This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @rites_of_annihilation !
- Tell me a little bit about yourself:
“Hi there, I’m Ray!
I’m an odd little introvert living in Northern Delaware with my best friend for life, three cat overlords and two rat dukes.
Never conceding for a truly traditional path, by daylight I work retail in the weirdest of ways, managing a large and diverse collection of crystals, fossils and tarot cards. By night I’m excavating monolithic figures out on canvas and drawing until I can’t see straight.
Art has most of my attention today but when I was young I absolutely knew I’d be a Paleontologist by now. Digging up new dinosaur species and (of course) naming them after myself and loved ones. This childhood devotion would be the leading force to direct me to the world of art. After all, I knew I wasn’t going to get a job digging up dinosaurs right away. I was only 6 years old and I needed to be at least 10, as I figured. I had to find ways to feel close to my prehistoric idols. This involved watching all dino related programs, combing beaches for fossils and drawing T-Rex’s over and over until I had an unholy knowledge of their anatomy.
This process of study, practice and creation became my modus operandi and even as my interests would change and grow over the years my satisfaction with art has remained constant.
These days as my interest in the esoteric and occult cultivates, my art is influenced by Extraterrestrials, altered states of consciousness, eroguro, manga and the natural world.
I studied Animation at The Delaware College of Art and Design earning an AFA in 2010 and in 2012 finished my Undergraduate degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Painting.
Since then I have completed many commissioned works and collaborated with art supply companies. In 2016 I co-illustrated the children’s book “Its not Mean to be Green” Authored by Jamie Kleman and have been privileged to exhibit in many group shows including Michigan’s Future Gallery’s “Exploring Supernatural Revelation” in 2017, “Astral Shadows” at Philadelphia’s Johnny Brenda’s in 2018, and most recently in the “Delaware Fun a Day” exhibit in early 2020.It is with gratitude and excitement that I anticipate many more opportunities for growth, to create and exhibit in the coming years. “
2. Can you talk about the characters in your drawings? Where do you get your inspiration from?
“The characters in most of my drawings come about rather intuitively. Unless I am doing studies, reference work, or detailed projects I may only know how I want to depict how the subjects themselves feel or what colors to start with. As my lines are made those lines tell me who they want to be. Like some weird cyclical alchemical reaction from my pen, to the page, and back to my mind, each mark before it informs the next. This surreal sketching method started for me when I was moving from middle to high school. After the accumulation of traumatic events I was left homeless and lost a lot of my art and sketchbooks up to that point. It became important to me to place greater value on the act of creating art rather than the permanence of the piece itself.
It was then that I committed to drawing with just a ballpoint pen 90% of the time.
This drawing process has taught me to draw quickly, and often, developing snap problem solving and ultimately leaving the dependency on erasers behind. In addition to giving me a vast encyclopedia of sketches to later reference in more labored art projects further along the road this has helped me develop a personal style and some repeating characters that have become important in representing certain themes and emotions.
Looking more into the repeating characters mentioned above, there is one that has been an intentional figure in my sketchbook and on my canvas for years. Though they have existed in my creative sphere since a young age as an almost imaginary friend this figure is still very present in my art to this day. His name is Almaz. Akin to the Tibetain tradition of a Tulpa or “Thought Form” this particular character has grown and changed over the years as my art style and myself have. Though it might be too simple to say that Almaz is an alter ego, much of the artwork he is featured in does mirror my personal introspections without diminishing his own potency as a character.”
3. Can you talk about the inspiration of your social media name?
“It’s a funny story that is still developing to some degree. Once I decided to make an art account on instagram it was time to embrace my artistic persona, Ray Reinsfelder and with that an account name that was exciting and memorable. I was really struggling to find something that was empowering but also available. In an effort to get out of my own way I looked into random word generators.
One in particular stood out.
Magical spell name randomizer, corny, I know, but I ran with it!
Promising myself to take the first name to come up, “Rites of Annihilation” was it. It is a rather ominous set of words. However I felt very attached to them immediately.
Transformation cycles have been very important themes throughout my life. Sometimes catastrophically so. As difficult and painful as they have been, all of them have added to my Scorpio super power to shed and recover. With each ‘Annihilation’ I have grown wiser, more empathetic, and have dug a deeper well of equanimity each and every time.”
4. Can you talk about your Esty shop?
“My Etsy shop’s name is SekhmetTreasures, after the Egyptian Lion-Warrior Goddess of the fire, heat, and the sun (this association serves as testament to the ferocity of my commitment to the success of my work but also who can argue with cats?) It is an eclectic collection of all my favorite creative works, collaborations and projects that my Partner and fellow cat lover Peter Varallo (Instagram:@Garbagefaery) and I have done.
Anything from original paintings, art prints and merchandise, to things like handmade jewelry, minerals, divination tools, ethically sourced taxidermy and all manner of other odd sundries can be found in store. Take a look and find something both funky and original, and know each order made is supporting real people doing real work!
Thank you for checking out SekhmentTreasures on etsy!
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“The most exciting news that can be pinned down right now is a work-life adjustment that has added hours of time to studio and educational pursuits. With determination and time to focus on larger studio pieces my major goals going into 2021 will be finishing paintings and applying for group and solo exhibitions. With that in mind, considering the current pandemic certain planned events have been cancelled or rescheduled. This has added to my interest in expanding on printed and digital media and interdisciplinary projects like animation, music, videos and zines. To stay abreast of all projects feel free to follow my social media accounts or watch my website listed below. ”
Website: Ray Reinsfelder
Thank you for the interview! Until next time!