Raymond Hwang is one of my favorite painters who happens to be a dear friend of mine. This digital book based on a conversation I had with him about his work and influences.
E: What’s your favorite color?
R: Color is all relational, color only exists in relation to other colors. By itself it has nothing. So that’s kind of where I’m at.
E: Okay then, if you had to choose two colors that have a great relationship?
R: Hmm. Two colors that have a great relationship…I like to use fluorescent colors, I like okra a lot—I’ve always liked opera. I spent like a very long time at one point, trying to find opera in oil paint and its just not as good as other paints. Cause it’s just such a synthetic color. So opera and I think like a yellow—I like a good yellow. And maybe a magenta in there somewhere.
E: Few of the colors that you’ve been working with lately—like that painting.
R: Yeah, they always like of start off this way—as I’ve told you earlier, I’m not really good with color. And I just make it up as I go. Eventually it turns into a painting that’s tolerable to look at.
E: You work mainly in your room—I am in your room right now.
R: That’s true.
E: And you have other jobs that you go to every single day,
R:Well, most days.
E: How do you keep yourself motivated even though you’re tired from work?
R: I don’t know, you just kind of decide at some point how bad you want it, and I think at the end of the day if you’re not able to self-motivate yourself to make shit when no one cares, no one but you cares, really cares, then maybe you just weren’t meant to be an artist. Because that’s a part of it. You know, not everyone probably most people don’t really understand what you’re doing. You know. You kind of have to have that something inside yourself that’s like, I really need to know, I really need to try to do this. It has to be more than just, ‘oh I wanna be an artist’. It has to be like an intuitive, intrinsic thing within you that’s like ‘I have to keep making stuff for as long as I live because I’ll literally fall apart if I don’t’ You know?
And yeah, you could definitely do that while also doing something else for your career that’s probably more stable and offer you a better financial life style. But if you wanna make a career out of it, then you really kinda have to be like ‘yeah I’m gonna have to work with no guarantee that anything will come into fruition, spend hundreds and thousands of hours in my life with no guarantee that anything will come out it and be okay with that.
So when people are like ‘eh, being an artist is easy’—I’m like no, it’s kinda fucking hard. No, choosing something that everyone knows is going to be successful already is really easy. Choosing something where you don’t have no guarantee of any type of success or any type of value at the end of your life after you die? That’s fucking hard.