Artist Peter Ricq, Inside The Twist

Peter Ricq takes on new approaches and challenges himself through his many roles and expresses himself as a visual artist, television producer, designer, director, music composer, writer and performer.

Q: At what point in your life did you immerse yourself in the art world/can you talk about this time in your life?

A: At a very early age, I can't even remember the beginning of it all. My father was always very passionate about art, I'm guessing it's because he didn't have the opportunity growing up. He bought many books that were nightmare themed and brought us to Dali, Magritte and Esher exhibits at the Montreal Art Gallery.

Q: Do you have an educational background in visual art?

A: I always wanted to be a painter so after high school, I decided to study fine arts at Dawson College which wasn't the best. I then attended a comic book school during the end of college where it taught us everything from anatomy to perspective to storytelling. I then got enrolled at Concordia University and studied film animation. I hate doing any sort of educational classes since leaving University, I've had enough haha.

Q: You have taken on all these different projects and roles in which you are able to express yourself not only as a visual artist but also as a television producer, designer, director, music composer, writer and performer- that is an incredible accomplishment. What has been your most enjoyable experience and can you pinpoint one example in which you really went out of your comfort zone and pushed yourself?

A: Going deep here with this question. So yes, with every project I try and challenge myself, with a new style or new approach, I don't want to be doing the same thing over and over again. Perhaps I would've been more successful if I stuck to one thing and one style but that's just not who I am. I like taking chances and apparently I like the danger of losing so much but perhaps gaining so much more. A couple years back, the owner of Ayden Gallery kind of bullied me (in the nicest way possible) into making an art show/art festival in Bogota Colombia in 2013. It cost a lot of money because we invited several artists down, brought a lot of North American artist's work, and invited over Robbie Slade so we could do a HUMANS' show. On top of it all, Ayden gallery wanted me to shoot a documentary film of the whole experience, which I did with Joseph Klymkiw. The film is called COME TOGETHER, we just finished the feature recently and are submitting it to festivals now. It was one of the most challenging things I've ever done, not sure yet if it was worth it but it was one hell of an adventure.

Q: Who are some of your inspirations in life?

A: My grandmother on my father's side and my father. They have pretty crazy stories, came from nothing, lived a shitty life and became happy in the end and helped others along the way. I was fortunate enough to have had it easy because of my father. I'm working on a film based off of my grandmother's story. It's too long, dark and disturbing for this interview to go in detail but what I love most about it is the hope it can give to anyone.

Hi Mom, love you too.

Q: Can you talk about some of the themes that you address in your artwork?

A: The themes I come back to are often, sliced heads revealing it's inside, pop art with a twist, and doppelgängers. It's usually about having the viewer question the reality of things, what's underneath, and what is this person's true intentions. Nothing is usually what it seems and sometimes the more it looks pure and innocent, the better the trick.

Q: You were just involved in the Vancouver Mural Festival- Can you talk a bit about this experience and what it was like being surrounded by all the other artists?

A: I had a wonderful time besides it being the hottest week of the year and never having any shade, I got a bad sunburn. I was very pleased with the result of my piece, it was the biggest piece I had ever done, 30feet x 30feet. Having Kathy Hamagami, a friend/helper/assistant that week made it possible to see the mural's completion. Another thing about the painting, working that high is really scary. I felt like I was going to fall to my death every day. I knew most of the artists involved, that I am good friends with, but we didn't all paint at the same time or at the same location. The whole time I was at my wall, I was trying to fight the clock so I could be done on time, which left me with very little time to just hang out. I really liked a bunch of pieces like Ali Bruce's, Marc Illing's, Andrew Young's, Jay Senetchko, Mandy Tsung, Ben Knight, the list can go on and on.

Q: You are also part of the electric duo HUMANS- has there been one memorable performance in particular you enjoyed?

A: We played in Mexico a year ago, I think that was the craziest show ever. We played live on Friday and later that evening, the promoter was upset that a headlining DJ cancelled for his Saturday slot so our agent who was chilling there said: "Just get HUMANS here to do a DJ set." We ended up playing again on Saturday night for a crowd of 10 000 people, twice the amount as the night prior. Mexico City is so beautiful and the people are just as beautiful, aside waiters who fuck you over by serving you the most expensive tequila as soon as the opportunity arises.

Q: How is your sound unique and what separates HUMANS from other musicians?

A: I don't know, perhaps it's because Robbie and I try and explore new territories every time we do something new. We haven't written the same album twice, some fans get upset until they give the new release a chance. It happens every time.

Q: Do you have any new projects for 2017 coming out in regards to your murals/illustrations/music and animation?

A: 2017 is shaping up to be overwhelming with a bunch of projects that I've been working on for years are finally seeing the light of day. I don't think any following year in my life will ever be as big as this. At the moment, here's what I have: HUMANS will be releasing 4 EPs. Gang Signs is releasing a couple EPs as well or a full length. I will be completing my second graphic novel, it's a sequel to Once Our Land which I released at the beginning of 2016. The Come Together feature documentary should get released and play in festivals around the world. I will be releasing my first live action horror feature film which I directed and Co-wrote, HUMANS also wrote the score for the feature. Ben Knight, Malcolm Levy, Christian Whiticar and I are doing an interactive art show for SEASONS festival in April. I'll be doing another group art show with Victoria Sieczka and Ali Bruce sometime. I'm starting a line of fashion with a couple friends and Cole Taylor is going to be managing most of it. I'm Releasing 3 music videos I've directed for HUMANS, one of them is fully animated and one new Gang Signs video. Gang Signs will also release the second part of our Geist remix series, there's a killer single by Beta Frontiers on it that also has one of my favourite videos ever for its track. HUMANS will be going on tour and Gang Signs will also find it's way on the road somehow.

Q: What is your thought process when creating art- do you have a format or do you just delve right into the art making?

A: It's different for every project. It all depends on what it's for, it's purpose.

Q: What is your environment like in which you work- are you messy/tidy?

A: I'm really clean, almost OCD clean. I produce art in my home because it's cheaper that way and then I pack it all up when I'm done without a stain in site. I don't know how some artists get paint all over themselves and their atelier, I have very few clothes with stains on them.

Q: How would you define the word success?

A: Success is simple if you're happy then you've succeeded.

Q: What are your thoughts on Vancouver’s art scene?

A: I love Vancouver, it was the first city where I felt like people appreciated my work, Montreal was different but I also defined my art here more.

Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you?

A: Support your friends and local artists, especially the ones who's work you love.