Have been holding back excitement for this featured artist interview. We had the opportunity to speak to Rebekah Rubalcava, a self-taught oil painter based in Arizona.
Her work is personally cathartic and the themes of her work focus on the processing of internal dreamscapes, experiences and emotions. Most of her pieces are symbolic and narrative highly romanticized scenes or situations that coincide with themes of growing up in a religious household, conspiracies, spirituality, embracing one's sexuality, absurdity and the intrusive and influential part of the subconscious.
She is currently building her body of work and exhibiting her pieces in the US and Europe.
Q: Tell us a little about your journey as a self-taught artist. When did you know you wanted to pursue art?
A: I have been painting since I was a child and my father was my biggest inspiration when it came to art, as he is also an artist. It was kind of monkey see; monkey do. I knew I wanted to seriously pursue art when I was in high school. I would draw comic style pin ups and girls and share them online and when they started gaining attention, I knew it’s what I wanted to do more than anything else, and from there I chose to go into fine art officially about 3 years ago. I’ve just been figuring out my place in the fine art world since then.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
The inspiration for my work is a little hard to pinpoint for me. But I’d say my dreams are basically my biggest inspiration, I’m also obsessed with novelty and the dark side of people, intrusive thoughts and using symbolism. But I’d say my own subconscious, experiences and dreams are the biggest influences. Music, photography, and literature are big inspirations as well.
Visitor, 2021, oil on canvas.
Q: How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
A: It’s like a weird and vivid dream, a bit like a fairy tale and really romanticized, but very personally symbolic. I wouldn’t know what my style is considered though. (Still figuring that part out)
Q: Who are your portraits of? Do you see yourself in your paintings?
A: I’d say the portraits are definitely an extension of myself even if the subject isn’t me! I definitely use different people’s beauty and essence as a vehicle to better express my narratives. I’m leaning more toward self-portraiture in my newer works, so I don’t have to hide so much behind other people, it’s been really cathartic so far.
God Jam, 2021, oil on canvas.
Q: Your work reminds me of a fairy tale book. Would you agree with that? And if so, what stories inspire your artist practice?
A: I’ve been told this a lot! Which at first, I wasn’t excited to hear because I thought it meant it looked childish. But I’ve grown to really love this comparison and I definitely agree and see the nod to old Grimm’s fairytales or story book illustrations. I wouldn’t say any particular stories inspire it, but I have a feeling that subconsciously all of the old stories and Children’s books I grew up with were a big influence. I look back at old books I used to love, and the illustration styles remind me of my work a lot of the time. One of my favorites was Jamberry by Bruce Degen.
Somewhere, Elsewhere, 2021, oil on canvas.
Q: I would love to hear the story behind your painting, “Somewhere, Elsewhere.”
A: So, this particular piece was actually from a dream I had. In the dream I had I was crawling around grabbing eggs, and I reached for what I thought was an egg in some bushes and I ended up lifting the “veil of reality” and fell into a black hole. It felt jarring to me. So, I woke up and immediately began tinkering with the idea and I knew I had to paint it. So, I did and it’s one of my favorite pieces. The atmosphere is exactly how it was in my dream.