Tagline: Give yourself and your work a tagline or sentence.
Energetic and obsessive, acerbic and verbose. Rob’s work continues to evolve.
Rest: How do you spend your time off
I like to take walks with my girlfriend. Watch movies, and read. Travel when I can. Argue on Facebook.
Influence: What would you like to share with our audience and what effect do you hope to have on us?
Hopefully something in the work will touch the viewer, politically or aesthetically, and leave a residue of something positive.
Back: If you could choose a past literary/art/music movement to be a part of, which would you choose?
Probably the Surrealists in France and Spain, and then in Mexico City. The scope of their vision was brought home to me in Coyoacán, walking the few blocks in that 500-year old neighborhood from Frida’s house to Trotsky’s where bullet holes still riddle the walls. It felt like the stakes were very high. And then Buñuel arrived.
Energy: What fires you up?
Any number of things. Great writing, music. A beautiful day. Swimming, spending time in the floatation tank.
Los Angeles: Where is your favorite place in Los Angeles? Where would you take visitors? If you could defend the city in one sentence to someone who doubts it, what would you say?
Silverlake and Downtown are both favorites, but I also love the Venice Canals and the quiet deserted beach in Marina del Rey. I like to take visitors to the Getty, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Book Soup, the Aero, and maybe the L.A. River. If there’s time, a foray to Joshua Tree. It takes a bit more work than New York, but L.A. is exploding with culture. Art, food, film, and astounding physical beauty.
Advice: What is the best advice you’ve received? What is the best advice you can give?
Not sure if it’s the best, but I like William Burroughs’s Words of Advice for Young People. Junkie wisdom, distilled and universal. In terms of giving advice, it’s probably good to write down your ideas before you forget. Disregard the voice that says you’ll remember them, You won’t. They’re too valuable to leave on a windowsill.
Aura: How would you describe your energy, style, etc.?
A lot of contradictory things. Playful but humorless, funny but morose. Omnivorous, child-like, petulant, curious. Argumentative. In flux.
Room: Where in your home do you work? If not in your home, where do you feel most compelled to create?
My bedroom. Working at home is the single best thing about being an illustrator. I draw on the same drafting table I’ve been using since I was 18. My bed and the floor work for larger canvases, and I do my digital work on a boat-sized industrial desk from the 40s. I’m surrounded by books and records and art made by friends. Feels like a pretty integrated, personal habitat.
Tools: What do you prefer to work with, physically and otherwise?
For the more recent graphite drawings, I’ve been using thick Faber Castell 9000 series pencils. They feel good in my hand and I love the richness of their darks, spraying fixative and adding successive layers. The stipple drawings on paper are mostly done with Sakura Pigma Micron pens, and I use oil-based paint pens for the canvasses. I have an iMac for Photoshop, where I could live forever.
Indulgence: What is your favorite indulgence? Do you cook? What is your specialty meal? What is your favorite restaurant in LA where you indulge yourself?
Some of my favorites are no longer part of my life, but coffee remains an eternal joy. And going out is still fun. Satdha, Thai vegan on Lincoln, is very good, and a new favorite is the unfortunately named Necco on Westwood.
Special: Who or what holds a special place in your heart? How does this factor into your creative process?
My sons have been the center of my life for 20+ years, lighting up my existence and offering great feedback (when they can be bothered). A couple teachers at Otis and SVA, my girlfriend, my mom, lots of amazing friends. Some favorite illustrators are Drew Friedman, Chris Ware, Zoe Matthiessen, Henrik Drescher.
Time: What is your all-time favorite piece of writing/art/music you’ve created?
It’s so hard to say. I’m partial to the more recent work — drawings as well as the playing cards — but also really love some of the music I recorded a decade ago under a Japanese pseudonym. Excited to see its primary inspiration, Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada), in concert later this month.
Thank you Rob Susman!
Rob Sussman’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Paper, The Progressive, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, New York Press and The NY Times Book Review. Rob was born and grew up in New York City. He studied at the School of Visual Arts and Otis College of Art & Design. Rob lives and works in Los Angeles. You can reach out to him on his website at: robsussman.com or on instagram.com/rob_sussman.
Check out more art from Rob Sussman’s World: