I moved to Philadelphia to go to college, and have more or less
been in this area for the better half of my life. I have been an
illustrator for many years and am doing science fiction and fantasy book
covers. Effigy has been in business for a little over a year and a half.
I am working my very hard to get national exposure and to be in not one,
but hundreds of skate shops across the country.

My paintings have very similar themes. They all seem to center around
finding that greater force in yourself to give you strength. Maybe it
says something about myself and how I want to connect with others.

2) Do you consider yourself to be classically trained artist, as in you
went to school to learn your craft or
are you more of a natural born talent? Or a mixture of both perhaps?

My friends from high school and those that remember me from back then
have always commented about my artistic ability. In truth, while I may
have had some sensibility towards art, my work was really bad. I mean, I
thought it was great, but when I got to art school I realized that what
I had been doing was really, really, REALLY bad and just plain silly. It
forced me to look at myself and to try harder than ever to become better.

3) Your company seems to be a great place for those who want to give
their skateboard decks some
originality and style. Can you tell us about your business, Effigy
Skateboards and where you came up w/
the name?

I love skateboards, and grew up loving the art on them. I have always
had a streak to own my own business that is based on my art, and a skate
company was a completely natural fit. Now the challenge is to make it a
successful, art-based company while keeping true to art and skateboarding.
I came about the name in a somewhat random yet planned way. I had
designed the backwards "e" logo and was looking in the dictionary for
words that I liked. When I came across the word "effigy", it popped out
at me. Effigy is the name of a song from the band, Clutch. They are one
of my favorite bands and I would include them in my list of
inspirations. Anyway, I really liked the definition of the word. It was
simple and had a meaning that I was drawn to, so it stuck.

4) Do you do decks for skateboards only or both snowboard and skateboards?
Right now only skateboards, and street/short boards at that. I have
requests for long boards and snowboards and will add them if it seems right.

5) Your artwork is absolutely beautiful and very different from a lot of
other artists I’ve seen. I personally
like the fine details as each painting seems to tell its own story along
with the ‘warm’ colors used in
each piece. I noticed you use a lot of brown, yellow, red and blue in
each painting making your artwork
seem more ‘Earth-toned’. Is there a reason behind using these particular

Thank you so much! I am just drawn to that palette. My work was actually
much more subdued and brown for many years, until I pushed myself to add
more color. I find I can keep my mood and atmosphere with brighter
colors, but still want to keep everything "earthy" so to speak. It's
really about the idea and how it strikes someone.

6) What types of paint do you normally use? (Oil, acrylic, etc?) And how
do your paintings get that shiny
look to them?

I start with acrylics to lay down quick color and block things in. I
then switch to oils for the bulk of the painting, working in layers.
About 75% of the way towards completion, I pour epoxy resin over the
piece, then spread it around until it covers a good portion, not being
too careful and to let "accidents" happen. once the resin is dry, I
finish the painting, again in oils and working between glazes and opaque
color, brushes and palette knives.

7) What other artists have influence you and why?

In my early years I was hugely influenced by Kent Williams and John J.
Muth, specifically the Meltdown graphic novel; Frank Miller's Ronin,
Bill Sienkiewicz's Elektra Assassin, and Dave McKean's Arkhum Asylum, as
well as Greg Spalenka, NC Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Matt Mahurin. These
artists and illustrators really spoke to me in style and mood.

Music is a huge influence on me and the following are very dear to me:
Clutch, Tool, Isis, PJ Harvey, Quicksand, The Toadies, Bowie, 16
Horsepower, Johnny Cash, Iceburn and just about anything with weird

For movies I would say Road Warrior and Bladerunner rank at the top,
with Amelie and David Lynch's Firewalk With Me as well.

8) I notice your paintings seem focus on one single being and what that
being is doing at that moment?
I.e. – In the painting I bought from you, there are arrows heading
straight for a female warrior and she’s
apparently stopping them from stabbing her by holding up one of her
hands and almost commanding
them to stop.

I really like to focus on simple, powerful imagery and compositions.
Single figures seem to put the viewer into that space, imagining
themselves stopping those arrows.

9) Outside of painting, what are your other interests?
'50's cars! I love them with a passion and dream about the day I can own
another. there is nothing like a chopped leadsled in my eyes. I had a
1954 Chevy Belair for years. I had to sell it and it has taken me
several years to be able to go to carshows without falling into
depression. I love World War 2 planes as well and also wish to own a P47
Thunderbolt one day.

Skateboarding is probably one of my greatest challenges and ambitions. I
don't wish to be the best, but I do love it as much as painting. I look
at professional skaters in wonder at what they can accomplish with
agility and daring. It is beyond amazing.

I also just love to be with my family. My wife and children are very
important to me. Trying to accomplish all of my dreams is how I can be
the best teacher to them.

10) What advice would you give to someone who, like you, has a love of
art, but is just starting out in
the art scene?

Look at yourself through your art and try to make it the best it can
possibly be. Chase after your dream because you only fail when you stop

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