Scott Radke (Sculptor)

Scott Radke: An Interview with Scott Radke


Scott Radke's sculptures are "darkly sweet". There really is no other way to describe them. There is a certain sweetness to their melancholy expressions despite their macabre and creepy undertones. I have always admired Scott Radke's sculptures. I do not recall the exact moment I discovered them but each time I see one of his creations, there is a certain sense of comforting familiarity that I associate with them. Perhaps they remind me of my childhood. His sculptures, after all, seemed to have just leaped out of some wonderfully grim fairytale. They are enchanting, mysterious, exquisite, and almost magical.

Scott disassociates himself from his work. He attests that his beautiful creations are separate from who he is. Truly an enigma, the macabre does not typically appeal to him and yet his beautifully bizarre creations suggest otherwise. I can only surmise that it is humility that is the reason why he insists on viewing the process of creating his sculptures separate from who he is. Or maybe in an effort to not let what is commonly known as the artist's 'ego' dictate his works and his life, he makes the sincere effort to separate his artist self from his identity as a father and an individual. Whatever the reason, one thing I know for certain is that Scott Radke remains a mystery - I have barely scratched the surface of Scott's modest and enigmatic mind.

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What inspires you?

I like to approach this with just finding a calm peaceful place to create. Being in nature. People's faces. My daughter. Animals. Inspire- in spirit. I am thankful to have it without seeking it most of the time.

How and when did you first get started as an artist?

I guess as far as it being my life and livelihood I quit my factory job in 1998.

There is a time to take critiques but in the end you just have to follow your heart and drop it all. Go within and be still. Listen.

Can you remember the first artwork you created? What makes it memorable?

I don't know if it was the first thing but I do remember drawing birds with 4 wings when I was probably 5 or 6. I don't know why they had 4- I really wasn't trying to do that- maybe I was trying to show motion. Who knows.

What is the hardest part about creating your artwork?

The hardest part is trying not to think this is the hardest part haha. Maybe when I have to design something new and I can see it but I don't know how to execute the armature. That part usually stumps me.

Can you tell me more about your kickstarter project? What inspired its creation? What are your thoughts on the support you have received?

Kasra Ghanbari has been a collector of mine for years and he has helped me on countless occasions. I don't think anyone has supported me as much as he has. It was his idea and he is executing most of it. He knew I had wanted to do a book for years and for whatever reason it just had not happened. He has been been doing Kickstarters for other books he has created through 44Flood so he is an expert on running them.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Hmmm I don't really care for Halloween or dark moody art. I have this persona that my work gives me but I don't think I am anything like people think I am.

How has your practice changed over time? (or has it?)

Its always changing in my opinion. I am revisiting puppets right now to honor pledges for my Kickstarter- its been so long since I have made them and I am trying to morph my past with what I am doing now. If anything has changed its there is more of a flow to it all. I used to jump around a lot.

Favourite or most inspirational place where you live?

This place! It's true. I have never been totally on my own and I have been doing it for almost a year now. It's about the smallest house you can find in a city I lived in when I was very small. Berea Ohio. It has the best park system ever - the Cleveland Metroparks which I use for my photography and it just gives me so much in so many ways. I like to think of it as my church.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Not to listen to other peoples' advice too much. There is a time to take critiques but in the end you just have to follow your heart and drop it all. Go within and be still. Listen.

Most interesting critique you have ever received regarding your works?

Hmm Kasra told me once that some of my puppets talked to him.

When you think of the concept of 'the artist's ego', what comes to mind?

It certainly pertains to me- look at this interview. Me, me, I, I. I have been really working on separating myself from what comes out of me. Not in a forceful way but just understanding that it isn't me. AT ALL. I show up and do the work and what happens after that has nothing to do with who I really am.

Most difficult part about being an artist?

Probably the above thing haha- i think the most challenging part for me is just to live in a comfortable way and to be able to make good work and pay my bills on time. It's difficult when it's all that I do. Health insurance, taxes all the fun stuff. All anyone really wants is to do what they love and I get to do that, every single day. I have no complaints whatsoever.

Why do you think there is a growing interest in macabre and grotesque art?

I don't know if its growing. There always seems to have been a place for it. Always will be. I wish I knew who said this I can not remember where I heard it but it went something like this. If you do not experience the full depth of your suffering then you can never experience the full magnitude of your joy.

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Upcoming shows/exhibitions

Haven Gallery Nov 3 - Dec 8, 2018

For more info on Scott Radke

Scott Radke's website
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Scott Radke on Twitter