IPaintMyMind Exclusive Interview: Dimitri Drjuchin
Words by Evan La Ruffa
As you’re about to read, Dimitri Drjuchin’s life is one lived creating. The more and more we talk to creative people, the more we see the habitual nature of art. The incessant need to create, regardless of medium, is an urge that is powerful in some of us. Whether pen to paper, recorded sound, or images conducted from minds via paintbrushes, it’s all a product of a tireless mind.
Drjuchin has made a name for himself through album cover art and posters for the likes of Bonnaroo and Father John Misty. Add to that the bands he plays in, the cigarettes he smokes, and the Netflix he watches, and the dude is busy… and we applaud the dedication to output. Whether his main musical project, Corrupt Autopilot, or his drippingly superb psychedelic opus’, we enter the mind of an able, and accomplished visual and musical artist. Ahead, we use the alphabet to communicate ideas through a friendly tennis match of words commonly referred to as dialogue. Dimitri Drjuchin is a solid guy, and he said these things, we swear it.
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EL: Your Father John Misty album cover, for “Fear Fun” is great… I think of the dude on the cover as the canadian shaman FJM mentions on the record, lol… 😉
DD: Not exactly, the gentleman on the cover is Father John Misty himself, at least my interpretation of him.
EL: Ah, I see… We’re the kind of publication that will buy a record based on the cover, not knowing what the audio might contain, but being pretty sure it’ll be good if the cover art is sweet. Fear Fun was one of those records. How’d you get linked with FJM?
DD: I was recommended to J Tillman by Richard Metzger. One day out of the blue I got several frantically excited emails from J, and the rest is history!
EL: Most of your pieces are dripping. Psychedelic definitely fits, but it’s also often laced with iconography, and the Bosch-like interplay of various characters. Is there a struggle you elude to? There’s a heaviness in it all…
DD: I don’t know if I’m eluding to a struggle, but as far as subject matter goes, I am influenced by the world around me and my own life that comes out in some form or another in my work. I’m not trying to make any grandiose statements, I’m just filtering my perception of this world and turning it into something new and different.
EL: Your Bonnaroo poster for this year was stellar dude… did they give you any guidance on that, or were you allowed to roam free?
DD: Thank you sir, they let me do whatever I wanted, they did give suggestions here and there, mostly where the band names should go, but for the most part, they let me at it. I think when it comes to concert posters that’s the best way to go.
EL: Other works of yours we dig especially include “We, The Food Chain,” “Return of Colossus,” and “Fear Mongering,” … which ones are you particularly fond of?
DD: A piece called “Honeymoon” which I did in the same series is probably one of my favorites I’ve done to date. I feel it has a sweet vibe to it and I made it around the time my girlfriend and I started to get serious. I also love Return of Colossus, that was probably the most challenging and involved piece I’ve done to date. It was kind of a monster undertaking that I’m glad I went through.
EL: You play in a band also, ‘Corrupt Autopilot‘… (at least you know a solid cover art guy.) You’ve got some new material, right?
DD: Yup, we just recorded a new record called “Oh No!” with Mike Kutchman at Kutch 1 Studio in Greenpoint Brooklyn (where I live). I try to record a record a year with my band, so far the last three years have been successful in that undertaking. I’m also now playing guitar in a band called Ancient Sky (with Mike Kutchman) and we just recorded a 7″ for our European tour in November. We’re recording a full length record after we get back from tour. On top of everything else I play in Wigmaker’s Son, with my friend comedian Greg Barris and members of Corrupt Autopilot and brooklyn’s powerhouse New Beard. We just recently put out a record called “Greatest Tits”.
EL: I can’t imagine you being better at music than art, and that’s not meant as a dig, lol. But what do you consider your first creative language? Or does it not even equate that way?
DD: I don’t really think of it that way, I am a human being first. I play music just as much as I make art. I love doing them both and I work hard to always get better at ’em. I’m probably more successful as an artist these days, but I don’t let success define the things that I love to do. My art often funds my music, and they’re both a labor of love that I love seeing and hearing evolve over the years. I would never quit one to do the other. They’re both a very integral part of my being.
EL: What’s your normal day look/sound like?
DD: Most of the time I wake up around 10am, have breakfast with my girlfriend while we watch tv shows on Netflix. Then I go work on either a poster or some other kind of design in my living room, or Ill go paint. Sometimes instead I’ll sit around playing songs or try to write one. I walk and play with my dog through out the day, smoke a lot of cigarettes, eat, then probably go to band practice in the evening, or just watch a movie with my lady.
EL: It seems as though, for lack of a better word, your work is self-indulgent (in a good way), in that you don’t appear to be reactionary, especially since there’s such cohesion throughout. That being said, how does what’s happening in the art world inform what you do, if at all?
DD: I don’t really think it does. I try not to pay attention to what’s popular or trendy in art. It really doesn’t concern me. For me what makes a great artist is someone who has their own distinct voice and has emotion towards their work. A reactionary artist cannot exist without the counterpart he/she is reacting to. For me, making art is about creating your own world, that stems from your own subconscious and feelings.
EL: Similarly, what about art school reinforced or contradicted your intuitive approach?
DD: I kind of tried to forget a lot of what I learned in art school after graduation. I don’t regret the time I spent there, or the wisdom bestowed on me by a lot of wonderful teachers, but I think it’s also a very good lesson to learn that there are no real rules. As long as you love what you do and are willing to steadfastly always keep going forward, you’ll find your way.
EL: Name one artist or musician IPMM readers should check out. Link us!
DD: You should listen to New Beard their last record New Beard City is magical.