The first person I’ve decided to interview for my blog is a good friend of mine. He’s his own breed and is fully capable of quick wit, fashion advice and naming every super hero that has ever graced the earth (or any other dimension) He is a professional web/graphic designer with a good eye for colour and a particularly strange style of drawing.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Ray Smiling I’m from Brooklyn, NY the home of Biggie Smalls, Type-O Negative and Isaac Asimov. I create work under the name behold the destroyer. I’ve only met one of those people.
Where did you go to school/what for?
I went to a school called R.I.T in the snowy industrial metropolis that is Rochester, NY. If you’ve never been to Rochester, it’s essentially the Prague of western, upstate New York. I went to school for a variety of things including (but not limited to) bio-technology, information processing and multimedia. I’d like to think I still use all those things now. In reality though, probably not.
Do you think school is a must for success in the design scene? art scene?
In a word no. Education and critique on your work is necessary but you don’t have to do it through a classical forum. You can get a lot of that from thorough research, community critique, self motivated work and internet forums. things you can also get from internet forums: bootlegs, pr0n, mixtapes and really cute pictures of animals doing things like they’re people. That’s not really necessary to growing as an artist/designer but it’s a lot of fun.
Do you feel like you have a distinctive style? If so, how would you describe it?
I’m still refining my style. More so than being concerned with a distinctive illustrative style or design aesthetic I’m more concerned that my work has a consistent mood about it. I want everything I do to be a lil surreal, part sci-fi, part esoteric, part near nekkid ladys & really vibrant. If it looks hot and maybe makes people scratch their head a lil then I’m happy with the project.
What inspires you?
I read a lot of random things, and it all finds it’s way into my work in some form or fashion. Lately I’ve been really intrigued by chaos magic and meta belief, the idea that belief in an idea is enough to affect reality objectively. Straight up Men Who Stare At Goats, Neo at the end of The Matrix “There is no spoon…” type stuff, you know? I’ve also been reading about time a ton, partially in the “Does the time travel in Terminator create an unresolveable paradox?” way and part in the “How can I get more stuff done in 24 hours?” way. Also, I’ve been listening to dudes who smoke copious amounts of weed rapping which is kinda weird because I’m straight edge. But, if you think about the first two answers I gave to this question it all kinda makes sense.
Who are some of your favourite local artists?
I’m a big fan of Benjammin Marra’s stuff. He makes independent comics like Gangsta Rap Posse, which is best summarized as: what if N.W.A lived 100% of gangsta rap’s mythology. Which is an amazing concept. His execution is awesome because he writes all of his dialogue like it was straight from a straight to video Van Damme flick, with all the intensity and scene chewing built in. Which is awesome and kinda punk rock. Shout out to the muscles from Brussels.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be? why?
I actually have this idea for the world’s best and most expensive pornographic film ever. In a perfect world I’d like to work on that with Sofia Coppolla. She’s one of my favorite working directors, she has a great mood to all of her work & superb cinematography. I think it’d be a great collaboration you know, have her put her feminine touch on it. No Hetero.
I am a soon-to-be proud owner of a shirt you made, have you made any other ones?
I’m working on some other ones as we speak. The “less bullshit, more blast beats” shirt has been really well received. I’m aiming to make some shirts that’ll have other chicks looking at you like “oh she think she’s cute!” on like some Mean Girls type shit. But then you just hit em with the stale face like “oh you mad cause I’m styling on you”. And at that point they will know they have in fact been served.
Unrelated: did you know they’re making a Step Up 3D?
I’m aware you’ve been told that your art/design could be read as misogynistic, thoughts?
Yeah, I’ve been altered to that although I would have to say I don’t really agree. I’m a fan of the female form I don’t hide that, but nowhere in anything I’ve done do I see a inherent objectification or degradation. As soon as i learn how to draw well proportioned men there’ll be some of them in my work too. With their titties out too, to keep it fair and balanced.
Do you have any up and coming projects?
As always I write about interesting media and share work on my blog behold the destroyer. I have those tshirts I mentioned which I’ll debut on my blog hopefully in the fall. I’m working on a couple of collaborative projects in various mediums (none of them is my epic porn project. Sofia please call me, let’s build together.) Lastly I have a mixtape project I’m steadily working on, where I make mixes with custom artwork usually from genres or artists that have kinda gone overlooked. By the time you’re reading this my latest one Lamborghini Loafers should be out. It’s a collection of pre-1985 electro dance jams. It’s also the soundtrack to an action/romance movie in my head about a flash dancer and a Colombian drug kingpin.
To read more intelligent banter by Ray Smiling, go check out his blog.