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Interview with Stacey Rozich

We interviewed the ridiculously talented Stacey Rozich about doing her own thing and not working for Microsoft, staying in Seattle, and how much she loves reading Studio Sweet Studio (we didn’t pay her to say that, we swear!)–read on for more from one of our favorite contemporary illustrators!

Tuesday: What do you do in five words without using the words draw or illustrate?

Stacey: Construct folkloric pattern-crazy narratives.

Tuesday: What is your main influence for your work? What do you do if you feel “blocked”?

Stacey: I’m an avid collector of books and doodads from or about different cultures and their traditions of folklore but I will admit my most of my immediate source of inspiration are a few sites around the Internets. Bibliodyssey is absolutely fantastic, I have no idea where the Webmaster finds all of this stuff. A few Tumblrs here and there that feature imagery from different folktales, religious iconography, cult imagery, tribal art, etc. If I ever feel blocked — which can definitely happen if I take too much time off from my work — I try not to get too mopey about it. It’s easy to get down on yourself and think you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. I go through my archives of saved images, take a mask off my wall, put it on and do some thinking. Probably while petting a cat, any cat. Once I get back to producing work the blockage usually disappears and it’s a Niagara Falls of ideas.

Tuesday: Do you have any songs that you listen to on repeat in your studio? Give us a quick lil’ Stacey Rozich mix.

Stacey: I go through so many phases with my work music. One time it was all chill-wave jams like Neon Indian or Toro Y Moi, then when I’ve got too much slow swerve I get some Paul McCartney and Wings, Talking Heads or Black Sabbath going. Pump up the volume on those hits. As of right now I’m rediscovering the deep well of talent Seattle has. I know, I know Seattle has a funny reputation for music since the 90′s grunge explosion but something about this climate and low cloud cover produces a lot of songwriting talent. I’m currently in lurve with Bryan John Appleby (no relation to the restaurant chain — though I like to think he is), Kaylee Cole, Pickwick and Shana Cleveland and the Sand Castles is just heartbreakingly beautiful. And of course I’ve got love for some Fleet Foxes.

Tuesday: If objects in your studio were to be put on display in a museum, what would the exhibition be called?

Stacey: AMALGAMATION OF HODGE PODGE: A journey through inspirational junk as collected by artist Stacey Rozich

Tuesday: You live in Seattle now, but are graduating soon. Do you have plans to move or are you staying put?

Stacey: As of this past June I just graduated. I think I am just not starting to come out of the fog from that intense design program. Most of my schoolmates have jobs working for big design firms or corporations (*cough*Microsoft*cough*) already and I’m kind of stalling. I’ve got a bunch of freelance and licensing deals but I can’t shake the feeling that I should be working in an office with a steady paycheck. Freelance can be such a cruel mistress, but that’s for another discussion. I’ve decided to stay put after I took a few trips to major cities around the US that showed me I wasn’t ready to leave my home yet. It’s easy to live here and work and plot my escape for now.

Tuesday: We’re planning to interview you for the Seattle edition of City Scout, but can you recommend three totally awesome, awe-inspiring things to do in Seattle

Stacey: There are so many fun things to do in this city that do not involve a space-age building with a needle on top or a duck tour boat. Taking a ferry to one of the islands right outside the waterfront is always a windy winner and pretty inexpensive. The conservatory at Volunteer Park is absolutely gorgeous: Hundreds of exotic plants are housed in this grand white palace-like building that looks like something out of colonial India (to me, at least). This is a great destination after a walk through the beautiful park and a trip to the Asian Art Museum also on the grounds. There are an explosion of amazing restaurants in this city, but for the time being I’ll mention a few non Starbucks coffee houses that always hit the spot: Analog coffee is a teeny-tiny new space opened by two veteran baristas that has amazing cold brew and bright sunny windows. Bauhaus Coffee, Fiore, Oddfellows and of course Stumptown are just a few other gems. 

Tuesday: Which of your illustrations give you the most satisfaction as a professional artist?

Stacey: I just did a ruby red alligator for a book cover for Random House UK, the paperback edition of Karen Russel’s Swamplandia! Doing a creature like an alligator was not something I had ever done in my style, but the challenge from the Art Director was so rewarding in the end. It also helped he was so supportive and excited to work with me which had me doing a double take when I got the e-mail. The illustration was just approved by the author and soon you can see my artwork on a book cover at any airport bookstore in the UK!

Tuesday: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not making totally kick-ass illustrations?

Stacey: Collecting house plants, cooking food (and eating it!), watching 30 Rock, petting cats, thinking about cats. Oh, and reading Studio Sweet Studio, of course.

Tuesday: Gemma Correll gave us this question to ask you: “What would your fancy dress costume of choice be?”

Stacey: I’m trying to figure out what that means, so here are two very viable options for me: A well-tailored gray suit or a red fleece lobster costume I wore for Halloween last year. Either or.

Tuesday: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Stacey: I’m wearing a child’s Halloween costume under my clothes right now.