Focus explores the creative talent within the climbing community.
Florida-based artist Rido’s work is all about the details. Originally from just outside Fontainebleau, the French climber has developed two clear styles: miniature silhouettes and intricately designed encrypted illustrations.
How did you first get into drawing?
I could never really sit in a classroom just listening to a lecture, so during my education I was always doodling around. It was a good way to make time pass by faster but never thought about drawing seriously, never had any classes for it.
A few years back, I went surfing. The waves were bad and I had a few Sharpies in my truck. I drew on the entire board what I called an encrypted drawing; basically a doodle with hidden messages and encryptions in it. So from afar you can see the shape of a fish but the closer you come, the more little hidden drawings and encryptions you can see. A friend of mine saw it and loved it and ordered a canvas. Since then, I have never stopped. For the past year I've been drawing a lot of silhouette figures, mainly of climbers.
How did your miniature silhouette style develop?
I've always drawn figures with not much realism because my 3D skills are terrible. One day I found picture of Sonnie Trotter climbing a crack, I can't remember where, but the picture was awesome and his shadow on the wall was even more charismatic—so it gave me the idea of trying to reproduce the movement of a climber through his shadow. On those drawings, I try to make little jagged lines, where parts of the climber are missing, just like a shadow would on a climbing wall. Thanks, Sonnie!
They have a substantial amount of detail for miniature drawings. How do you go about creating a piece, from ideation to the final work?
I usually start by finding a picture where I like the movement of the climber. I then draw the outline with a pencil, kind of the stick figure of the climber. Then I grab a black pen and start adding material to the stick figure. I started by doing relatively large drawings of climbers full of little details but slowly I've been removing more and more lines and I’m now trying to draw much smaller drawings with just the essential line needed to represent the movement of the climber.
Your encrypted work has a different style. How do you approach those pieces?
My encrypted drawings are a good way for me to tell a story in a different way. So I initially draw the large drawing that can be seen from far away, trying to attract people closer so they can see all the little hidden drawings that makes up the large one. They all have a different theme and tell a different story. They also all have encrypted messages. I enjoy when people tell me their interpretations of those drawings because it might not be the attempted interpretation but it is fun to see people’s creativity and hear their stories. Every encrypted drawing works the same way: there is a starting point of the story and I go either clockwise or counterclockwise to tell the story. So if you find the start point and can make out the encryption, my story is yours.
Climbing often features in your work. What impact has the sport had on your creativity?
I love climbing itself and its community. I have climbed a bit all over and every time I end up in a new place I meet great people sharing the same passion for climbing. Drawing in some ways is a bit like climbing. There are many ways to draw a climber. I just use black ink and 2D but one could do the same climber using colors, shades, shadows, perspective and so on. As for climbing, I always enjoy watching people use creative ways to figure out how to climb a route. Some will use a heel hook, others a toe hook, some have more technique and some more power. There is always more than one way to climb a route and it's fun to see it done.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow a similar path?
Well, I’m not positive I am one to give any advice, but I believe that if you have a passion, any passion, just go for it and then everything around it will line up. Don't be afraid of trying or being judged for your work. Just go for it. Experiment, find your style of art and just enjoy doing it.
You can follow Rido’s work on Instagram.