"Street art and abstract expressionism are fraternal twins
born of frantic, passionate, erupting communication.
They both speak something that can't be held back by law or critic."
- RiteHand Robot!
I'll let you in on a little secret: Jordan Massey is the RiteHand Robot! (RHR!)
He is an artist living in the St. Louis area, from the south side of Chicago. From Chi-town to MO, studying visual arts at Florida International University in Miami, and his father's work with the Union Pacific Railroad, it's easy to see where his love of graffiti art originated. In his choice of color and use of space you see echoes of the artists in which he finds inspiration: Shepard Fairey, Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol. There is elaborate layering and cartoonish comedy atop a deep sociopolitical awareness in these free-form movement pieces. They are some of my favorite works. Check it out:
RHR! comes from a diverse background, from producing as a DnB DJ for nearly 20 years to telecommuting auto insurance. He tells me he has always been into producing different types of art his whole life - and always had a project going on, whether it was music or visual art or design. Today, he paints on just about anything, like vinyl and canvas. He especially enjoys doing mural work on large walls - one of the most effective ways to reach hundreds of people at once.
So, what is the 'RiteHand Robot!' and what does it mean? "I feel a lot like a robot at times, as if someone else is controlling my thoughts and feelings, like I don't have a full grasp on them myself." I feel you, J. "RiteHand Robot describes that feeling. I am my own right-hand man, but only to be separate from that uncontrollable robotic part of me."
When an artist is as prolific as he, I always have to know, what motivates you to continue? He said, "I would have to say it comes from my never-ending need to create, as well as my partner and kids." He says something that resounds with me deeply: "I feel sort of broken and anxious when I am unable to make something. I need to start and complete something... to feel whole, or accomplished. It may not be important to, or for, the masses, although I do enjoy the reactions that come from the things I create; the smiles, the laughs, the thoughts, the questions, and sometimes just the body language."
I love this notion. As much of a dream as it is to have your art pay your way in the world, it is also important, if not more so, to focus on the impact your work has on the people who come across it. "I have a lot to say, so my art becomes a soundboard for the things that are going through my head that I feel the people should be aware of."
He also recognizes that art is fleeting and ephemeral - his work, like most street art, tells a story to provoke thoughts and feelings quickly and effectively. Like most free art-ers, he knows nothing is permanent, and he'd rather get it all out there while he can.
RiteHand Robot! recently started his own arts collective called SevenFoot Cyclops. They are a group of immensely talented and likeminded artists of varying ages with fresh and lucrative ideas. They work together to create and sell their art, and hope to move into all facets of design, from visual art to graphics to 3D and beyond. RHR says it is his dream in the future to one day speak to groups at an academic level about the work, and come together for large murals. Stay on the lookout for more from this artist collective!
If you want to see more, you can check out www.ritehandrobot.com, and definitely follow his instagram feed @ritehandrobot. If you're looking for some of his work, he is connected with some local recording artists like Scrub and Ace Ha, and you may get lucky and find some of his free art donations hidden in the Lou. It's best to reach out to him for a commission created just for you! He can design anything you might need with a personal flair: t-shirts, stickers, logos, album covers, vinyl, canvas, murals. Don't be afraid to connect with him on facebook at RiteHand Robot, or, if you dare, Jordan Massey (but you didn't hear it from me).
pass it on, pay it forward.