These little critters and creations have plastered the Manual office walls for years, so when it came down to picking an artist for this week’s Decent Exposure, we looked no further than the man behind the biro, Shannon Rush. Mr. Rush also enjoys photographing beings at the best and worst of times.
Supported by ProGear
How did you get started?
I was 21, on the dole and had a lot of free time on my hands. I was living with Kurt Green at this point; we’d hang out in his room and he’d be constantly drawing. One day I just picked up a pen and paper and drew something. I noticed not long after that he’d pinned my drawing to his bedroom wall, which blew my mind as I’d always seen him as incredibly talented. I’d never really been told I was good at anything before; I love skating but I kinda suck, so drawing ended up replacing that obsessive outlet for me.
How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
Having never had any formal training in either illustration or photography I’ve always just done what’s come naturally to me. I wouldn’t really say I’ve actively tried to improve my style because I’m quite lazy; If anything it’s become more basic but that’s not to say that I don’t like it. If you asked me to draw something realistic I couldn’t do it to save my life.
What illustrators and creatives do you look up to?
It’s not necessarily Illustrators that I look up; it’s more a feeling I get from certain things that excite me and make me want to draw or take photos. This could be anything from reading to watching skate videos. Having said that I do love the work of Mark Gonzales, Fiasco, Swampy, Pntr – these guys were all hugely influential to me early on.
What gear do you use day to day?
At the moment just Bic blue biro pens and paper; and my Contax T2 with 400 speed Kodak colour film because I can steal it easily over here – I was only using black and white until I realised how easy it was to steal colour here and it’s just funny to think about what you end up doing or compromising due of the cost of materials or lack of cost.
Did you study in your field; do you think it’s necessary?
No I didn’t and personally I don’t feel it was necessary; this has never been my profession and I’m not aiming for it to be. I’m just having fun with what I’m doing and for me it feels very natural as it’s all I’ve ever known.
Among your work, do you have a favourite piece?
How do you deal with creative slumps?
I constantly feel like I’m in a creative slump. I’ll be drawing for months and hate every single thing I’ve drawn so I guess I just keep going until I hit a good week that seems to come round every few months. This is why it helps to be taking photos and drawing simultaneously because if one isn’t working out the other one might be. At the end of the day these are just hobbies for me and so I try not to let it affect me if things aren’t going so well.
What was the first thing you drew?
Kurt (Green) asked me to draw a funny situation I’d been in and so I attempted to draw the following scenario: I was staying with Max Couling and a few other people at his parents’ house in Greymouth. I noticed that Max had a cat onesie costume and I pleaded with him to let me wear it out. He was a bit reluctant at first but agreed on the condition that it was to be returned to him in perfect condition. We ended up at karaoke that night and I performed a few songs in the onesie, I wish I could remember what they were. Later on I was attacked by a lady who was about three times my size; she ripped the ears, whiskers and tail off the suit and proceeded to punch me in the face.
Advice for someone starting out?
Have fun, and if you enjoy it you’ll stick at it.
Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums, etc.?
I don’t have a workspace as such or have particular things I take photos of but I can tell you I spend a lot of time in bed doodling, and taking photos is a great excuse to go on holiday.
Have you always enjoyed illustration?
Most of the time I hate it. It’s a good result that I truly love. The process can be incredibly frustrating for me as most of the time I have no idea what the outcome will be until it’s actually taken shape.