An Interview with Fred Larucci

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Fred Larucci is the creator of the art site The Night Gallery (no relation to the television series of the same name). A self taught artist he deals with portraits. Having an infinite fascination with the human face he never works with the same subject twice.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Chicago. I currently have the Night Gallery Studio located in Woodstock, Illinois – this is where I do my work. I’ve always been a Portrait Graphite Illustrator and In my eyes I’m not a self-taught artist, I’ve always have known how to draw from the time I was 7 or that I could remember. I really consider myself more of a master forger than an artist although I believe the two go hand in hand. It’s important to understand what you’re looking at – why things are located where they are located. I’ve always had this uncanny ability of drawing exactly what I see and almost make exact duplicates on paper. I also adapt very fast seeing where I’m going wrong and correct my errors.

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Did you develop a love of art from an early age or was it something you picked up along the way?

A long time ago Someone asked me once, “How do you see things,”…I said, “Differently.” For me, when I view something and I’ll try to make some sense here, some people can look at a flower and just see the flower, I see that flower in different different views, different things around it – I imagine a lot and study my reference shots sometimes for months on end especially faces.

Who are some of your influences?

My parents, they inspire me and are the hardest working Individuals I know – Art related, it’s the true Masters (Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael & Titian).

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What are some of the most challenging things an artist faces when being self taught?

Well here is my take on self taught artists and not natural born talent, from what I see here on the net and on social media sites is that many so called artists don’t take advice too well, they take it personal which I find hilarious, in the real world, established artists, publishers and other professionals in this business will just tell you to hit the road. Social Media sites like Deviantart, Facebook and Twitter have given many the illusion of success – it has made them self proclaimed overnight artists and professional wannabes – they don’t want to learn, take criticism, learn from their mistakes like the old school artists had to deal with from the beginning – all they want is for their art, art page or website to be a reality show – catering to fans, likes, shares, and any other nonsense they put out there, feeding off their own delusions of greatness. The Challenge for many is if you put yourself out there, you better suck it up and take criticism because that is the main reason why you are out there in the first place – to show your work and learn to get better.

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What do you think is the most important thing to remember when learning anything on ones own?

To accept and love what you’re doing – to constantly learn no matter how good you think you are, you can always learn something new and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Why do you work mainly with faces? What is about them that you find so fascinating?

Faces are fascinating, I don’t do multiples or full body shots as not to take away from the main focus feature which to me…is the face. Doing faces or a portrait is tricky because you have to get everything exactly correct proportion wise, if you are slightly off with one feature, the face will look like someone completely different. I like faces because they are a challenge, not as technical as my coin drawings but just as difficult especially Illustrating someone famous, each one tells a story if you capture it correctly.  Anyone can draw a face, creating one to look exactly like the person you are illustrating is something totally different.

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It is true you never work with the same subject twice? Why is that?

Yes, that is correct. I want to be different. I want to draw and capture a subject in that moment in time then move on. Inspiration is key and it’s important to have it when creating art, one reason why I don’t accept commission work that involves the same subjects, for me you lose something doing subjects over and over again, you lose that mojo inspiration – the very thing that got you going the first time around, to me your art becomes dull and flat – time to move on. I continue to do a subject only once in my current art portfolio.

Why was The Night Gallery created? Do people ever get it confused with the series of the same name? Were you a fan of that show?

The Night Gallery was created to show the world my art. To have a one stop viewing site. In the old days you lugged around a portfolio, binders or sketchpads of your art – from there I went to photographers and got my art on negatives ultimately ending up in albums – Social Media has given many an easy simple way to showcase their art through the internet. The Night Gallery name wasn’t in way any based on the actual show, I was told early on that my work had a slightly dark tone or side to each piece so I simply used the word “Night” and then added what it is a “Gallery” for my Social media art pages. For the record I also loved Rod Serling’s show back in the 7o’s but the name wasn’t based on that.

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I know you also support various artists through social media and other mediums. Do you think it is important to encourage others in your line of work?

Yes, but this is a trick question and I know one when I see one. Encouraging others is always a great thing to do. You have to give support but  choose your opportunities carefully. Many artists lose focus, being an artist isn’t about how popular you make yourself out to be on your art page, it’s really all about your work. You  have to be careful with giving advice to others in my experiences on Social Media sites.

How do you ever get discouraged in your career? How do you deal with such things.

I try very hard to just focus on my art, what I know I can do even though from time to time I need to get slapped back to reality. Yes I do get discouraged seeing things especially here on social media getting attention it doesn’t deserve. The weird thing about being digital is that most people have an attention span of about 3 seconds and would rather support something brainless or of lower quality simply because it fits within that category and they can relate to. I know of so many great artists like Jude Ickes from Kaleidoscope doing some masterful art getting no exposure when some Shock artist site puts something out there and gets all the attention. That’s what probably disappoints me the most about this career.

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Are there any little known things about you that our readers might be surprised to learn?

My profession is in Mechanical Engineering and that has actually helped me create my coins in my coin series because they are more technical in nature than the constant flowing accuracy of Portrait art work. I’ve been a Mechanical Engineer for the past 25 years and continue to do it until this day. Other than that, one note: I use about 10 blending stumps per drawing, once the tip is gone, I trash em.

What do think you would be doing at this point in your life if you weren’t an artist?

Good question, I really don’t know. The definition of an artist is pretty broad. To say if you were not an artist – to me you’d be pretty dull. We all create each and every day – we all create something in life, life to me is an art form. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.

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What do you hope people take away from your work?

I’ve said this many times in the past and I’ll say it again, I want to wow people when they look at my work, but if I had to think of one thing I want someone to take away from my art is when they personally tell me I inspire them, that what they’ve seen from my work got them back into art, – That’s the most satisfying part of doing what I do.

Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

Thank you. Thank you Van Gogh’s Ear for giving me this opportunity to show my art to your readers and to showcase my art in one of your editions. One of the goals every artist looks for is to eventually get published and again, I thank you for that opportunity, it’s much appreciated.

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For more information please see The Art of Fred Larucci, Facebook, and DeviantArt.

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