We had the good fortune of connecting with Songe Riddle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Songe, what role has risk played in your life or career?
It’s hard to imagine the pursuit of a creative career that didn’t involve some degree of risk taking. It’s different than, say, deciding to become a barber or a nurse. People will always need health care. And hair will keep growing back until you die. Not a lot of people need a painting of a zombie shooting lasers out of its face.
Or maybe they do, and they just don’t know it yet. The risk taken is to see if you can convince them that they do.
I have been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil, so that passion has always been there. As a result I have always pursued avenues that would allow me to use that passion, since it has given me the greatest satisfaction in life so far. Maybe I am somewhat of a hedonist, in that respect. But the alternative would be to have exhausted myself engaging in activities that prevented me from doing the thing that makes me happiest. Which seems far worse than any difficulties I have experienced pursuing a trade that is not guaranteed to show any profit.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I come from a comic book background. My early memories of really focusing on trying to get better involve looking at comic book artists that I grew up with. That started to change when I went to school. Part of that was seeing how much more there was out there than what I grew up with in comic books. I got into a lot of 60s American lifestyle illustration. But I also loved so much expressive political art. Kathe Kollwitz and Francisco Goya continue to blow my mind. And so many of the artists that have been accepted within the so-called fine art world were, in fact, illustrators. And I think this brought me back to the art world that I grew up in. Art as a means of social and political commentary. My training is as an illustrator. I also work, professionally, as an animator. But very little of what I do is purely for the purpose of distraction or entertainment.
As I’m sure can be imagined – that shit don’t pay! And that can be hard.
Is there a lessoned to be learned from this?
I don’t know.
I have never looked at status or accretion as a meter for success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Haha, this is a tough one. I am from Los Angeles. Born at Cedar-Sinai in 1975.
I lived here until I was 16. 1991. And essentially left until 2018.
I returned in 2018, and after a year – once I started to get around – COVID!
No one ever expects cover-19!
I spend most of my time going to gigs. That’s my church.
Echo/Echoplex, Zebulon, Teragram, The Wiltern, The Regent. I think these are the ones I’ve spent the most time at, pre-covid.
And, of course, I have to give a shout out to Lethal Amounts.
Danny is a badass.