Give us a brief introduction of yourself.
I’m a street artist out of Portland Oregon, operating under the pseudonym “Arrex” or “Rx Skulls”. I specialize in screen printed vinyl stickers and poster paste ups- my skulls can be found all over the world and I make everything by hand in my little studio.
When did you start making art?
I started my street art project in 2010, and it’s evolved a great deal in 5 short years. I became interested in street art in my travels, photographing and documenting it everywhere. It wasn’t until I started noticing it in my own city that it struck me as an accessible art form. I wanted in, and once I began, I’ve never looked back.
Tell us more about your style. Why Skulls?
A couple years before I started my street art project there was a two year span where my mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather all got cancer. My other grandmother died from complications of a fall and I was diagnosed with a tumor below my brain. These medical disasters mixed with classes in art history and more specifically the artistic theme of “memento mori” (Latin for “remember you will die) forced a very strong fascination with death and symbols of death.
During this time I’d also been studying abroad in England, where I photographed a skull in the museum of history. When I began my street art project I decided to use that skull photo as my moniker. For five years every single piece of street art I’ve done is based off of that one skull- this is why they all have a very strong consistent branding to them. My degree in graphic design only served to strengthen my project. The process for creating my skull images is as convoluted as their inspiration. I begin with the skull photo, I trace it’s shape and features into a linoleum block, I carve the block and print it one clean time. I scan the image and vector it by hand with a digital tablet.
This is why all my skulls have little cuts in them- it’s the woodblock aesthetic that I love. I then expose my woodblock vector to a screen and screen print them by hand on vinyl. I love playing with colors and new and unique ways of printing them- getting my hands dirty in the studio is my favorite step of the process
Anything exciting lined up for you?
I’m working on curating an art show with another Portland street artist (Mad1)- a show exclusively of used stencils which I think will be very fun and unique. I’ve got a new set of screen prints I’m working on, and always a slew of new stickers. I get bored very easily, so I’m always working on a new permutation of my skull or a new way of printing them.
I would love to travel again soon but I just got back a few months ago from a two week trip to London. I’m hoping to save up enough money to get out to some new countries within the next couple years.
Tell us some random fun facts about yourself.
I’m a movie-holic. I’ve always got a movie playing in the background of my work, something to tune in and out of while I’m printing or designing. It’s rare that I listen to music when I work. I was that kid in middle school with the brightly dyed hair. I’m a people pleaser, and it’s always been one of my biggest downfalls. My favorite colors are orange and black.
One of my favorite artists is Frida Kahlo. I re-watch Dexter, Breaking Bad, Lost, and Prison Break over and over. Dubstep is my guilty pleasure. I worked for a big corporation as a graphic designer for a number of years. Currently I’m trying to make it as a freelance screen printer, I’m hoping that between that and my online store- that I can make a comfortable living. I can’t imagine being happier doing anything else.