Masquerading Marionettes: Interview with Scott Radke

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ScottRadkeSwan36If magical marionettes with soulful eyes and anthropomorphic tendencies wandered through a dark forest in search of an unspoken mystery, they would have certainly wandered out of Scott Radke‘s rear window. Radke is a painter and sculptor whose marionettes bear cherub faces of concern and curiousity with spindly limbs and stocking caps. Some wear organic outfits of twigs and earthen tones while others are disguised in animals skins of swan suites or octopus hoods.  Radke animates his transfixed creations with explicitly human expressions and naturalistic spirits. It is not surprising that his marionettes have been featured in films including Voices In My Head, a BBC documentary directed by David Malone; Desolation Sound, starring Jennifer Beals; God in the Machine, starring Thomas Jay Ryan; and Birthday Massacre’s music video, Blue. Radke’s work has been published in Bizarre, Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose.

1) Can you remember the first sculpture or drawing that you made as a kid growing up?ScottRadke2005-Journal110
Hmm. The first thing that comes to mind is a drawing I did of birds flying. I remember drawing them with four wings which is what they looked like to me when they were flying and it was the only way I thought it would look right when I tired to draw them. I did not really sculpt until I was in my 20’s and that started with sand sculpting.

2) What inspires your art?
Faces, happiness(believe it or not), love, and nature quite a bit.

3) What was your first gallery show and how did it happen?
I started out showing in bars and small galleries here in Cleveland. I lived in a great little part of town called Tremont. It changed my life. Everyone was so supportive and friendly and open to my work. Outside of Cleveland, my first show was in 2003 at CBGB’s 313 Gallery. I was in New York and I just went in and showed Micheline my work and she set up a show for me.

4) How did you support and promote your art early on?
Here, in town, I would show wherever and whenever I could. It was not until my roommate Vic Sabula, set up a website for me in 1997 that things took off from there. I’d say 99% of whatever happens for my work happens because of my web presence.

5) You illustrate and sculpt. What made you to decide to pursue sculpting more?
I don’t consider myself a great sculptor or painter but when I combine the two, I feel right at home.

6) If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself ten years ago from now?
Stop fooling around, don’t take things too seriously, focus and for Gods sake, eat something.

7) What are some upcoming or current projects that you’re working on?
I am just moving along doing what I have been. I just finished a set of dancer type things and I am not sure what I will do next. I have some work in the Beyond Eden Art Fair in LA thanks to Thinkpsace Gallery.



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