We had the good fortune of connecting with Ross von Rosenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ross, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
One of my favorite books is, the memoir of Jean Dominque Bauby; it’s called, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. They’ve also made a film of the book as well, and it’s very beautiful, and not surprisingly one of my favorite films. In fact, I was so inspired by the story, I made a painting of it years ago. Anyway, I would recommend the book or film to anyone, though emotionally, it’s not something that is easy to engage with; it’s very sad. But what cuts through the sadness of it, is that there is courageousness in the books very existence. Bauby was a French journalist, who had worked his way up to being one of the editors of Elle Magazine in France. When he was 43 years old he had a massive stroke and ended up in a condition called Locked in Syndrome. His mind was as sharp as ever, but he was physically completely paralyzed with the exception of being able to blink his left eye. And it is in that state, that he had the resolve to write his memoir about his experience being “locked in” his own body. And he did this by composing the book in his head, then dictating the entire thing in code, by blinking his left eye. He died 2 days after his work was published. Now I’m going to cheat a little here, and loop in one of the other questions and answers into this answer because I think they are related; and that is, why did I pursue an artistic or creative career? Because, I have no other choice but to do so in some for or fashion. Art is something that I’ve always done, and will always do. It’s not something I can stop. And no matter if I’m having a moment of laziness, artist block, despair, doubt or whatever life may bring, I will make art. My deep drive, and need to create, will always be one of things that pulls me through whatever comes. Because it’s worth it, and because there’s no excuse. People all over the world create beautiful things in the most dire of circumstances. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is just one of those stories. He wrote a book, a wonderful book, by blinking his eye; because what was on the inside had to get out whether or not he would ever live to see its success. He had no choice. So whenever I find myself distracted, or questioning whether the next blank canvas staring back at me is worth filling; I think of Jean Dominque.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets my art apart? I think maybe that, while I’m always expanding my visual palette or shifting and evolving my style, sometimes in completely different directions, people seem to still be able to see the visual and stylistic threads between them. I almost always tend to use pretty vivid colors, high contrast forms, lots of detail, lots of texture. Usually, I get an idea that I want to explore, and I’ll push it until there nothing really left, and then jump to another idea, or sometimes multiple ideas in very different styles all the time. For example, if someone were to browse through my website, they’d see all these distinctly different bodies of work, but that seeing it all together, you can pick up on the connectivity. So I think seeing that continuing artistic evolution, stylistic diversity in the work, and where the evolution is going to take my work next, is the thing I’m most proud of and excited by. How did I get to where I am, well, putting in a ton of time in the studio, but also going out and meeting great people, and seeing what opportunities present themselves. Not everything pans out all the time, but, I think you’ve just got to stay persistent and present. The more work you make, the harder you push the work and the more you put yourself out there, the more chances you get that something is going to blossom. I would say that; it’s never really easy. Art is always fun, but it’s never easy. Making art, you’ve got to be willing to spend lots of time in the studio, not just making work, but working to always get better, and being present to catch that idea. That takes a lot of time. Once the work is done, the next challenge is how to get it out there so the audience can see it. Some shows pan out, some don’t. Some shows you sell a lot of work, some you don’t. It can be very up and down if your ride too much with the highs and the lows. I think the key is staying humble and grateful to the opportunities. That way, you just take everything as it comes. It’s real easy, especially as a young artist, like, when I was in my mid 20s, to over hype things in your head, to think this is going to be the show, the moment. But the truth is, being an artist is a life long commitment, and that it’s a continuous journey; and that that is actually one of the greatest gifts about it. As long as I am able, for the rest of my life, at a minimum, I know I will always being doing this; making art. And I think that if there is anything I want the world to know about me is, really; I’m a guy that likes to make art, and will always making art for those who want to see it. And I hope to continue to give everyone a lot of art to see.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s kind of hard to say, in that it would really depend on who it was and what they were looking for. Dallas is such a city of different distinct neighborhoods. So I guess if it was me doing all the planning and, lets say it was a friend that had never really been to Dallas, I’d probably focus on spending time in each neighborhood and my wife and I are both foodies; so lots of activities would revolve around food. Over in East Dallas where we live, things are pretty laid back, so I’d probably say a visit White Rock lake and the Arboretum, some great pizza and beers at Vector Brewing. If you’re wanting to do a nice dinner that is excellent, interesting and local in East Dallas, there’s Mot Hai Bai which is right across the street from a great neighborhood hangout, Cosmos. Another place to pop in for drinks and always great people is Lounge Here. One day you would want to hit up the Lower Greenville/Henderson area. There’s really good coffee at La La Land, gelato at Botolino, breakfast at Toasted. And between those two streets are so many good places to eat. Rapscallion, Gemma, are two great upscale places around there. If you want something more casual there’s Wabi House or the Libertine. Also Truck Yard is a must stop by place. And in this area it’s always great to finish the night with a good glass of wine at Veritas on Henderson. Spending sometime in Deep Ellum is of course a must. There’s so many great places down there like Ruins, Yellow Rosa, Local, Armoury D.E., All Good Café, Angry Dog. If Kettle Art Gallery or Deep Ellum Art Co are having shows, you definitely gotta go in and check that out. And of course the Pecan Lodge is a Dallas BBQ institution. Downtown Dallas, when I first moved here back in 2005, wasn’t much of entertainment destination, but it’s come a long way. Spending sometime during the day at Klyde Warren Park is a must, which then you can cross the street and be right there at the Dallas Museum of Art. Partenope is a great place for lunch or dinner, but if you just want a burger, the sneaky best burger in downtown as at the Crafty Irishman Public House. A good place to wrap up the night in downtown is the Bourbon and Banter speakeasy in the Statler. One thing I’d recommend anyone visiting for the first time is to maybe try and time their visit on the 3rd Thursday of any given month. That’s because, over in the Design District on Dragon Street, the 3rd Thursday of every month all the art galleries open up. And while you’re over there you can hang out at the Meddlesome Moth, or The Charles is great place with some very eclectic food to go have dinner. Then probably the neighborhood to end the week in would be in the Bishop Art district. You’ve got great breakfast at the El Jordan Café. Great places to get drinks are Botanist, Paradiso, Ten Bells Tavern or Neighborhood Cellar. And for dinner, I’d recommend Boulevardier or Encina. Anyway, I think this is a good place to stop, I could probably go on answering this question forever.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve met and continue to meet so many people in the art community in Dallas over the years that have been gracious and supportive. But I think back to when I first started showing work in Dallas, and all the way through, I have to give the biggest of shout outs to my friend and fellow artist and art entrepreneur Frankie Gracia of FG3 Fine Art Productions. He’s been a big believer in my work since day one, and brought me amazing opportunity after amazing opportunity. And most importantly, these were opportunities that pushed me to work harder, better and tackle artistic challenges outside my comfort zone. Things like Red Bull Art of the Can, The Omni Hotel project, Factory Six03, and great charities like Studio 212, Arts for Advocacy, Color Me Empowered, and on and on. And it was through those projects that I got meet so many other wonderful people, and found so many other awesome opportunities. But Frankie continually reaching out, and believing in my work, has been one of the biggest building blocks and constant through lines of my art career. So Shoutout to Frankie Garcia.
Other: Email: email@example.com
The photo of me was shot by my wife, Lauren von Rosenberg