In a society that wants us to believe that the United Sates of America is the center of the world; the chance of missing out on talents that are neither French nor American is highly likely. Unlike their neighbors from the north, the South Koreans, have the chance to express themselves without any true barriers to their creativity. Rudcef ’s very unique characters and his representation of the “Sex, Drug, Money” model, brings us back to an atypical graphic style and to a terrible vision of what is surrounding him. That’s what he throws in our face. A month ago, I was going through the endless posts on Instagram. I had one thing in mind which was to find, amongst the mountain of publications destined to flatter countless egos, you know, the Kayne West types, some original creations by young non-mediated artists. It was not until I clicked upon an illustration representing American rapper Joey Bada$$, that I had the opportunity to discover the world of Rudcef. To be frank, Rudcef gets off on representing artists he meets or admires. But after having a closer look, I quickly came to the realization that his work goes much deeper than that ...
Jacker / Hey Rudcef, could you present yourself ?
Rudcef / Hi, I’m Rudcef from far-east, South Korea and I was born in 1983. Basically my style needs huge time to complete. So I draw all day for me and also clients. From time to time handle a print order from overseas or make merchandise.
J / When did you start drawing and how ? When you were young what type of drawings would you do ?
R / Actually I was about to graduate university majoring Statistics and prepare to get a job in 2009. But soon my cousin passed away from cancer. I thought about the meaning of life seriously that days coz he was only 10 yo. Later that year Michael Jackson passed away too. But I didn’t think he die coz I was listening his song in that moment which recorded before I was born. And I thought if I jumped into art field and left something in this world before I die, that would be a meaningful life. That’s the story. Well I didn’t draw at all before 2009 and even didn’t know who Andy Warhol is.
J / Nowadays, how do you proceed to make an art piece ? Do you use a computer ?
R / At first, I didn’t tell my parents coz my family was poor and they wanted me to get a stable job. Couldn’t make environment for hand drawing. So I started to draw in a public library with a laptop and tablet. I’ve been drawing only by computer. I do hand drawing for fun from time to time.
J / I also noticed that you frequently use artists from the American hip-hop scene as models, could you tell us more about it ? Do you consider your art as some sort of fan art ?
R / I always listen to music to make the mood for my work. I especially like hip-hop songs coz the lyrics about their lives make me to have earnest vision for moving forward. Like tupac, A$AP Rocky, K.dot.. and so on. They were normal people like me but been trying to make things real again and again. So finally now world knows their name. So I draw them for gratitude. But I think it isn’t like just fan art. I usually try to describe certain elements which I felt from them in it.
J / The universe of illustration welcomes new artists on a daily basis and hasn’t ceased increasing since new technologies set a market standard for illustration work. How do you invision your career ?
R / In fact I’m dumb af haha. And also I’m not the type to prepare for the future at all. If I could think about the future, maybe I wouldn’t have started to draw. Well I’m sorry that I don’t have any idea about how fields will go. I just draw what I want and feel day after day. Then sometimes good things come from everywhere like when I met A$AP Rocky.
J / What’s happened with A$AP Rocky ?
R / It’s old story. 2 years ago A$AP Mob visited my country for performance and I drew and printed to pass it to A$AP Rocky. He saw that and called me to his spot to discuss about his new mix tape titled “The beauty and the beast”. After one month, he invited me to his house in NY and worked with him for two months.
J / What are you currently working on ? Any projects or collaborations ?
R / Currently, I’m making T-shirts for people who like my work. A lot to handle coz I want to make them like real brand merchandise. I have a custom portrait order from NY. And personal work as always.
J / When I see your style it recalls the universe of Marvel as well as a subrealist style, you make the bones, muscles and skin appear but you don’t worry whether it’s a perfect representation of reality. Could you tell us more about it ?
R / There is the reason why I started to draw as I wrote on previous question. But basically I have some sort of mental-verbal problem so that I barely meet people. To fill absence of conversation I draw and talk to people via my works. It’s like visual conversation without language to myself. That means I draw for sympathy. So I want to let people know the situation of my works can be applied to all. To describe this thought, I choose anatomy coz everyone has bones and organs and that means figure who appear in my works can be yourself. To make it easy to understand my drawings, I use anatomy.
J / Our magazine talks about street culture, I can see you are inspired by this culture, could you tell us why and how ?
R / I think everything starts from the street. Street contains all of human being. And I draw about people. So street should always be a part of my works. Well I had been studying digits until 27yo like I said. I really like street and my story always starts from street but I still don’t know what exactly street culture is. I just draw what I like and they are all in streets. Maybe that’s the reason why you felt like that from mine.
J / I remember reading on your website that you were rather unsociable, when I read that, I imagined you as a tortured artist at home buried under pizza boxes and other sort of munchies packages, addicted to caffeine, working on his projects day and night. However when exchanging messages, I do not have this impression. Do you consider yourself misanthropist ?
R / Thank you very much. But if we meet face to face you will know I’m not that sociable. I don’t know why but whenever I meet people, some abnormal symptoms occur which make me feel uncomfortable. I’m optimist I think. Actually there were bizarre incidents in my life. Miserable situations come over and over again. Thinking about the future seemed like an extravagance to me in those days. I didn’t know why I was living. Maybe I think my symptoms from people come from those days. So I was harshly misanthropist before I jumped into this scene. Now I have a dream for meaningful life that want people to talk with my drawings after I die. Goal makes me keep on moving forwards and optimistic. But my almost works are based on a negative mood. Thats because my experiences in my life were almost unhappy coz I can describe them more than happy moods.