The following article was published in N-SPHERE April 2012 issue.


Name: James R Ford, esquire! Actually I just go by Jim Ford, or my alias Rebeletter Studios.

Location: Location, location. I live in fantasy land. A secluded small town in the Midwest, where people modestly work hard and don’t go too far.

Occupation: Whatever I’m hired for, I’m a man of many hats. Sometimes I’m a type designer, and when I am, I’m doing better than usual. Sometimes it’s graphic art or design for bands and companies… and sometimes I’m just a desperate schmuck laboring and painting houses to »make the rent.« I’m also a very proud father, all the time.

Definition of personal sphere: Not sure if I can answer that, I usually leave explanation and interpretation to the spectator. Apologies if I filibuster this. The viewer is a significant role-player in art, so I’m more interested in their reactions. And the way I was raised, talking about myself and my work seems arrogant, so I avoid that most of the time. I hope to be undefined though. I work in various modes and like to refer to it as »playing in different sandboxes.« If I could I would try most everything once, there’s something to working outside your comfort zone and attempting to excel in that. I always admired the masters who worked in different mediums and styles. I don’t finish everything, admittedly – work is sometimes abandoned or set aside. So there are always a variety of unfinished projects lying around. If something isn’t captivating enough or just isn’t working, I go onto something else that is. Of course, if its a work without a deadline. There’s a »moving forward« mentality, which I sort of carry on from some of my heroes, particularly Marcel Duchamp and also Miles Davis. There are phases, and periods of change; you can’t ever nail it down conclusively. I still have a long way to go.

The best artistic expressions for me are spontaneous and almost free form, despite the fact they may be consciously designed or preconceived. I’m somewhat impatient, to a degree; which is probably part of the reason I’ve gravitated toward the collage craft as a medium. Because it’s fast, loud, questionable and compositionally intensive. Motion and cubism are a significant study in my repetoir – the analytical and synthetic approaches, and perspective. I don’t like drawing or painting pictures of things that already exist, although I can do that just fine. The process just isn’t that exciting. So my personal sphere is one of exploration into the obscure, nonsensical creation, invention, animation…expansion and subtraction, compositions within compositions. Although it would appear that room is often left open for improvisation and expression [which is true], I often have a plan. Again, the sphere is very difficult to explain. Ask me in 30 years.

Artwork in 4 words: Conviction, Movement, Expansion, Process.

What is inspirational for you: Anything from the Rocky soundtrack, that Moby song from the 90s… [laughs] Music and sound, history, quotations, sayings, album covers, punk flyers, film, photography, design, nature, seclusion, hallucinations, dreams. Late nights alone in my house.

Currently favourite artists: Hmm… If I were reading this interview, I would be amused if the artist was uninhibited enough to just come out and say »My favorite artist is Me.« But I’m inspired by all kinds of artists, and designers too. Pop art, punk art, poster artists, illustrators. Marcel Duchamp has been my art Godfather; his work and his insights speak to me, so I channel him sometimes when I’m questioning artistic things. I’m a Gen X kid that daydreams about life in a different time, I’ve been that way as long as I can remember. Anyway, I also dig Man Ray, Escher, Rauschenburg, Warhol and Da Vinci…there are others in the heavyweight class. In the literary art world, Charles Bukowski is someone who stands out to me, although I don’t read enough. Beyond that, there are a handful of living contemporaries who I admire and follow. Conviction, vision and uncompromising honesty are things that I value, so I tend to gravitate to artists who display those qualities. I dig bold characters and rule-breakers who shoot straight from the hip. Not into small-talkers, happy-go-lucky types, or intellectuals for that matter. I have issues with society. There’s dirt on everyone but I like to think I can relate to most people, or try anyway. On the contrary, I’m sort of isolated in my own little world, like many of us.

Tools of trade: Anything in arm’s reach! Hands, eyes and brain of course. Usually a glue stick, Exacto knife or scissors, Sharpies, paper, magazines, a copy machine and a camera. Occasionally a computer will intervene, but moreso in my work than my art.

Current obsessions: 60s jazz and Motown, phallic shapes, Irish Cream in my coffee, Mad Men, photo illusion, fedoras, astrology. Richard Nixon – the character, and his nose. Reflections and shadows. Nonsensical word inventions. Tweeting my unwanted thoughts. Typography and letterforms as always, circles, squares, triangles, cocks, balls…you know, that kinda stuff.

Personal temptation: Sex, romance, impulsive decisions…not in any particular order. I’m a sucker for love, its my Achilles’ heel. But I’m faithful!

Artwork: Jim Ford. Monosphere. 11 x 15″ antique collage. Courtesy of the artist.

Full article here.