In this episode, you have the opportunity to meet Christian Miller aka Mad Rabbit. He is a Pittsburgh Based illustrator, printmaker, painter, and muralist. His work is vibrant, fun and aims to make the viewer smile. Listen to hear how he talks about life after college, what goes into his craft, and his approach to obstacles we all face.
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Welcome to Episode 0164 Rawness of reality. I'm your host, Kevin Stock, and in this episode you have the opportunity to meet Christian Miller, a k a. Mad Rabbit. He's an illustrator, painter, muralist and printmaking. You will hear him talk about his name, change what it was like transferring in the middle of college. And how is it to be a creative after college? Throughout the episode, he also hits on various obstacles he has overcome to get to where he is today. But enough from me. Here's Mad Rabbit. Could you talk about how you transformed from the rabbit rabbit? Toa mata rabbit?
All right, so I'll go back even further to where the rabbit rabbit started, mainly because I hadn't really talked about this in a long time and I hadn't because no one's asked me. So the rabbit thing came from I had seen somewhere this this no, hardly looking rabbit tattoo, and it, like, stuck with me. For months now, I've always been a friend of the cute, fuzzy animals. Uh, especially rabbits like I just find them, Blake. They're adorable, and they're free. And, like all they want to do is just, like, kind of around eaten Well appropriate. Yeah, but you know, not so much that aspect. I just think it's my spirit animal. So I start drawing this rabbit, and it turned into at the time when I got out of school, I had kind of started studying on my own and learning in my end years of school relief printing. So I came up with this like, I was just this normal looking rather with a bunch of sharp teeth. And I did a print of it, and I called with the rabbit rabbit. I love the way that that were off the tongue. Rabid rabbit, problem is, is after I started to use it as my moniker. Um, I realize it was kind of a mouthful. People. A rabbit rabbit? No, rabid, like, you know, phone with the mouth rabbit. And so I remember like, Yeah, I was trying to get some again. My name is Christian Miller. Don't even wrong. I love my name. My parents gave it to me. However they gave me. I have you to the most common names. So it's like, you know, there's, like, 20 of them. Look, the Pittsburgh Reader area. Apparently. Yeah, And so, like I'm trying to stand out from the rest. So I start trying to come up with some sort of moniker, some other name to operate under that still meet. And so I sat down with this idea with this rabid rabbit. Sounds like this isn't working. It's confusing people. So I, like, wrote out this entire list all these different adjectives, and I was like looking at with other like brands and other artists operated under. And so I settled on this idea of like the Mad Rabbit Mad not so much as angry mad, more like mad as a hatter. So it's this idea that it's like the logo has kind of changed over the years that I've been operating under. But it's always been that rabbit since probably right around, like maybe 2014 was, It's time to take 2014 that looked like, because I don't quite remember if it was like rate after or before I moved to Lawrenceville. It was like right around there, and, uh and it's just a moniker. That's like, you know, like I kept it going, so, like I'd be like, Yeah, I'm Christa Miller. But you can call me Mad Rabbit Rabbit. And it's great now because, you know, 56 years and there are people who know me as rabbits, and I know my real name is just like, Oh, your rabbit, What's going on? And I'm just like it feels good. Everything does it. It's a recognizable thing. You know, it's you don't feel as if you lose yourself in the name. No, it's just it's It's just who I am. I mean, like, if you would go into my studio like I have like, you know, I collect dumb shit, that's all rabbits like. There's like hundreds of pieces. It's like, you know, a handful of things, but it's it's something that I've like. I've grown into an embrace more because I don't think I would lose myself in it because it's who I am, as you have become a kind of more of myself into this this version of myself, strictly just by operating under the name consistently, I don't feel like there's a separation between it. My parents have out well for the most part, always been pretty supportive of my our career. They're both very skeptical, too like going into art school At the time, I wanted to go for psychology, But then I discovered art like, really loving art in my head, like towards the end of high school. Anyway, we're going to like art, wanted to go to art school. And they were like, Why? And I was you know, I mean, I made by my argument and we can't be like a compromise, and I wouldn't have Penn State And what can't whatever but back to their art at Penn State. So they do have our programs. I went to a bridge campus in Altuna, P A. It was a small art program I had transferred in my second year to that campus. There's it was very strict. Program broke a college for me. I'm going for I apply a psych major, like, two weeks into it. I was like, This is not what I want to do with my life. I wanna like, do art. And so I had why I was gonna, like, transfer out of art school like Art Institute was so much money. And so then I was like, Whoa, Pence a has campuses, and I was like, I got a main campus. I gotta branch campus. I knew if I went to Main campus at that point my life that was a good chance that I was gonna party Maur than go to class. Decided to look at the alternate campus. They had a vast program that was their art visual art studies Something that's really smart coming out of high school. Think like that. Well, I like it that time I knew that my more all right, I liked it. I like to do that stuff and I wanted to party and, like, just live free on Duh. I had come to the conclusion that that was like, I didn't even know if I hadn't brought it up to my parents back on campus because I knew that Lake. I do like down Song said, Oh, yeah, Like I knew that I would end up just like drinking and partying and everything else I could probably get my hands on. I have a very addictive personality. Um, so I had already I just knew that lake. If it was there, I was gonna have fun. S 00 And I knew that I wanted to go to school and I really wanted to, like, learn art. And I wanted to, like, explore the world. Basically, um And so I was like, Well, if I want to make it through college, I'm gonna go this other campus, they have a program. I went and saw it on the campus was gorgeous is the big campus. But we said I had been to, um And it was like surrounded by trees and nature, so, like I could feel. But yet, like, you go walk a block away, and there it was like, you know, just a suburb neighborhood, basically sleek, you know? Plus, you had all of the opportunity, like, which is basically one giant shopping center. Look, I haven't been really It's, um you know, they've got the Penn State campus, every box store imaginable and a huge heroin problem. Really? That's all I can really remember about 10 in Pennsylvania. And that's that's where it states have some friends out there won't even be boy went to school with. They were just people I met out That way, if you're going to school with that, I still occasionally talk to her, like all over the world right now. It's crazy, but I like I said, a lot of them dropped out of that program. So going back to that point, I, uh, into the first year at all to campus, which had been my sophomore year of college. I had to make a decision. Did I want to stay in Vast, or did I want to go into another program? There was Ah oh, I can't remember the name of the Professor. But she there was another professor who was like a dance professor, but she was one of the heads of a different program called Integrative Arts. On what that is is it's It's taking one arts program and one humanities program, and you basically kind of combined them to make it. It's almost a dual major, but it's not. They just kind of separate everything down the middle. So ended up studying was communications and vision ward a time I kind of had it in my head that I wanted to pursue graphic design. Um, and so that was like my idea was like, I also wanted to be able to figure out how to communicate to an audience. So in that program you get a little leniency and what you can kind of pick as long as they fall under each program's category, You can kind of really selectively choose with classes you want. So, like I took a whole bunch of like communications base classes on, like the media and advertisement like where radio started Where? TV start. And, like I just studied all this idea of like, you know how, but companies and TV and radio, how they try to, like, get things through to the viewer. More listener. Um, and that was like the communications aspect. They had a few graphics like classes at that came in campus, and I took them all, which gave me, like, a pretty good understanding. And then this was the visuals, programs, all those classes. I could only take a select few because I wasn't in the visual arts program anymore, so I kind of like I took every class that I could have stood yards, and then I got really lucky because I had already had developed relationships with the professors that were there in that program. So I worked with several of them in my last two years to do a bunch of independent studies. So this is where late, Like I really learned to bounce from medium to medium. My degree is in communications and visual art, but I also took a hell of a lot of philosophy classes. Look, um, I really particularly like ancient philosophy, mainly because the idea is that everything that they struggled with and we're asking questions about that then are still questions that we're asking ourselves now. So I tried to I try to learn from everybody that I ever interact with good or bad. And so, you know, when I would find these professors, I would connect with them, and I would try to learn as much as they would teach me on something. So in that program of integrative arts, so I start with But Gibbons When I right before I went to college, First year bunch of Janet classes, second year, a bunch of basic entry level classes, psych ups, concept, space, concept of light. You're letting the very basic dynamics of art and kind of how to approach things. The next year, I would took like the few visual wards, the vast programs that I could take. So there was like a methods of materials, which was kind of like they had a guest professor. Her name was Susan Marie Burned Ege, super talented painter. She works in these very tiny, little like landscapes. That particular professor who gave everybody a hard time. And I mean, like like myself. I bawled my eyes out in front of a professor, like, three times because she was she was hard core. But the things that she taught me that have stuck with me from this point to this point our like, invaluable, like I think about him very regularly. I did write her an email to her website like a few years ago, telling us never back from her. But that's all right. But once I got to the integrate parts, I just started taking, like, whatever I could see. Like one semester. I studied with this Professor Carlo Sweet Ruiz, and I wouldn't set design. Look, I had no interest in theatre, but I thought I'd like, you know, my father is a like he was a contractor, basically, that's rounding it all together. But he also did a lot of woodwork. And his true passion, I think, has always been furniture building. So he had a wood shop in the basement, so I was used to using power tools, both hands of that. So it's like Bill sets and painted like this Sounds great. And I learned that there was, like, all this research that you have to do like you read a play, and then you have to, like, do bunch of research on the time period in the buildings and the what people wore and the colors and and then, like, won't you do all that then you, like, create all these, like to scale models. And then you're You take that like a next step where you're like, sampling colors and patterns and and then you start to build this stuff, and then you have to paint it so I can learn how to do all these, like, you know, not only just build the stuff, but like I was doing like, foam warbling painting and light, you know? I mean, hold this stuff and then, like, it got to the end of the semester. And I was like, I was court. But that set like I moved on to the next day they used to set Oh, yeah, it was a performance that spring or fall. I can't. I learned as much as I could from him. And then I kind of like, moved on to the next person. You know, I had, like, my senior thesis, which took, like, my whole senior year. That was basically the only art thing that I did that here. I think I had one other, like, small. What did your senior thesis under being so my senior thesis was like, you got, like, 100 bucks for materials, and they were like, You know, you did you go anywhere for what they gave you. They gave me just 100 bucks to order what I need, right? That was like my budget. And so, like, I took, like, $95 I was like, I'm gonna Instead of putting it in one of two galleries on campus, I'm gonna put it in the hallway of the building of the galleries. And it was that handicap ramp so went down, and I was I ordered this Look, giant roll, cold press, watercolor paper. I have no clue. I did that. It just was like a thick paper that I thought would hold like whatever I would put on it. And I was just gonna do It's, like, long ongoing, um mural. Basically that I'd be Parul up. I had seen this, like video. I think it's like Ed Hardy who liked him. Is that Hardy who did this likes big piece, this ongoing euro. And it was like two rollers with a big piece of paper, so he would just think panel these dragons and then just, like roll it up, said like he would work on the next section and
then he could unruly. And then it was like this. Yeah,
like a room that wrapped around sounds like the same kind of thing. And so what happened was I had sort of working a little these like ideas and his concepts of what I was trying to say. And I realized at one point that I wanted to do in a section I want to do a recurrent pattern and again with limited funds being called Student, how do I make this happen? Okay, so I can scream pregnant, Okay, But then I have to buy screens and then I have to try like I knew how to do it cause I've worked in some screen printing shops already for some summers, So it was a medium that I was very familiar with, but I would the money aspect of it and the space. They didn't have any spot on campus to do it. They didn't teach it there. So, like I didn't have any access to screens or anything like that, I could build them. But I've always been a stickler, like, if I'm gonna do something, I try to do it the best of my capabilities. So I'll wait until I can have the money or if they had built to make something happen. So I looked. I was trying to look at other options, like how I make a stamp. Maybe I could make a giant stamp, and that's what led me to, like relief printing, like what blocks in linoleum. So with the remainder, uh, I went back to the campus and I went to my professor and I was like our it's the remainder. What I have is, like 10 bucks. I needed another 35 toe order this, like 100 years, like 50 feet of like Little William or whatever it was that I found that 6 12 inches wide and the professor was like, Let me see what I could do. Like she came back to me like a couple days and she was like, I got another 50 bucks. I don't need a student of yours, but order this linoleum And I just started late. I took this pattern and I started, like, carving you now and again. It's Muchas I touched on earlier about the idea of experimenting with different mediums and art in general. Like, you know, it was learning process. Like, you know, I didn't have to be Who's teaching you this stuff? It was literally, like every book that I could get from the library at the school that had anything to do with printmaking and what I could find online. So, you know, transferring your image. I learned a bunch different, you know, experiment with a bunch of different ways. Unlike how did they print an image out and like, do I trace it with pencil like dry rubbed on the back and trace it? That's one way of doing it. I found that you could use I learned from a friend in school that you could use wintergreen oil. You got the pharmacy. You order when every world they give you a little bottle of it, put on the clock and swap if you use it on like a toner like printer. So not your ink jet home printer, but like a copier, your If you put that on the back and then rub it, you could get the ink to go transfer on to pretty much whatever you want. So I would do that knowing blocks again. Gotta learn that you have to do it in reverse. The person that I did, everything was backwards. Yeah, part of it. And you print it and it's like you have to learn all of these asked us right here, dude, seeing how things aren't working and things are working. Yeah, that's exactly what This. Right, So So I I start learning out it basically carved this stuff in print with it, and I'm just like, I'm taking this giant paper and I'm like, ripping it down to smaller things. And I'm trying to, like, come up with all these samples and said through this process, I realized that I'm like, I'm really loving this whole printing thing I was like, instead of doing this large mural, I think I'm gonna do like a whole body of work based off these relief prints. So I created this whole body apart that I was very, um, at that point in time, influenced by obey like Shepard Fairey and just the whole, like street art and graffiti culture was still very prevalent. And this, like, I wanted to say something with my work. And this is really where I learned that there is a time and a place to say something that you feel is very meaningful. And personally, I did all this very lake heavy, heavy social commentary work at the time, I was still talking about, like gas in the Middle East. Had this, like gas tank at this old like antique gas pump that had, like, a bunch of skulls that I carved around it. And it's like I can't remember exactly what there was some texts and a lot of those pieces, but I was getting at the point where, like, were killing people for Lee. Yeah, I mean that as putting a very pleasantly was trying everything alright, still going on. But that's why Yeah, it was at the time and I was touching on Cem Cem, like, really broad strokes. I did another one that was, like a bunch of, like, game pieces, like, really simple, Just like, kind of squares with head. And they were all black and made one blue with a giant hands like finger pointing down coming out of the clouds. And it was like you're guilty of being different, right? So it was like a religious connotation of this idea of, you know, religions who constantly like, you know, they tell you that if you believe in this where you look like this So you do this like you're bad and so therefore you're guilty. And again, it's another world stroke. Right? And I loved a lot of this. Did people will see that you did. You put that so? Yes. So I put together this whole show there was you would walk down this ramp. So you were you, then the first piece because you said you were in the hallway leading up to so like, yeah, it was like the side part of the gala. Because what? That was the theater building. And it was there to galleries. And then there was this hallway where they would display art, which was like besides, like you would walk through a side door and that would be how you came in the building from the one side, and he would walk right into one of the galleries. There was a dance studio attached to that hallway, and on the other side of the wall where my art was, was the theater. So like it had a lot of traffic in that area. But by that point, it was like three weeks of school left, so it wasn't like it was a huge thing, But I did a good handful of pieces, like maybe like 12 or 13 and I mean, they were big. They were like 16 by 20 all in this watercolor paper, which it was a cold pressed watercolor papers. There was a lot of texture to it on these prints, like even with getting the paper wet, you get this saltiness to them. There's a texture, which I really liked, but in the print world is kind of like so if you wouldn't touch it. What? Carini. It's like a Granier texture paper, and it's not really. That's not what she viewed for, but I did it. But it's again. I'll touch back, back on that in a second. Uh, so I did all these pieces and they were like this very heavy commentary, and then it very end of it. I did this like two giant panels with some sharpies that had hanging from strings. And it was this idea, like, you know, sign this to commit to being the change you want to see in the world just like that. Famous. Yeah, the change you want. That's my wallpaper from my laptop. I mean, you know, it's it's a good look. It it's exactly how it should be. It's this idea of like, you know, if you see something wrong in the world that you have the power to change it, pull effort towards that lychee instead of just complaining about something. So, you know, this is a story thing you like heavy, like subject matter, and the thing that's still six with me to this day is the fact that nobody understood could understand what they were. Everybody thought I painted them, even though on the opposite wall of the show, I had, like, mounted all the original linoleum cuts to these the two boards and then had another one. That was all the rubbings from the in progress. So you saw, Like, how Egypt He's kind of progressed throughout, but people didn't put a little bit and figure out like how I made these things in carts. I must have a good feeling. I mean it wa ce But you know, I mean, it was also just like nobody had known what that medium waas Yeah, you know, But sorry I did this night. It I was very excited to have with my first art show. But also at that point was just like nobody gets it. Nobody understands this. Nobody's talking about it. I don't know why I'm doing this insulate, but must have been kind of hurt Tired? You did? Because I I mean, like, you know, you look, I was so obsessed with, like, shepherd very time work. He was doing like right around then was like made a show. I remember getting his book about this whole body of work. It was all political and social commentary and I was like people listening and and I'm gonna talk through art and I got there and I tried to do it and again, like again, probably wrong audience, wrong venue, but also what you said earlier, There's a time and a place and time and place That was definitely not the time or place for that troublesome. I've moved from that as an artist in general because it put a bad taste in my mouth. So I was like, all right, social commentary, maybe know what I need to do. But I could make people laugh and like it took me a few years to realize that that's what I like, what I was doing again. I'll go back to this idea of this experimentation, right? I I again I think you covered a lot of this idea that I bounced for medium to medium, and I bounced from kind of style to style test the waters. I learned something. I like this idea. 22 I wanna learn everything that I possibly can about making a particular medium or a style or an approach or whatever it may be, and I want to learn as much as I can about it, and then I want to break all the rules. So if you look at my work over time, you see this constant kind of flux of style. But within the past, like I would say, you know something I was always worried about. What's my style? I'm a signature style and you get so focused on that, especially now because we have social media, which, as an artist, is like this tool that everybody you need. You need to be on Instagram and you need to be posting all the time. And if you look at my instagram, I will go months without posting. Shit doesn't mean that I'm not working on things. It just I have this, like struggle where it's not work. It's not something where I'm like debating whether or not it's worthy. Deposed is more or less the idea of like why there's a There's a quote that makes me think of
that end. I hear that a lot before, he
said, a quota. A lot of artists, creatives in general, feels if they have to be on instant, they have to be on social media to promote themselves, and it's really wearing on a lot of creatives and the quote that this brings me to think of is work hard in silence and let success make the noise.
And it's not always going to be that I have something
to show you. Or you're going to see what I'm working on because I am working and it is
on my terms. It it is my
word. And when you see it, you can say something, but don't force that it has to be
there every single day. Because if you if you try to force something out for people to consume on every day you lose a bit of your authenticity and your work becomes like dry over time. Anyway, You
I would have forced myself to put things out
there each and every day just so people could consume
a little bit, I feel like I'm not being my
authentic self. Yes, I like I like that Work hard in silence and let success Yeah, no, I 100% agree with that because it's just I don't feel like I have to be showing something every day now, born a bench community. Well, and that's exactly yet, right, everybody. We're also tied to just this constant stream of content thrown at us and we're all on multiple social media platforms. So, like, you know, at best, maybe you're just on one. But most people have, like, you know, Ah, Facebook and Instagram Twitter a Snapchat. All the ships that were just constantly looking at all that you can't I remember. I remember not having a smartphone and you never touched it. You really should send a text message potentially writing an e mail. If you got to that point, you know, we're on a phone call and now light years, I can't Just because I don't post on Instagram doesn't mean that I'm not looking at every single day. And it's not like I think it says 45 minutes to an hour a day, according to my little app information. So, like I'm putting an hour's worth of looking at other people's content, and I tried to be involved in the community. So I'm commenting, and you know, there are people that, like other artists that I created dialogue with because, you know, I'm drawn to their work by inspired or there someone who's like just putting themselves out there, and they maybe need a little support that little support because that's something that, like I very much have started to realize now, especially when I do events or I'm set up to, like, bend or live pain. And now I have people that it's not like I'm talking a lot but a handful of people, um, that they come up to me and they're asking be questions. How do you do this? And what's it like you? And I'm just like I don't know. I mean, like, I am winging it constantly, like I just didn't event at the Ace Hotel last night and for Wicked P G H, which is like our collective I recently joined. I signed with them and they invited me up to go van last night at this show that Ace and I roll up. And, you know, I've been vending now since I moved to Lawrenceville. And so that was like, 2014. And so, like setting up in selling my heart, right? Yeah. And so over these past, like, you know, five years I learned a few things, right? Like, you know, not to say that I'm good, because I'm not sound like I'm making money off of that stuff because I lose money basically every time. And that's all right. I'm not I'm not really in art to make money. I mean, that is a factor. But, you know, I'm rolling in at this event last night and I like, you know, I've got my cart, which is a reach recent gift. It's this, like cart than my in laws got me when it folds up so I can just, like, throw it my cart, you unfold it on. It's like a foot deep, and it holds only £260. So I could just load everything and just, like, pull the handle and just walk away. You know, at all my big pieces, let's not to carry by hand. And that's all right. So I show up to this event last night, and there's another recent friend of mine he set up, and he's just like one of his first bedding experiences. So he's got, like, all his prints laid out, but he just got a color Perfect. She's got all of the stuff laid out, and he was like, How Manny's look great music? Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing, you know, Well, I don't like our cool knows. He was like, I gotta bring over shit. And he's like, Oh, you want some help? And I was like, I would love that because I'd like to try to do this in one trip. He's here. Okay, so it comes out to my car, like, open the hatch up. Pull the cart out. He said what? What? Like one? Zip it folded out. Just thrown on the boxes in it. What are you doing? I was like, Yeah, I got I got into this not knowing this and the, you know, after years of walking, like four blocks from a venue carrying a bunch of shit, like, six times, he gets old. So, like, I, you know, my in laws bought me this car for Christmas last year, and I've only got to use the handful of times, but this little lifesaver again, I saw one somewhere at an event, and I was like, Oh, that's great. And I said at one time and then held onto it. I bought it for me. On top of that, I had, like, I built some panels that I will clamp to a table so It gives us a height to my booth so I could hang pieces and have pieces on the table laid out. You won't always be learning and not become stagnant. And I'm not saying that you have to call a good ally prayer, take classes or like, constantly be reading or something like that. Just be aware. I think those are actually crucial. They are, but they're not all wholeheartedly necessary to constantly be learning. You can learn from your interactions with others and on a daily basis, I mean, some of the most genuine people I've ever met are the people that people would nor the most is the people who are, like extremely poor or, you know, are living lives that maybe to the general society they look at them like they're and other. They're probably the most, uh, people who have led the hardest. Lives are the most genuine and caring, and they're the first person that will offer you the shirt off their back before God that you recognize that Well, um, I would say that money and status are fictitious ideas that we put upon her cell so late. You know, I I say the I put it out there in the universe that one day, uh, I've said I'll be famous, but that's not like an idea that I really, uh, I like expressing the same way as most of the people close to me famous. It's like you look at that celebrity status, right? Like that's what famous is. And for me, uh, I just want to be known by people were carrying No May. So, like, Pittsburgh's a good community. Forget to start, you know, start in like local famous, like local fame. It would be great if I took every day that I walked on the street and someone would say, Hey, rabbit or hand Christian And that's not because I wanted everybody to know me, but I want to create. I love to meet people and have a conversation. I have a stream better anxiety about going out and seeing people and interacting. Once I'm there, it doesn't It all melts away. Yes, it's this idea of like putting myself out there to go and interact with others and then getting Marissa are getting There's a hard part. Once I'm there, it's like I talk from arriving. Yeah, no, I'm kind of the same way in some sense. But I like to have conversations and I like to learn from everybody. So, you know, whether it was professors or it's it's, you know, anybody who's look a authoritative figure, like Like I try to learn as much as I can from everyone and learned their viewpoints in their struggles. And I love to listen to other people tell their life stories because at the end of the day, the lake, nothing is ever easy. I literally have a tattooed to my wrist and we get caught up in the daily struggle off, Like how these bills or this bitch or this asshole who just say something to make you so furious and you go, Well, wait a minute. They're not They're not, asshole, They're not a bitch. They're just they're probably having a bad day. I'm the asshole for calling them that. And, you know, why am I putting my negative views on them? Because they probably have had a terrible day or they're just frustrated with something. And then you're now you feel I feel guilty because I was thinking that about, um uh oh, hey, what's wrong? You okay, Like in my head. I'm calling you like every name under the book because you just made me feel a certain kind of way. But they put you e mean, that's it. Then sit. You know, and like when you think about putting yourself in someone else's shoes and I mean genuinely put yourself out of your mind and you're okay knowing nothing about the situation in hand, but the aggression or the attitude that you just received was that because of you more Is that an outside source that maybe you could be the You know, you could be the one to be like, Hey, you all right? And sometimes they're just like, I don't wanna talk about it and you go up all right, And you just go out there having a bad day. Maybe we'll talk about it. Maybe they won't. But it said snap judgment, right where you you'll automatically think that like, you know, you have an interaction with someone, and you think, well, there there's, you know, some venom in that, and then then it upsets your day and you can let it throw you off. And then there, you know you're angry or, you know, Or if you see someone who's on the street and they're begging for change and people just ignore that person and they walk by them where they they look at them. Is there less Dan? And really, if you would sit down and maybe like, hey can buy you sandwich or a cup of coffee, you're lying. Here's a couple bucks for you. Catch the bus. You'll find it there Just struggling in life and their struggles Have you know, they made some decisions or didn't make some decisions, and they put themselves in that situation, and then you feel stuck and everybody feels stuck at certain points in their life. And we don't really let ourselves experience what everyone else is feeling because we're so caught up in our own minds. And so I'm rambling. You're good, but, um, but yet don't know. I feel, uh, that life is so much more than what we have in front of us every day. People, especially growing up you see like a life is you gotta work. You come home, you find a significant other Could we have some kids and then you get a work. You come home. Maybe have a small hobby, maybe like to fix old cars. Maybe. Like, you know, some people don't even have that. Some people go to work, come home, watch TV until they're tired and go to bed. You're living in a bubble and growing up in a very small town. I knew that there was more than that, and I knew that a lot of the opinions of the people that were in that town was because they all felt stuck. And for me, I feel like there are so many ideals that we have integrated into how we're supposed to act and live in society. And a lot of it is just the environment that you grow up in. So I go from living in New Kensington, too, living in Altuna, which is a bigger area. But it's the same mentality, and then living, going, coming back and living a new can go about living in new can in the first opportunity that I got was to move to Pittsburgh. Now I was a kid. That's praise the big city. So I always wanted to go there because that's where the people are like Pittsburgh's very small but It's big compared to my hometown, right? See, back home? There's more of like a Republican area. There's a lot of lake. It's a blue collar town that there's nothing now because all the all the mills and all the businesses that were there and the like when my dad was a kid and stuff, they were starting to pull out. So, you know, it's kind of this, like, empty shell of a town, because there's no borders opportunities. There's a lot of people who still live there. But there's kind of like a bitterness and everyone's mouth. And when you come to Pittsburgh, there's this. Their communities everywhere. You don't have just the art community, the our communities, like subdivided into a bunch of things. But everybody, like, you know, everybody and you're surrounded by people who have, you know, come to the city for one reason or another, and everybody has led these different lie like it's his melting pot of, ah, community re of people from other countries that you, you know, a town like highway lived in like you didn't have a lot of people who would we're coming from. I don't even know, like anywhere else, like, you know, the next town over again. Those air opportunities for me to learn from someone to to talk to someone. I think the closest that I really got growing up where there was one kid who moved from like Puerto Rico for a few years in elementary school. And then there was a girl who moved from, like Vietnam when I was in, um, like, later in high school. And I remember, like, both of them was asking questions about, like where you're from and those those problem my first instances with people who who didn't grow up in, like New Kensington. And now that I live in Pittsburgh, you meet people who live halfway across the world. You know me. And they look a the way that, you know, we live our lives in Pittsburgh going on, you guys do you like, you know, but I was always coming to the city growing up so I could get these little bits and pieces. You know, my father would like to bring us down to the strip district because it was like this cool place to walk around. You could get food, but But you people, I would always people watch. I'm very visual. So I'm caused it. Looking at the people's faces in the shapes of faces, people's body shapes. And it's not like I'm looking at for anything particular. I'm just I'm just looking that we address the way they carry themselves, and you find there's just like this rhythm to everything that's going on around you, especially in a place like the strip district on a Saturday morning where there's just people where you're running cross and you're just like But you're seeing all you know, these different people living in these different worlds that are all there for generally the same reason or is like a new Kensington. There, downtown area is just like blocks and blocks of empty houses were like Maybe you see five people walking down, cut to, you know, we would come to parades, and I remember my my dad and my stepmom would bring us to the pride festivals in the Pride parades. So you're getting this like, uh, this exposure to what is now the LGBT Q Community, and I'm missing a Linda. I'm sorry. I think it's a year, so you you know, I got to experience these just colorful, beautiful people who are there celebrating something that you know, one could argue goes one way or the other. Is it good? Is it bad? I think that while you were being socialized, but but But you're for me as a kid going to these these events in these places, you're realizing that the world is a bigger place and people are way more complex than you thought. And nothing revolves around you. I say I feel a lot in this interview, but that's all right. Well, you feel I feel what I feel certain way, Asai said. I realize I'm in path to a point, which is something that I thought was like a little worn out there. But now I realize that, like I and very much well emotionally have responses to things that have nothing to do with me and all I want. Like I want to help people make them feel better. And if you're sad or upset or any negative emotion around me, I immediately like I'm feeling the same way, and I want to help you emotionally. Yeah, I would definitely Sam emotionally and so with kind of being in a relationship for so long. I've been with my fiance, Morgan, for almost 10 years now. A little over 10 years and rats on. Thank you. Thank you. Uh, I proposed for six months after we start dating. So, like, we've been engaged for a long time. But, you know, we in 10 years have been through so much, and it's crazy because I recently was going through a bunch of old folk like files from my phones and just kind of like a visual representation of our relation. Jim, a little bit. I've never been the one to take all the photos she very much has. But the ones that I do have, I was just seeing kind of like I would see a photo and automatically go to blank. I remember where we were in this. And, you know, a lot of the I think what has made our relationships as strong as we both have kind of a very big heart, not just for each other, but those of us around us and that we interact with. So we very much can understand where the other one's coming from. Like you don't like. You don't think that the emotion that you're getting good or bad at that point in time. It's like, egregious or like bacon, just like oh, I get it because I'm feeling the same way with you And, uh, you know, I don't mean like, 10 years is a long time, like it's, you know, almost 1/3 of my life at this point, and I would not have it any other way. I honestly couldn't think of a better person to experience life with, and it literally was just like it was happenstance. And we met at a time where both of us were kind of in. These transitional phase is with college, and it's such young age is in 19 and 20. Lately, I still have no clue how we made it 10 years later in, like were has super happy and you know doesn't to say that everything is like, you know, rainbows and sunshine sunshine all the time like it's there's a lot of dark periods, but but you work through it and they were three together and you work through it together, and that doesn't go just for your personal relationships. But that goes for your more general relationships. your friend relationships, your work relationships. Yeah, We genuinely have to put ourselves out there a little more and let other people, you know, help not just like it just emotional carry the weight. But we're all struggling from the same things. We all struggle to pay bills of points in time. We all struggle with our ourself, whether it's mentally or emotionally or you you have a physical thing that you're just like I hate my stomach or I hate my hair. I hate like we're, you know, but But we forget that everybody else around us is going through something in the same time. If you just open yourself up to each other a little bit more and connect on a genuine level model like Facebook comment where your look,
I hope you do all right. What I haven't talked to
in 10 years what we're like, Yeah, I just started getting like my I got my 10 year reunion for high school invite on Facebook and how genuinely could not give a shit. I was just like, not us. And I think I've talked to five people that I want to hire. You go into it. No, go. No,
I think I'll go toe. No, I mean,
like, but again. For me, high school was not a good place. And I was I was only out signed because I I've always was told that point in time that I was a little older mentally, and most people I was looking at the world in a bigger idea. You have been most people. I knew that I was gonna get out of Ken. You know how I just knew that I needed to see the world and see more people in interact? You might gain some perspective than my gun. No, no, I don't need Thio. Okay? Yeah. I looked through the Facebook on the private group, and I looked at the people and gorgeously, no, I don't need to see any of you. And I mean, like, grated. Like I'm doing exactly what I said. I was in high school. I knew that by the time I was a senior in high school that, like, even though I was going to school for psych art with something that was always gonna be in my life, And by the time that had caught through that summer, I was already. Just like yeah, no, I'm gonna do this for like, for real, for real, Like I'm gonna be an artist. But it's never been about, like, getting to look. I'm not trying to like whatever solidify my name in the art books for centuries like I don't I don't expect to be the next Andy Warhol, even though we share the same birthday. And he was the first artist that I ever like really connected with. And I think that he is amazing artists, that a lot of people have a fuel certain way, and that's okay, because art is subjective and it's completely from the viewers aspect. So if you as the view are looking to something like this is trash, then you think it's trash. You don't have to tell me about it in an angry way. We could just have a conversation about it, and that's fine. But that doesn't just go for art, because for all life, I don't need to hear your negative emotion. You can express yourself, but don't rank to me for four hours about how you just you have this distaste in hatred towards whatever I don't you don't care. The negative movie that you were putting out there is more harmful than anything else. Yeah, and, uh and I think that I say that because there's been a lot of things about me and you are. All over the years, I've always been like a big fan of his work and like, I'll bring that up people's garbage. Hey, and I'm just like, yeah, but we don't have to rain about it from 45 years who is doing things that nobody else at the time was doing. Now, when you look at it, you're like, Yeah, so what? But at the time, blown or hate him, he was he was exploring, was pushing the boundaries. He was trying things that weren't necessarily something that every day viewer would look at. The soup cans are perfect thing. You took something that is basically that you saw on the shelf to store, and he just painted them. He put him in a different space for you to look at. Is that where this came from? Inspiration for this, the matter of its soup? Yeah. Yeah, that was my own homage to Andy back in the day. And that was probably that was great when I got back in the screen printing. So like to me, my work would not look so much like that anymore. But yeah, yeah, teeth. I revisit again. I still have a handful of those friends, too, because I look like a weird sized and it's just, you know, is things like that were like, I love that, and it makes sense to me. But in this world that we live in right now, like Mad Rabbit Idea is a brand. Well, if I wanted to be or not, that's essentially how I have to operate in society this point. So, like once I build a recognizable idea of Matt Rabbit, then maybe this will make sense for people come right now just a box because and people think it's cool. But who gives a shit about that rabbit like I'm just I'm just a speck and I know that and I recognize that that I'm I'm just one person who is trying to chri colorful things to bring a motion to someone. The emotion that I've been striving for as of the past few years is joy getting this silliness. I want you to look at my work and see this beautiful like a splash of color on your wall with something that I hope five with you on some you
have a bunch of I don't Would you call them all mad
rabbits? The ones that are talking, said the Man Rabbit character. Yeah, yeah, So that's something that's like,
Thank you. This is a
very recent development, and that goes back to the idea of like So I really liked graffiti as a kid, like a lot of late teens. And I had met one guy who was like a graffiti writer in Pittsburgh when he was in the Art Institute, like in the early two thousands. He's very talented guy, but he was like, well, past his painting days. But he saw that I was, like, interested in a little bit and like, gave me all these books and old sketchbooks hiss for me to like look through and stop school and at the time I really looked through them and I was trying to create them, but I had a head new skill I couldn't draw. A letter is like, and if I really wanted to keep pushing at it, I would have. But I was so eager to go out and do it in the streets but had no place to really go and do it all right. Like I had no lessons, no one to teach me or give me any tips and pointers beyond him. And he kind of was just like, Yeah, it's cool, But you shouldn't go do it in the streets because, especially in this small town, you'll just get arrested pretty quickly because it's not gonna be hard to find you. So VD has always kind of played this, like influence on my life as something that I very much respect. I have a basic understanding of how the community works. Um, I know a good handful of graffiti writers, right? No, I know a good handful extra fee writers now, and it's like being a little part of a secret club, right? Used graffiti writing. I would call them. You know, you're
right. I've never thought about that.
That's I mean, I learned that from the graffiti or all right, so, uh, these guys on gals are It's a secret world. You know what time by your name, and that's cool. And I feel like I'm part of the group, but I am not graffiti writer, but I really love the idea of graffiti. So it's something that where this rabbit character has come from is So I started working on this idea little bit last year where I wanted to create a character, a rabbit character that I could, you know, treat as if it were like a graffiti thing. So is that Is that just some clear? Is that this one? Well, no, that that my life logo that I've been using for the past, you know, like a year and change. Maybe Now I guess, uh, that was just kind of something that I came up with and really liked. And so it's just kind of filling. It's a disgrace. So, yes, it's some
things I want to talk
to you. Yeah, it's definitely something where it's again. It's this combination of things right? Suits like I wanted to create this character that I could not essentially like, build the brand off, but give me a visual representation of just like the rabbit in general, a mad rabbit. So it's it's all it's all exploration is literally how I look at everything. It's I'm not looking for a particular end result within. I just want to see where it goes. So the character itself has been in this constant development where I'm looking at it in a particular idea of like how you developed a your hand style and graffiti, right? So you're constantly just like drawing It is whatever your name is, your moniker is constantly all the time. Like that's the thing that I learned about from my friends were your feed your writers is like If you want to learn how to do graffiti, you basically just like you know, you have to draw all time, all time. You gotta draw your writing that name down on everything that you can't but you give no emotion to it. You throw it away because what's the point? Holding onto something because you know you're working something out basically right. See, you don't want to put a whole lot of emotion into this thing because you're trying to find new ways to write it. Basically, it's kind of how I look at it. So that's the idea with the rabbit character is, it's something where I'm taking this. This viewpoint of graffiti where I want, you know, only I'm not trying to claim to be a graffiti writer. I'm never going to be a graffiti writer. It's just not a world that I and trying to go and be a part of. I have mad respect for everybody who's part of it. And I will keep your secrets because it's fun to know who's writing these things on the streets and and they're some of the most genuine people. But I've met, um, and to the characters that they are good or bad. I like I love it because it's just like they see that I'm not. I'm not posing as someone who knows anything. It's just a genuine curiosity and lake and that I respect what they do in every aspect the dedication that they put into their craft and also the ability to go out and link legally or illegally do that shit. And I know the rush is gonna be great in the beginning, and probably you still get it for some of them, Um, as they dio. But so it's this idea of taking all that in doing it with this rabbit characters, so I'm I've been doing? Um, 2019 I started off with. I was like, This is the year I'm gonna do a bunch of stuff. So I was like, 2019 will be the year of the rabbit. And so I initially started off with, like, I'm gonna do 365 rabbit drawings this year And I started like, e. I just I was like, I'm gonna develop this character and seaward goes in a year and and just that just in turn will give me content to do the thing that they don't want to do, which is post more on social media. So because that's the thing is like if I want to actually make money off of this, I need to get it in front of people's faces of people faces most of the time. So for media. So it's the devil's at, you know, devil that you know. So you know, it's something where I started to try to do this. And I did real good for the first month and then hit like February and, like February, hit the flu and still like, kind of hit a speed bump and then right after February. I, like was having more health issues that I had to take care of. And then I found out that, like I had, like, extremely high blood pressure, which is that Brazil who blew pressure. But there's something about being 28 years old and tell your doctor telling you that you won't make it to 35 because you have a chance of stroke or heart attack. So time to make some changes. Eating habits, lifestyle changes on. But also just like a wave of depression. We're nothing like being told that late, you know, name of every 35 right? It's it's terrifying because you don't think about we don't often think about how fragile life is. Um, what kind of just getting up and going through our day every day? And when someone tells you something like that, it really puts in your mind of just like holy shit like I'm not gonna be here eventually. Well, it's something we think about from time to time, but I mean, I was already struggling with this. I lost a friend of mine a few years ago. No, I guess it would be two years ago. Um, he was one of the first like or is that I met in connected with actors College. I had met him through another mutual friend. I'd seen Anne Archer that he did at his gallery. My friend's gallery. And then he this dude, his name is Dani. He, uh I went down, I was ill. Tuna and I came down to get tattooed by my money. Seth, you know, I was at his shop, and at the time, don't you show was on the bottom floor. Don't. He was getting this huge back piece done before I got it. And that was the next appointment. And, uh, like, I walk in through the door and I was just like, that was the first time I had ever seen a woodcut. I didn't know it at the time. Um, and I come up and have a small interaction with this dude. We had ourselves on Facebook and, like, call it a day to you. Like a year later, I had reached out to him because he was the only person that I had known who worked and relief printing, and I'd send him some seen of that show. My senior thesis and He gave me some, like some really quality, like general critique and feedback and told me like, you know, when I come back when I moved home, we should link up and then he would help introduce me into the community a little bit in Pittsburgh. And, like I moved back, I was home for like, a year before we moved to Lawrenceville. Then when I moved in Lawrenceville, I reached out to him pretty quickly and was like, Hey, can we grow up like, you know, a beer or something? I'd like to like catch up. And Donny became like a He was kind of this mystical idea to me, like I would seem every couple of months and we'd have, like, this intense conversation and then, like, I wouldn't hear from him again, you know? And he got me really tied into, like, art all night and live painting and just like making art to make art and, like, help give me my first vending opportunities helped put me out there and, you know, we became pretty, you know, good friends to a point. It's not like we're hanging all the time, but like it was, these very sporadic, uh, interactions. But they were so meaningful to me whether he realized it or not, um, they were very like I would look forward to running into him or, like, you know, just being in the same place and like talking for an hour. He's one was intelligent dude I've ever met. And, uh, he's a little bit over me, and he passed away a couple. You're two years ago now I think you and 1/2 ago of no d and, uh, I mean, it fucked with my head still does to this day because it was one of the first times it, like I lost somebody who played such a pivotal role into my path, and they I didn't know it. I really didn't know until I put it all together after he was gone. And, uh and that was really when I realized that lake I started to really think about how, like life is this fleeting thing. We're only allotted so much time, and we spend so much time anymore, like distracting ourselves from everything on that's going on around us and you know. And here is this Dude who lake, You know, he was doing all right. He was like in recovery. But he was still having Cem Cem physical pains that he had had from an injury that lake eventually kind of like was the root of what took him back into the into the whatever you wanna call that the battle there with with substance abuse. And like, he was one of the first dudes as an adult that Blake really helped me from a genuine person. And then who's like, I got a phone call just like I was going? Shit, What the hell's gonna like? I don't like, you know, it's still like is beyond me because, like, I that can picture this dude, I can hear his laugh and and then it just it made me think that leak Do you know where he's going? Thank you. I might have to watch my parents go. What's up to my grand parents? Like simply, I have the siblings like one day we're gonna have to deal with the death of each other is because they go, so it's just like you start seeing a list. Thing is, it's like my fiance and like all her family and who become mine and and you realized it like you want a hole. I want to hold on to every moment around me. And then I want to meet other people because you know, again it goes back to that deal. It's like interacting with many people, like and and having genuine experiences with good or bad. But, you know, we we don't know when our time is up. So cherish every moment and try to live in the moment. It's the wrongness of really it is a rod is real. I mean, that's it. It's when you told me the title of the podcast is like, Yeah, we're giving people an opportunity to
listen in on a dialogue and wish they're thinking about, but they're not always talking about. But if they see that others are talking about it, they will start to talk about it in their own circles. Sure, this is true, but this brings me to my next point. We're gonna enter brace time. It's not the first time for Berries Thyme, but here we're okay. Let's go through. This is a pack of share size. I guess they don't do king size anymore. Starburst. No more kings than working, We share him. So this share size original Starburst Starburst. Please don't sue me. I'm gonna ask you some quick questions. You can take quick answers or long answers. I'll try to keep it brief. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So favorite movie favorite movie. No, all of the pink wants.
Lemon is my favorite favorite movie. Probably usual suspects. I like a lot of films, but the cinephile, but the usual suspects it's probably one of my favorites just because the way it ends like that home movie is just a been the enjoy and that it's just did such a good job of it. So you have you have a real sense of the usual suspects. All right. Favorite video game Final Fantasy. Seven Countless hours into that game, I don't even want to think about it. Okay, so final fantasy sidle fantasy seven b number one. Number two ocarina of time. Legends out your favorite tattoo that you have favorite tattoo that I have. Oh, man, that's a tough. That's a tough one. I
don't have to pick one. No,
no, no. You You have basically have meaning in one way or another, but my favorite one is the carpet diem that I have across my chest. I was just 18 and, uh, I was really, like I'd gotten one tattooed, so I wanted another one, and I went from getting something really small. So I wanted to get the words carpe diem across my chest because I basically just like, discovered it. And I drew it out in pencil and took it to have to shop. And the guy was just like, Yeah, this is great And he had, like, a few bridges when I got straight across my chest, which, like, apparently, is one of the most painful places to get tattooed, and I'm just, like, laugh my ass. But it's something that, like I look at every morning, maybe it's in the mirror, this one verse, but I know what it says. I mean, that's it. It goes back over saying it's sucking the mirror, like with seizing the dates it's is living every day, like it could be your last try to follow that method as much as I possibly can. Not always there, but like it's that constant reminder. So I would say that that is my favorite tattoo. I have found a
dime had your town's tails, heads or tails fails this time we'll get him next time. All right? And then if you were to drink soda or water,
what would you do? Six months ago? You said Sarah, not water. I drink so much water. And so what? Is rawness or reality mean to you with the rawness of reality Mean to me? I said the rawness of reality. It is taking yourself out of your own mindset and observing reality for what it really, truly is. Try to generally look at the people around you people that you interact with and just the world. Don't focus too much on big picture. And don't focus too much on the little tiny stuff either. You wanna find kind of just have a genuine outlook because reality is is something that's happening all around us. And so we need as a a whole group of humans, uh, be able to sympathize with each other. And yeah, I'm gonna leave it that just sympathize with each other, teach other situations, like, I guess if my overall our king come, you know, point is that you know hey, Kelberg care about your fellow humans that are around you. We're all different. We all have different points of view. Death dressed differently. We have different skin. Color is different. Orientations, gender and sexuality And all this moral humans will have a heart inside. We all have brains whether we use them or not. Like we all have blood that flows through us. It's all the same color air Although meat like were just meat sacks, you know, our synapses And we've got a poet. You fired a little quicker and we got opposable thumbs. So now we're here, So let's, you know, care about everybody just a little bit more. If people want to know what you're gonna be up to where they follow you, where should they hit? Best place to find me is on Instagram at Mad Underscore Rabbit underscore Lab. We
made it way made it. We did it. I enjoyed speaking with my rabbit and I hope you guys enjoyed listening. If you did, he subscribe to our channel radios five stars Leave some comments and let us know how we're doing. Our pursuits can only get better from you that want to give a big thank you to Mike Campus. Our production manager, Jack Fay, our audio engineer joke out on beats and remember, stay wrong with reality