Interview with Nick Romeo, multidisciplinary artist

1) In your interview with Pankhearst, you spoke of “hating humanity.” Are there ever moments when you love humanity by hating it?  [Note: Interview is at this site.]

 

“Hate” is such a mean word.  I should have said immensely despise, utterly detest, or immeasurably abhor.  But there are good people on this planet.  I appreciate Noell, Megatron, Mom and Dad.  Thanks for the help, and support.  Also a mad shout out to Craig Simmons, Laura Lutton, Mz. Misfit, and my fellow gamers Super Slugger, Purple Pancakes, Critical CalibeR, Calrip, and Violent Wedgie. 

 

 

2) What is your prime wish for your career in art?

 

To enslave humanity, and write a book entitled “2084.”

 

 

3) Sometimes I feel that being an artist is a burden. There isn’t much pay, you get a lot of criticism, and sometimes people think you are childish. What is it about being an artist, in your mind, that makes these things irrelevant? What is your motivation for continuing to write, paint, and create?

 

When I watch these documentaries on ‘successful’ people who set up businesses, starting from the ground up selling widgets and foodstuffs (you know, things people actually want)  I find myself wishing that could be me, then I’d be sitting on a beach in Delaware, or a mountain in Montana.   But I really, really, really, really, really, really, enjoy art.  I have considered stopping, and pursuing television viewing while drooling on myself like so many in western civilization, but I just can’t.  I have also contemplated quitting one form of art, maybe computer illustration, so that I could focus on the other arts I create.  I can’t do that either.  It is absolutely fun to create unique expressions, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  I enjoy all facets of my self expression.

 

 

4) Is there a moment when you feel inspired and start to create then? Is there a process you have created to build a habit of creating new art?

 

No real process to mention.  I do artwork every day, at least something / anything.  I bring a point-and-shoot camera and mini notepad everywhere I go.  It has become natural as eating, or using the toilet.  I wouldn’t say natural as sleeping.  Sleeping is anything but natural.  It takes me 75mg of Benadryl, two cups of warm milk, and 2.5mg of melatonin to get a sort-of good night sleep.

 

 

5) What is the worst comment on your art you have heard? What was your most witty comeback to a critic?

 

About two months ago, I received a message from a journal that my poetry gave Charlie Sheen AIDS – that I killed a TV icon.  I was confused and wrote back “Huh??”  The main editor whom I spoke with on occasion before, wrote back explaining a few things, and apologized.  The journal still published my poetry.  The most offensive part of this account was the reference to Charlie Sheen being an icon. 

 

About a year ago, Noell and I did an art show.  I always mingle with people who attend, thanking them for stopping by and asking them if they have any questions for me.  One person, in a rather brusque tone, asked, “What’s with all these digital works?”  Apparently he didn’t get to Noell’s part of the show – she works in oil pastels.  But I’m always ready for that question, since there are many who think any art made with a computer is NOT REAL art…as if we just turn on the computer and press a button and the art pops out, even automatically framed and matted too.  I spent more than a few moments explaining my process.  The pieces are drawn using mesh and wireframes, then I assign materials (glass, wood, metal) add lights, and pick a direction to view.  These images take a very long time to create.  After my lengthy explanation, he thanked me and told his friends my process too.

 

Several years ago my band received a rather terrible review from an online magazine.  The reason why I even sent them a Cd to review was the fact this magazine gave us an interview.  So one would think they liked us, but the reviewer was someone not really affiliated with the mag and lived in a different state, which we didn’t know at the time.  This guy also mentioned on his myspace page (this shows it has been a few years back) that he’s a fan of Rush, Led Zeppelin, and country-fried rock, which we didn’t know at the time.  So this narrow-minded genius is reviewing a gothy dark electronic music Cd… yeah, it didn’t go well for us.  The magazine emailed me and showed me the write up before it went online and gave me the choice to have it removed, since the editor-in-chief did care about us.  I took him up on the offer, but it ruined our relationship.  This experience taught me to look into the ‘opportunity’ thoroughly before submitting.

 

AND the witty comebacks always find their way into my poems.  Most times being successful is enough to silence any critic.

 

 

6) Why do you think popularity is so important to us social butterflies? The top of the dogpile is lonely and rough. It doesn’t solve our problems. Why do people want their song sung on the roof?

 

Social Butterflies, OR Social Wasps!  If I may quote from a man who had everything: Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.  – King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 2:11.   Life can be so monotonous and boring.  You get out of bed, eat, go to work, come home, eat, and go to bed.  That’s interwoven with paying bills, replacing broken things, all while being insulted for just about every imaginable reason.  It’s refreshing to shake up the routine by creating art, getting published, winning awards, seeing your music on compilations and radio playlists, then creating more art.  It brings color to a gray existence, and when people appreciate it, as in, when they are singing YOUR song from the roof, it makes you feel like you actually matter, and have contributed to life.

 

 

7) I wondered if you could tell me about the sacrifices that go into your pursuit of art.

 

Fortunately I have not sacrificed too much, yet.  My wife is very supportive.  When I lock myself in a room to create, she’s not trying to kick the door down, screaming, “Why aren’t you paying attention to me!”  In fact, she offers kind critiques and advice, since she is also an artist.  

 

I believe we can ‘have our cake and eat it too.’  Sorry for the hyper-cliché line, but if you plan and think critically about your goals, you can still hold onto the things already attained without trading them in.

 

 

8) How do you motivate yourself to sit down and create?

 

I made it a habit.  We all have bad habits, so it’s therapeutic to channel positive energy to a creative process – something that’s mentally stimulating and gives a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  I channel all those who want me to fail in life, and those who want me to succeed, as a driving force too.

 

 

9) In your own opinion, what is the best poem you have written?

 

The most successful / most published would be “Cradle” (about a group of friends who beat me with baseball bats, and buried me alive), “Hydra 8” (about my trip to the ER due to dehydration), and Prom Date (see the answer to question 10).  These poems are tied for being published in three publications each.

 

My favorite poem is “North-Side Noah.”  It’s about an animal conservatory I set up to rescue abused and neglected animals.  My wife is in the process of illustrating each animal to match the stanzas.  It’s coming along beautifully! 

 

My least favorite poem I wrote is “Self Help.”  When I received the email that a version of this is getting published, I became depressed for several days.  It’s a rather ugly poem, but very real – too real.

 

 

10) You spoke of your poetry being made of “actual events.” I wondered what the poem about Medusa at the Ball reflected in real life.

 

It’s about the horrible, racist high school that I attended, (fortunately it was only one year, but it was one loooooooooong year).  It’s real tempting to mention it by name.  One girl asked me to go to the “Snowball” dance, (dumb name for a dance, unless you can hit fellow students with snowballs) since her boyfriend got beaten up by our schoolmates since he is black – she didn’t want to go through that again.  I was also bullied by these people, so I was quite understanding to her problem.  This situation also helped me think of the movie ‘Carrie.’

carrie1

 

11) Finally, is there any advice you can offer to the struggling creator emerging into the scene? What can you expect as reward for being an artist of any kind? What are the pitfalls?

 

 

If you are creating art for money and fame, stop now, and pursue a career as a lawyer, football player, or ‘reality TV star.’  Create art because you enjoy the arts and want to contribute your heart and inner feelings to the world. 

 

I appreciate discussions and questions raised from my creations, ranging from “This is amazing what was your inspiration?” or, “This is weird and demented, are you ok?”  It’s exhilarating when someone does purchase your expression, and when you see your name in print or on a marquee.  Again, these shouldn’t be the main reasons for creating, but it does seal the fact that your work is valued.

 

Pitfalls: the major one I urge everyone to watch how you spend your money.  Try and streamline your artistic process to keep your costs down.  Also be wary of others trying to take advantage, such as some in the visual arts scene charge a tonnage to display in their gallery, some in the music scene charge to “promote” your band, then of course writers are aware of the world famous “vanity press” people.  Now these outlets may not always be a bad thing, but each person has to get the complete story and see how it can fit with their career, and wallet.  Be patient.  Don’t jump on any and every opportunity that may seem fine without checking into it.  I have been screwed numerous times for jumping first – then thinking second.

 

 

You can read more about Nick Romeo here: www.pittsburghartistregistry.org/accounts/view/nickromeo

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