In this episode, you have the opportunity to meet Zachary Rutter. A 24-year-old artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and general of the Spread Love Army. As a child, he began drawing by copying the covers of his favorite comic book issues. His current body of work is heavily influenced by the comic book artist Jack Kirby, as well as notable Pop Artist, Keith Haring. These artists have helped shape his understanding of the world and inspired him to create daily.
He wants each of his paintings to be viewed as a single comic panel of his own struggles, experiences, and understanding of the world.
He aims to express the individual experiences of human life in a positive way while also conveying thought-provoking ideas of what is right and wrong. This is in an attempt to ignite natural conversations and find a better understanding of himself and those around him.
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people say one person can change the world, but really like is one person that starts the train starts that movement. It starts that positivity. It starts that message like one person can change the mind of one person changes the mind to people, and then it escalates, you know?
Welcome to Episode 017 For rawness of Reality, I'm your host, Kevin Stock. And in this episode you have the opportunity to meet Zachary. Ready is a Pittsburgh based artist who is the general of the spread love art, the movement that has been sweeping the Pittsburgh streets by storm on a bus on a healthy ride. And in the hearts of other individuals in this city, you can catch Zachary writer all over the city paining collaborating with local artists. But enough from me Here, Zachary.
Well, hello, world. I'm excited to be here. Kevin has been very adamant about getting me in here, so I'm very excited to be here and talk a little bit. Have a nice conversation with your honest of reality. So
let's jump right in it. So I've been wondering what started the spread love symbol. Okay, people, people who I well I know from all walks of life. Whenever I see a mountain Pittsburgh, I see the symbol pop up everywhere. Some people don't know where it's from even and I have it on their stuff and some people do. How did this start? People love it. People love this friend love symbol. That's pretty much like hands town.
That's the best I can here that you say that people don't know what it is. It's something. I leave it very bare bones. It's just the heart. I don't put my signature. I don't put my logo or like my website like nothing about it on there. I like it to be a mystery because it's slowly becoming this thing that people were like. Either you know, or you don't know minutes become even more responsive because of that, because people are into the whole mystery behind what this heart is like. It's just keeps popping up out of nowhere, so I love it. I love it when people don't know what it is. And I love that There's people out there that I call soldiers now, like we're all soldiers in the spread love army. So they're soldiers put like pushing that message. And I want that to be itself and my art to be itself. You know, you don't want those to be two separate entities that all kind of push a positive message out.
OK, so a little bit about the spread love logo and how it started could you Could you tell us about that?
So Well, originally, I didn't have anything like that. Like when I first started doing art. I was trying to spray paint like art, seriously trying to take it and make it into a career. I was doing spray paint, stenciling and graffiti with, like, a different like image altogether. That was mysterious. It was a crow. And, uh, yeah, very different, Completely different. It was like it was like getting a negative wrap hot of the time. So people would be like,
I didn't think of positive images when you said, you
know, people like I always wanted to just be a mystery, like the whole idea will grow, like always had this, like, mysterious vibe to it. And I like that like it's like a jeepers creepers. Yes, that's it. I don't know where a crowd has always been like present in my life. So, like when I was, it just seemed right at the time to do that. But like you would have to know me personally to know what the crow meant to me. Okay? Where I wanted to try and reach of brawling of wider audience After like about a year of pushing that crow logo and going under this alter ego aside graffiti artist, I decided that it was just not right. Not legal, not something I should do. And it didn't push a positive message. So I was working with the local artists at the time as a mentor. Hey, I was like trying to re evaluate my heart and like, start fresh Kinda. And he had asked me what it was that I wanted my art too mean or say or how I wanted people to perceive it. And I'd always said, like I want something positive, something good. I want people to connect to it almost instantly, and, uh, it kind of blossomed into this heart naturally. Like, I have several images that I had done prior back in like 2015 2016 of a bare bones heart that looks nothing like it does now like almost very similar, very different. And it just it was something that I was I had picked up from an artist, Keith Haring, who's who's a famous pop artists who also spent some time in Pittsburgh in the early eighties as well He's on. He used to work with Andy Warhol in, Like John Michell Boston on people like that. He has a heart of painting that has two figures in the foreground. There, dancing. When I saw that it immediately radiated positivity, you could see that this love was in the air like the figures, although they were abstracted, had like a very obvious, positive message to them. And that kind of inspired the heart that I have today and
who's been kind of like a figure or a motivating factor and the way you perceive the spread love movement who helped kind of like set that, uh, that ground work in your life. I'm not well, because what it is is your messages about spreading positivity. And it's about good vibes. Eso tohave some a mindset like that, you would have had to have been influenced. Maybe it wasn't a person. Maybe it was multiple people. But what would you say? Those biggest influences?
Well, my mother's biggest one for sure. Like, uh, she always goes around, Does this thing? I mean, it's not her thing, but she does the random act of kindness. So it's something that's been very popular. I know Starbucks at a story where, like for like, months, it was this ongoing thing where every time someone would get in line, they would buy the person behind. There's coffee men, it would just pay it forward, and that next person would buy the person behind them. And it happened for a long time. Remember how
long I've heard of people telling?
Yeah, So, like, my mother has been doing those random act of kindness things my entire life. So, like, it's just there's always this idea that, like one small thing, can make someone's whole day, and that was the biggest thing that happened. But I had worked with like that local artist is his name is Baron Batch. I worked with him for a little bit, and he was the one that had asked me what I wanted my own work to me, so he kind of pushed me into wanting to focus onto that positive love message, but not necessarily help with the heart or the design like that. It kind of just threw me in the right direction. Yeah, like just little moments of meeting people And like that one little subtle smile you could put on someone's face from having a nice conversation or meeting someone are complimenting Somebody is really something that I want my art, like in Bella.
Yeah. And the symbol to spread heart symbol does radiate and it even like because you have, like, the notches on the side. It's like it's radiating like a son. Yeah. Yeah, that's that's what it makes me think of. And speaking of sun, we have this painting. Here s So did you paint this while you're at the beach? No, no, no. This one. This one's a
little bit older. I had this. I painted this on the streets of Pittsburgh with Louis Castle. Okay, A rawness of reality veteran, you think but way were doing some street performing or busking is what they call it where he would carry his acoustic guitar. And I had a little easel that folded up and do it like a backpack strapped to my back with the canvas on it. And we were walking from, like, Squirrel Hill to downtown the North Shore, just setting up painting.
So this one painting took, like, a whole day, then Oh, yeah, And through how many different locations did you say?
I would say that day. We did it for a while in a bunch of different days and didn't replace. Is this bay probably three or four different spots? Hey, has a few. He busts all the time, so he has his spots where he likes to go. I just follow his lead because he's a professional with that type of stuff. But this painting actually was originally to other paintings. So, like I typically like my artwork, has its own life. And like my ultimately, I want the artwork to go to someone's home and been brighten their day and stuff like that. So, like if I have a painting that's not getting enough attention of people aren't interested in it, I want to re evaluate and reassess what that ISS. So this one was originally a little girl picking a flower, and then I ultimately painted over that and put a small boy. I called it like a punk rock kid, and he had liberty spikes and a little tear coming down his face. I actually left the face of the boy and see the thing. It's the only part of that piece that still exists. So everything around it is comic books that I collaged. And then on top of that, I had done the sunset over the ocean. You kind of symbolize that no matter how bad of a day you have, there's always a brighter tomorrow. And all the images in the background, such as the boy crying and calling books, are all negative or sad in some way. And there's this positive, colorful image on the foreground.
Yeah, wow, that's that's powerful. Okay, that's called Sunrise 600. And, uh, could you talk, uh, door listeners and let him know a little bit about where the comic books come into play. And if the comic books and the paintings are always go inside my side in, like coincide
Okay, well, I mean, comic books for me is how I even started doing are ever in my life. I got my first column book when I was seven years old, and since then it's been drawing non stop, like I got the first comic I got with Spider Man. Like not even a few minutes after that, I was already trying to draw the cover of it. And since then I've been collecting column books avidly and drawing every day since I was seven years old, and it kind of blossomed my spark for, like, the interest in art and what the column books isn't my painting didn't really happen to call it like I didn't do my first painting until my senior year of College of high School and then in colleges when I started really taking painting more seriously and, uh, I had done this trip toa London, a spring break trip through school. And then I made it my mission to take art work with me and leave it there like a scavenger hunt like a like a citywide tourist scavenger hunt type of thing. And I have given myself one month to try and paint 35 paintings. The complex in the art started as a procrastination thing where I knocked. I did not give myself enough time to do 35 paintings. So I was painting every day before any comp books were even involved. And there was just areas on all 35 of them that we're not finished by the time for the trip. So I'm like grabbing glue and looking for stuff to just slap on there. And the comic books started as these random spots to fill in space. And, yeah, that's where the connection came to me that, like those images, are still going to relate to people. And it's still going to have that effect and those that those 35 paintings are very different than what I'm doing now. So that kind of procrastination Boston into this whole idea where I'm putting the column books underneath to depict negative negativity on the background in the foreground, up with something positive or beautiful or colorful or sexy. I mean sexy. I'm constantly trying t o put something like It's like life yin and yang like good and bad, right? Wrong moment hates so like the background is that hate. The foreground is so
so the comic books. You strategically pick out which comics go behind.
I look for scenes that people can relate to I don't look for Spider Man and Superman. I looked for like, traffic or women crying, or police officers or people with guns or fist fighting. I look for things like that that we've all felt and been uncomfortable around, and I try and paint something above that.
They seem to be the issues that we have, the hardest I'm talking about, that's
what I want my heart to be is the conversation like I want each piece to blossom into some type of conversation between people that don't even know each other. Like when I'm setting up a festivals or music shows or things like that. That's the first thing people come up and say is, Oh, I dig the comic books and I'm like, Well, read into them. Tell me what you think of those who tell me how those make you feel, or do they remind you of anything from your own life? And that's when I'm now having a very casual, very honest conversation with somebody about their life, like I've had people tell me that, like this made me think of my father. This made me think of this or that, and it just it starts that conversation.
How does that make you feel? Is an individual? When somebody comes up and they're like, extremely impacted by your artwork,
I makes it. That's what I like. That's what I'm doing. I had people come up to my artwork and cry in college. I did this piece called The epitome of Loneliness. I'll have to send it to you. Maybe we could put it up on
your way. It was
a picture of it. So I did this whole series in college, which all my hard work in college is completely separate from what I'm doing now. I tried to diverse the two, and I was doing these things. I like to call it like sculptural pieces like sculptural paintings. And then I was building platforms and combining them altogether different levels to put like what was important in the foreground and what was the least important. Or tell a story in a different way like that. And this painting had ah, man that was sitting with his head on his hands and a phone that had a blank screen on it, and the next to it was like a whole thing of beer bottles and underneath. It was a drowning man and a body of water, and I call it the epitome of loneliness. Was trying to explain that the feeling of not having anyone and woman saw that when I was in college and immediately started crying it, she said it reminded her of her father, and that was what, like that whole thing that had happened and seeing that really, really like just it made me want to do more paintings like that, more emotionally driven paintings and things that could make you have that type of feeling and your gotten in your heart it sze powerful. So I have about 5 to 10 different sketchbooks that I always constantly
picture. Then go back and go
through them. Yeah, okay, I have ideas all the time. Like it's not until I'm at that event or when I'm painting that I really I think about what I want to put on there and like what? The comic books I never think about the convicts at all, like I have a pile of them that I like. I'm constantly just ripping and stacking them and just keeping those piles separate and then gluing them spontaneously randomly like nothing has ever planned with the convicts in the background. Other than having that pilot, just
get it from you.
So that is like a nice little surprise at the end. So I'll have the convicts on there. I'll paint something that I'm feeling in that moment, like typically at events like I wait until I find someone that makes me think of something or object that's local. That makes me want to do something along those lines. And after that's said and done, and the painting is finished is when I go back in and look at all the comic book. Sounds like a little surprise for myself as well. Yeah, as well as the viewers that are looking at it.
That's cool. Could you talk about what it's like having your symbol all over Pittsburgh? Port Authority Bus? It's crazy. You know
something I never thought was ever gonna happen. Honestly, like
you start, you started with a car. I can remember It wasn't a Beemer.
Yeah, a BMW wagon, A 95 Wah
Kin's 95 wagon. And then it was a bus after that.
Yeah, well, I mean, there's a lot that went between So the wagon I painted in 2017 and then never thought anything about cars ever again never wanted to paint on vehicles are like, I mean, I would obviously ultimately, always want paint on one, but like it never crossed my mind that I could do something like that again. Yeah, and it was the Three Rivers Arts Festival in 2018. So now, a year after painting the car almost to the day I painted the car in August, I think they're Three Rivers festivals in the mid July. So I painted a canvas of a bus of a local Port Authority bus and had painted the spread love heart all over that canvas.
Was it Was it on a bridge?
Yeah, was going across the Smithfield Street Bridge. It was another thing where I had done that for the Three Rivers Arts Festival. So I was set up on Liberty Avenue, and I kind of had passed the Smithfield Street Bridge earlier than then. It was fresh in my mind, and as I'm standing there setting up my likes my table in all my artwork, a big bus want drives right past, and I'm like, Oh, that's cool. I really wanted to do the bridge. Why not do the bus going across the bridge and never thinking Hey, let's make that a real bus, you know, it was just like that would be a cool image to paint for everyone in Pittsburgh. I'm on Liberty Avenue. People are walking to the bus stop one. I'm like one restaurant away from the bus stop for People's Daily You. I was like, though little enjoy seeing a pretty color are pretty colorful image of what they're dealing with every day, and, uh, had finished that in one day. I mean, that was maybe a five hour painting I've done throughout the duration of the day and sat on it, just left it in my studio, didn't really posted or promoted or have it in any shows, anything like that and fast forward talk like mid October of 2018. There's a lot of sad things that were happening in the city, such as like the passing of Mac Miller, who's a huge icon in my life, like I love his music, and I've grown up listening to him and the tree of life shooting that terrible situation. So I kind of had the idea to maybe to put it on Twitter and tweet at Port Authority, the painting just to tag them and see if they can put that painting further. I just said like it would be cool if the city could have some positive, like imagery driving around the city, thinking that they just comment like cool pick. Thanks. Like the idea. Instead, the CEO direct messaged me and said she loved the idea. Let's make this a real bus. And through a lot of flight trial and design and paperwork, we finally got the bus up this May, I believe maybe late April 2090.
Yeah, yeah, And how long will it be driving
around? They said initially, at least through the summer. But I haven't been given a deadline. It could. In my mind, I hope it goes for the rest of time. I will always around.
I mean, the idea you had is extremely admirable and to to be cognizant of the feeling off everyone in Pittsburgh just just as individuals as people going through their day, knowing that there were horrific events that were affecting them internally giving, giving them an opportunity to have hope. And, uh, this this spread love symbol is like love, you know, so giving that opportunity to people to really experience that is like it's extremely admirable. So, like, Thank thank you. Yeah, that's awesome.
I'm just a messenger trying to push something that should be obvious, you know, in my mind, like it always came office silly and cheesy. When I first started doing it to most people, it still kind of does. But like that's what people relate to the most something that's the simplest to understand. And that's what really made me want to do that. I mean, even getting back to like like Mister Rogersneighborhood he always talked about like, Won't you be my neighbor or, like, just walk around with love in your heart? And that was something that I was like That's so obvious, Like Mr Rogers, this is why we not like being neighborly
and and you kind of hit on why people don't. Maybe because it it does seem coining your cheesy and we need to remember like maybe it does seem that way. But being authentic isn't corny, you know, being cheesy and like being like fun is, isn't a bad thing? No, I mean we need that. We need that positive influence. A
lot of people. Positivity is hard. It's difficult. It's much easier to be angry or upset or miserable or bidder. Yeah, I like the challenge people to try and be positive, you know, when you start to think positive into in word that comes out word and people start to connect and relate to that as well. So that's why I mean, even in my bad days or what I mean, I definitely get angry and I get mad and I get sad, but I try and force that out with positivity. At least when I am upset, I think of the positives that could come of them. And typically there always are a positive thio, every negative. Yeah, and I think that that's something that people need to start appreciating and thinking about. More like one thing that happened to me in college. I mean, it was a terrible example of, like how to get out of class and stuff. Someone who came up to me and said, Hey, we should go swimming at Rock falls up in Slippery Rock, a graduate from slippery Rock University. And I was like, Oh, man, I have a class in, like, 1/2 an hour And it was like it was like a general add class, like like meteorology or something. And I was like, Ah, man, I can't skip class. And they looked at me and said, Is that meteorology class gonna matter in five years? And I was like, You know, you're right. Let's go swimming at Rock Falls. But then that like that will this matter in x amount of time has really stood out in my mind. Like if I get upset, I think, man, am I gonna be upset about this in 1/2 an hour? Typically, not that Za Goodman. Yeah. Uh, if I wake up tomorrow and it's still on my mind, then I'll worry about it. You know, it's never on my mind.
The next thing you know, they're just in general, anything that happens, you have to take a step back sometimes and really, really value, reevaluate. Your stance in the situation is crucial to us that individual. So I I used to have terrible anger problems. I'm talking about like I was the angriest person I knew Yeah, and I would just pop off with a swing like Oh, no, yeah, yeah. I don't get
that from you at all anymore. Oh,
yeah, I was dealing with Milon issues back home in and out of foster homes and different group homes and things like that. And, uh, I I wanted to take the anger I had of my passed out on the people around me just so they could they could feel it. And then as I grew and people started mentoring me and people started guiding me in a better direction, I realized that I can use this this negativity in my past to showcase why we should be positive. You know why? Why we should be better people so that we don't re create stories like I could tell you know what I mean? So that so that we can create better circumstances for the people of the next generation. That's and, uh, I think it's crucial Thio really take that step back and really think is this kind of matter like that's That's a perfect way to look at it. Yeah,
definitely. I mean, like, you were saying you had negative things have happened to you in life and like that more who you are today. So, like, I mean, we've all had moments of negativity where we thought it was never gonna get better than this, you know? And that's what, uh, it's happened to me as well. Like, I've dealt with family issues like Thanksgiving at my house. You stand in fistfights every year, so yeah, I mean, I have a huge family, so it sze no surprise, but that kind of I saw the outcome of that. You know? You know what ends up happening when people fight? People stop talking. Things break up like no good comes of it. Nothing seeing that experiencing that is really another thing that helped me see, like, maybe it's not the best answer, you know. And that's helped me.
Yeah. I think we really need to pay attention to our past to help see where we're gonna go our future. We can't ignore what happened, but we can't. We can't hold on to it so strongly that it dictates our future. But we have to. We have to recognize it for what it was so that we're strong. We're going forward. And, uh, if it's if it's not for those those opportunities to be in a negative circumstances, we wouldn't be who we are today. So
I'm like, I don't want it. Sounds like we're making it seem very easy. It's not really not an easy thing to like. Like, this is this has been a whole lifetime for you, and I'm sure you have to focus with these issues that we have internally.
And still I see myself getting worked up about different things. But having this this mentality, having this mindset of things, things turn around. Yeah, and you can have a good attitude, even in the darkest of days. Yeah, and things do get. So So you're right. It's not easy at all by any means.
It's a life lesson. It's a lifelong lesson. I guess I should say like you're no one's ever gonna be able to tell you this. You're gonna one day the switch is gonna flip. Yeah, they're gonna be like, Wow, everyone has been saying this. I'm finally feeling this, you know, like that's what happened to me.
I remember once I I gotta fight. And this after years of fighting and I hit someone and I broke my pinkie on their face. So no. And right away this arm was already in a sling from football practice. So when I hit him, I had to like I had lack of two arms, and he then wailed on me constantly. I got suspended from high school for 10 days. I thought to myself I had to get surgery on my pinky. You can see it's pretty messed up. Yeah, Yeah, it was like this. So I I remember this happening and I remember the surgery cost about $1100 So I thought to myself, Well, fighting's costing me more money than it's making me. And I'm not a boxer, not a professional fire. I should probably stop doing. Yeah, And that was, like, the last fight I ever got it. 11. Great. Uh, but but it was really It was really powerful toe like be able to look at that situation turning around, you know, and see why, Like, things don't need to be that
sometimes you hit rock bottom, and that's when it happened, you know? I mean, some people were fortunate enough to catch it before you get there. But most of the time you need to get there and you need to experience that, That lowest of the low, to be able to pick yourself up and start getting higher, you know? And that it happens. Everybody. I mean, I've had situations with my artwork specifically, Like where I thought this was the thing. You know, I was like, Oh, man, You know, even I think I was 19 when I painted that BMW, And I remember just being like, Oh, this is it like, Oh, this is gonna put me there. I'm gonna be where I want to be. And when it didn't happen, I was like, Bomber, No, well, back to the drawing board. You know, like even the negativity don't look. It is a failure or the end. You know, there's always a new beginning and a new thing to strive towards. Like I mean, there's so many cheesy quotes that you could, like, say about it. But like those cheesy quotes, it gets back to this friend love heart being a cheesy, silly, obvious thing. It's like it's so obvious things that you really need to focus. And
there's a good Mahatma Gandhi quote. It's be the change you want to see in the world? Yeah, and I just think that's like an amazing
I love that I love because like, people say, one person can't change the world. But really, like is one person that starts the train, you know, starts that movement. It starts that positivity. It starts that message like one person can change the mind of one person changes the mind to people, and then it escalates. You know,
I've always, I've always said, And then I see people resignation this with this pretty well. If I could influence one person in an auditorium for a speech, well, then I've done my job, just one person. And it may sound like this, like, great, like thing to say, but I genuinely mean it. And I believe you do to a cz. You as people approach our people approach you, you're you're affecting them, one person at a time. That's all you got. It's it's paying for.
Even even yesterday I was at I was live painting at the Vine Rewind Music Festival they had down on Penn Avenue, and this girl that was in college was coming up in just looking at artwork and talking about wanting to get something for a dorm room, and she didn't even. I mean, she didn't even end up getting anything. But I stood there and I talked to her about the heart, and I always get free stickers away. I'm sure a lot of people know by now, like if you come up to me, you could get a free sticker
on one of my film because what I do with
every time I see you, I give you one. But I gave her a sticker and I told her all about it, and I watched her run up to her parents and immediately explain that whole sticker and everything I just said to those two people. So I watched it work. I watched the message gets spread, and it was just such a powerful thing, and ultimately her parents came back and ended up buying some merchandise. Like, just like I had a tank tops and stuff. They ended up really appreciating what their daughter had picked up from that moment that they wanted to come and support me. And it's really that talking. It's the whole conversation thing that I keep saying about the artwork It's like I had a conversation with one person that felt so moved that they would have had a conversation with two people and and they paid it forward. That came back, you know, like it's just it's really just a matter of instead of fighting talking, you know, really, Cavanaugh's and dial. Yeah, seriously, Legree People are too quick to get upset. That's what this whole anger is easy like. Love is hard, and that's what that's what kind of motivates me, you know, like people like a challenge I like. I love a challenge. So seeing something that seems impossible fighting a losing battle against the the means of hate. I guess whatever that I'm fighting is, ah, it's a challenge that I want to overcome and ultimately and you know, yeah, which is you. I mean, I think, Oh, hey, to always be a presence. But we could always have more love.
Yeah, in the end, if what you said is true if hate is easier than love, but love is achievable and takes work. If more people work at loving well, then it'll be easier to extinguish the hate definitely because because it's such a stronger thing toe work towards. So those things in which are harder to attain are inevitably going to cast a shadow on the things that are easier. Eso something would love and hate if more people are showcasing love than hate isn't going to feel much love. Definitely, I
hate doesn't feel any love. That's like that might be my next week. The message like that I'm trying to promote, like the obviousness of the love verse hate thing like I want people to be able to take that and use that same mentality in their own ways. Like like like the hate in your life could be anything like if, like, you feel like you're overweight and you need to lose some weight like the hate in your life, then is eating and not exercising. And the love that you need to find is the motivation toe. Eat well and exercise daily and do what you need to do, and that that's just one example of the way that I want this message to be changed in personalized to each individual. You know, like it's an obvious thing, and I want it to be something that people can relate to and pick up
on. Yeah. So that leads me to my next question, then friendship studio sessions.
Okay. Yeah. Well, Studio, friendship, friendship sessions,
Studio Friendship, Friendship A mouthful. Hey, I always always, like jumbling around your friendship Friendship session here is you and Benton. You guys started that YouTube channel.
There was S O. It's bent in Palermo. Pat Hogan myself. Louis Castle and Louis Goldwater were all the original founders. We were the ones involved from the very beginning. And since then, it's kind of blossomed out, too, just like me and Benton and Patmore than Lewin Goldwater. But they're focusing on their own paths and dealing with their own thing. So it started as a way to meet new people that are doing
something You talk a little bit like, just as if I'm a novice on I have no idea what this is. Could you give us a brief description of it?
So studio friendship is my working living studio space. It's in friendship p A on Friendship Avenue. So when I came up with the name it was, it was actually originally a different Pat. Pat Hera and Louis Castle and I were all hanging out when I first moved into the studio back in November of 2018 and we're sitting there. Louis had his guitar like he always does, and Pat is a musician that had his guitar as well, and, uh, we were just jamming to them playing. And I have a commission that I was working on at the time, and I was like, Man, I'm feeling so good. I kind of wanted, like pain a little bit like I'm gonna paint what you guys play. And then after several hours of drinking and doing that, we were like, Man, this would be cool to do all the time like, let's see this. Let's see what we could turn this into. That kind of blossomed into the French obsessions just from that natural organic moment of us. Collaborating Way didn't know we were collaborating at the time, you know, they were doing what they love. I was doing a love. Then it ended up being that thing, and we were all talking about what this place should be called like. I mean, it's it's a glorified adult dorm room kind. It's a big, open studio space with high ceilings and my bedroom is right. It's all one room. My bed is next to my easel next to my living next to my dining room. And, uh, we were thinking names and friendship. IAI stood out, Friendship Avenue stood out, and we're like It's just so obvious. Everything I do, I try and keep this simple as possible. Like, let's call it studio friendship. We're trying to collaborate and make new friends friendship sessions. It all just kind of fit so well, like a puzzle. And we were like, It's just it's just needs
And now you're Ah, you're filming for season two.
Yeah, yeah. So season one we started. Ah, January 2nd I had I had a crazy New Year's Eve party at my studio. January 1st, obviously. And then the very next day, I think I think New Year's was on a Tuesday this year that Wednesday was the very first French obsession with Louis Castle, and we've been doing it, uh, just about everyone's days. Up until then, we have 12 episodes of Season one, which is 24 songs. So the way that the French obsessions work is, ah, new musician from Pittsburgh, like we're trying to keep it very Pittsburgh more oriented, comes in and does two songs. One song is that one of the originals that they wrote themselves, and the second song is a cover song of their choice,
and they just do it. One take
no, no, We are. It's a day of filming way, typically do three takes of both songs and then either picked the best one. Benton is a fantastic videographer, so he often times likes doing one takes where it's just he goes through and does his thing and make you look beautiful, of course. And so, oftentimes choose the one takes, but he'll do three takes no matter what. And sometimes musicians have been like, I really don't like this or that and we'll be like, Let's do a couple more takes. Let's get it to you. You guys feel comfortable, too, and we channel that all down, and I'm live painting while this is happening. So what we call it is like a mix of like a Bob Ross joy of painting meets NPR's tiny desk or MTV unplugs these two worlds of art. Both things are very art and creative, coming together in a beautiful way to make friends like the Friendship session collaboration. That's what it's all about and even ties in a little bit with the spread love Army and meeting new people and working with people in talking to new people. And it's kind of it's it's ground. So Season one has 12 different artists or 12 different musicians, and I've done 12 different paintings for that season. Two. We're shooting for early September to release, and we already have. The 1st 3 films were shooting the next two coming up next to Will have ah, Walkman. There's a local rapper Inland Star. We're doing two in one day for the first time, so that would be a a lot.
So that means you have to paint two separate paint in one
day. Yeah, yeah, So I'm going to do and we're even gonna look so every time. Uh, since this isn't my studio space, most times I have artwork. Lined is the backdrop, and every video has different artwork. Oftentimes the painting from the one before
that's what I was just gonna Yeah, because you invited me to mean a couple friends studio session. You guys did, and I noticed this is for the 3rd 1 right after Mars. Jackson's it'll be back alley sound. Yeah, Yeah. And, uh, I remember being there, and I saw the 1st 2 paintings that you did for the 1st 2 of the second season and I was like, This is really cool. How how you guys put them in there. And then you see what it's like Episode 12 like you have 12 different. It's like, Wow, this is like, really cool that you keep up that consistency. Definitely. So sometimes
I don't finish the painting by the end, so having it in the next video shows the finish processing the broad. That's I like that as well. It's a callback to the
ones before. Will you finish the two? Did you gentlemen boxing? Yeah, it was like the
first time in a while that I like. So, like I said out the back alleys, I think was gonna be our 15th or 16th session, and that's 16 paintings I've done. I would say about half of them get finished by the end, and that was one that's been a while since I think it's about that.
So then it's it's a goal for you. Then by the next. Yeah, the filming of the next one that you'd liketo have that so you can put it in there?
Definitely. And it keeps me focused and keeps me busy. So I'm constantly thinking of new ideas. Like, I don't even know what to do for two paintings in one day coming up. It's gonna I try and strategically placed them tow vit. The vibe of the musicians coming through. So I try to keep with you.
Would you Would you have those paintings relate to each other in any way? Maybe
I have have in the past. So in season one, specifically, the very first painting was a series of work that I do call it the battle of love and hate. And it had what was symbolized by an angel is love with a sword and hate as death. You know, this girl with the city site or whatever fighting each other with a heart in the center. And I had been a call back to that painting on a session number nine with the summer camp where I had done Cupid shooting. Ah, Bo Adams at this figure of death. So I did a call back to an earlier piece by doing this. The next part of that Siri's. Yeah, and I've done that a few times. Like, um, typically, I paint like seductive looking women. So I'll do women that are similar to each other or do a series of paintings of boats in outer space. I call them spaceships. So I think I have a spaceship in this season. A spaceship in the season before as well,
we're ready for first time. This isn't the first time for first time, by the way, a pack of star brace here love it. What we're gonna do is we're gonna share the Starbase. I'm gonna ask you some quick questions. Hopefully you into them fast. I try to put timers on. Nobody really sticks the timers. I don't stick to the timers. So we're just gonna eat these and I'm gonna ask you questions. Please pick your favorite flavor.
All my favorites let me all the Starbucks or my favorite. But I have a special place in my heart for the yellow
in it all the way. Okay. You don't have these things. No, but but you know, if you did, one of you finished the king size my guests like, um, okay, it's funny that you do this because when I was in high school, Starburst were like my known like snack. Really? Yeah. My 16th
birthday party. I think I had, I want to say, 16 Starburst packs given to Mia's presence from friends like they would give me a specific present and then every one of them had a starburst packed with.
Okay, it was my calling. Yeah, I don't know why I pick service. I just liked the name very son. Yeah, and it runs on the 1st 1st time. Yeah, and here we are. Eso So who's your favorite painter?
Who's my favorite painter? We'll definitely keep hearing, as I mentioned before was one that's inspired me like the most with my artwork. But I have a special place in my heart for all of our history, specifically calling back to Caravaggio. Like Michelangelo, Caravaggio was a painter in the Baroque period, and he had done these images of extreme lights and darks like high contrast of like a bright figure glowing in the dark background, much similarly to the pain. And you have here like I love that he started with a black surface and has that stuff peeking through. I had done a series of work trying to embellish that, like it's called a Cheer Roscuro, where it's like a painting of light and dark. And I tried to do that without any column books. In the past, I've had all black background similar to that, and I just tried to paint something just popping and brightly explaining and exploding in your face. Care of AJ is one that's always inspired me. Picasso. I mean art way art wise. I love Caravaggio's work. It's very hyper realistic, very intense and very glory None. But I looked the other artists for, like, business inspirations or motives, to make help push myself further
with because, um, I
wasn't learning about his paintings in what year they were made. I was learning about what he was doing when he was 18. How did he get to be where he was when he was 25? What is he doing when he's 30 and 40? And I did that with Warhol as well? Like Andy Warhol is a hometown legend, obviously one of the biggest artist in the world of all time, and, uh, I don't I don't necessarily enjoy his artwork. But the way that he made his artwork known something that was always very exciting to me. And I learned about all these different artists from all different areas. Salvador Dali's another one. I mean, all these grates that people recognize and still talk about to this day are the ones that I want to learn about
you and s. So what would be your ideal book to read on the beach?
Mmm. I have a special place in my heart for Fountainhead by a Moran. It's ah, it's a good a good fictional telling of thinking outside the box like I can't remember the main character's name, but he he was similar toe like the Frank Lloyd Wright. It's a book about architects in the early 19 hundreds tryingto make careers for themselves. So there's one person. I think his name is Peter Keaton, who stuck to the straight and narrow. He did everything the way all the architects did, and he grew to success so much quicker than the think his name was Henry. And who is this person that wanted to be one with nature and thought of these different ideas and ways to more architecture in nature together and was laughed at and ridiculed but at the end ultimately rises and succeeds. And that's what I look. I love the underdog stories I love that I typically that's like one of the only books that read that aren't based on real life. And, uh, that was one that really, really help motivate me and think about my way of understandings of life, other ones I like. I like biographies like I like philosophy, like books on business and like things like that. So
do you an avid reader? Not so
much this year. I've just been way too busy recently. But like in college, I was reading a lot. I was trying to do at least a book, a book or two every every month or so.
Yeah, what is one obscure thing that you never leave home without? It's
not obscure, but I mean, I always have my sketchbook, like I said, constantly sketching and drawing. So like there's a new book, but I still have tons and tons of images in there. That's cool. That's one thing I
never I never leave without a book like one of those, but I don't sketch very well. Yeah, I read my ideas. Poetry, thoughts.
Well, a sketchbook is not meant to be this perfect thing. Like, that's what I think a lot of artists don't understand. It's like every drawing isn't meant to be a masterpiece. Like my sketchbook in my back pocket. I want to beat the hell out of it. You know, I want to dirty that thing up. I want to put my thoughts down, scribbled, jotted, and
they love working back on that. Oh, I do. Yeah, I love
it. I have ah, call it like I call it my sketchbook graveyard. But right next to my easel, I have pretty much every sketch book I've ever had ruined right there. Yeah. I mean, from probably about 2014. I don't think I have anything from high school. So when I started college is when I started sketching who avidly like when I was in college. I was doing five a day at least. And I have all these books just stopped, like, piled up on top of each other in the sketchbook graveyard. And I always call back to them. I love looking back at older stuff, even like the heart I had sat on that for a while. Like I had done an image of two birds on a wire kissing with a little generic heart that looks similar to that and maybe, like 2015. And about a year later, after doing that is when I finally made a painting of it, and that's when I refined it. And it ultimately grew from that something looking back and things the end. But in my growth as an artist has really helped make me who I am today.
Okay, so I want youto try to visualize this. You're welcome to close your eyes or not. That's up to you. So you're you're in a boat and you're out at sea. You were on a ship with ship. Sank a boat alone. I don't see what are three items that you wish you could have grabbed right before you got on that boat.
I mean, is like a pen and paper. One item, or is that two items?
You know, that could be one. Because, like I
know is, I mean, if I don't have, like, I always have a Sharpie in my back for a sketch book with me as well. So definitely the sketchbooks music, any type of anything I could make music with if it's an instrument that I'm gonna spend on a boat learning. I tried to learn instruments in the past, but definitely some form of music. Ultimately, I'd love it to be an iPod, but the batteries would die.
Yeah, maybe get a Zune. Those things. Third item that I don't
know. I mean, those two things really get me through. I don't know. I guess if I'm thinking survival, something to start like you can't start a fire fishing around, I'll take a fishing.
That's good. That's good. Yeah. You barnacles on the side of the boat and then fish boom money, huh? And so, what does rawness of reality mean to you?
Rawness of reality. I think I think reality is shifted in society. I think that we all have these preconceived ideas of what reality is. And I think having the wrong to show through is the truth and the honesty. So when I thought of rawness of reality, I thought of not hiding behind the facade and being true and honest and that's what it kind of means to me.
Yeah, all right, that's what that's That's really all I have free today. Do you have anything coming up in your life that you'd like to tell the listeners were that they could be a part of?
Definitely. Um so definitely try and be involved in the spread. Love Arming. It's a simple list, spreading the message to your closest friend and love one. Um, I have an event. I don't know if this will be released by the time, but August 24th I'm having the first spread love Army benefit fund raiser. We're calling it the Versus Siri's. So what we're doing is we're pinning six bands, one on one, so three different our long sets and they're going to battle each other right in between a crowd, so there'll be two stages crowd in the centre. They'll do two songs. Maybe should talk a little bit. Other vandal play two songs, maybe should talk a little bit. And maybe this little ongoing battle for an hour, three different sets and the way that the winner is selected is through crowd donations, so every musician will have a bucket with their name on it and the crowd donates to the bucket. And at the end of the night, we count up who has the most money in their bucket. They are ultimately declared the winner, which they only received bragging rights. All the money is going to be donated to the Ronald McDonald Foundation of Pittsburgh, which I have reached out to. I have gotten approval for their involvement, and they have. They seem very excited. They're gonna promote as well. But August 24th it's at the Thompson Club in West Mifflin, which is my hometown. I'm from West Mifflin, and, uh, we're trying to make it a big event. We're going four life painters, six bands, multiple baskets to raffle off a swell, and it's free. But we're asking for $5 suggested donations at the door. Louis Castle, who's a veteran for the rawness of reality, will be performing. God hates unicorns will be performing Sikes in the new violence. The moat. Rats. Uh uh, Socks. Um, A Renda is another one, and it's gonna be a good time. Siren Reed is another artist. I'm trying to get everyone's name there. Painter wise. We have Steve Pearce, who's, Ah, legend in the city. Nikki Bacon, Brendan Donovan and myself will be painting, and we're trying to just raise as much money as we can, and I want this to be a regular re occurring thing. So August 24th Spread Love Army Benefit Fund raiser. It's called The versus Siri's, and I'd like to see everybody come out. Other than that, I'm painting every weekend. I typically have 2 to 3 live painting events all across the city. You could find those on Instagram at Zachary Rudder are on Twitter. Zach Rotor, our Facebook Zachary writer Art. It's very simple. I mean, even go to my website. You can find the links to everything and check out studio friendship season to Cummings in.
And also, um, if you guys are active and healthy, hop on the healthy ride.
Yes, the Healthy Reid did an art competition earlier this year where they picked five artists from the city of Pittsburgh to paint one healthy ride rentable bike, and I was one of the five that was selected. So there is a spread love army bicycle that the city of Pittsburgh can rent and enjoy this beautiful views of the city whenever, so if you guys see it, take pictures. I'd love to see the photos that you guys get on. Duh. Enjoy.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Zachary. Rather today I hope you all enjoyed. Listen. If so, please subscribe Radar Channel five stars and leave a comment are episodes can only get better from. And if you're listening to this episode, you realize it's past the date of August 24th and you miss his various a series. But don't worry. Zachary rudders having another performing Siri's happening in mid October. So keep up with his social media and check it out. His last one raised $1300 for the Ronald McDonald. I also want to give a big thank you to my campus, our production manager, Jack Fae on audio engineering and Joe Cow on the beats. And remember, stay raw with reality.