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Reviiser on Blue Collar Jobs, Temporary Paintings, and the Trash Art Movement
BY ERIC P. RHODES - Eric is an award-winning Crypto Art artist, renowned Trash Art artist, and creator of the iconic NFT collection, Unofficial Punks. Working exclusively in the Web3 space since 2019. 💬 Follow Eric on Twitter
Dave Estes, also known as Reviiser is an illustrator, musician, and crypto artist.
From an early age, Dave had artistic ambitions. He went to an art college, but he dropped out before graduating. After spending a few years working as a lineman – one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America – and doing art on the side, he decided it was time for a change.
That’s when he discovered crypto art.
Since 2018, Dave has worked on a ton of different pieces. However, his most interesting work is the “temporary paintings” series, in which he paints a picture every day, using the same canvas, only to erase it immediately. He’s been doing this for over a year.
Tell me a little bit about yourself when you were 10 years old. What was Little Dave like?
Little Dave was a nerd who spent all of his time on the computer. I was a real quiet kid. I played on my computer and doodled all day long. Even at school. I would sit there in the classroom, drawing instead of doing schoolwork.
That became an issue.
My teachers were like “hey, we need to start focusing on schoolwork here.” But that was my escape, drawing. I took a lot of inspiration from comic books, like Tales from the Crypt, and a lot of my early drawings were based on these.
Were your parents supportive of the art path?
They actually were. I remember once, during a parent-teacher conference, one of the teachers brought up my drawings. They were concerned because I was drawing, you know, scary things. Zombies, horror stuff, you know?
My parents defended me, they weren’t worried at all. They were blue-collar, but like, they understood that I was simply expressing myself. Both of them were super-supportive.
What inspired you to create art?
Besides comics, I was heavily inspired by the surrealist movement. Of course, Dali was huge in my youth. I remember, in the ninth grade I was drawing all of this weird stuff, and one of my teachers asked me, Have you ever heard of Salvador Dali?
At the time, I was only seeing traditional stuff and for some reason, I missed the whole surrealist movement. Once I discovered Dali, I really got into the idea of taking something that’s not real and capturing it like that.
Did you think of art as a feasible career?
While my parents were supportive of my choices, it was me who didn’t believe in myself. They supported me when I enrolled in art school. But I only went for about half a semester and dropped out. I was like… No, I can’t do this, I won’t be able to make a living.
You worked as a lineman before becoming an artist?
I worked for Eversource. I worked through a contractor forever. Anyway, I used to do horizontal directional drilling. That means I was operating a drill rig, drilling underground. Basically, my job was to drill and try not to hit any gas lines and get killed.
It’s a really high-stress job.
You’re drilling all day long, you get home, and you’re completely exhausted. By the time you get home, you don’t even have the time to process everything. You can only go to bed. Then, you wake up and repeat the entire process. There’s no room for taking care of yourself.
Was art your outlet during that time?
Yeah, it was pretty much my only real outlet doing that time. Painting, drawing... I was doing local art shows and playing guitar. But as I said, you come home from work, and you’re just drained.
You can’t commit 100% to anything. Not to your family, mental health, or art. That’s what kind of made me implode a little bit. At a certain point, I was like, I can’t do this anymore.
At the same time, I came across crypto art. It seemed like a great way to pursue art. It was different, but it felt familiar at the same time. Also, there was a huge community of artists in the crypto space. I met so many cool people in a short amount of time.
It’s a worldwide thing. Everyone has their unique perspective. That’s the biggest thing I liked about crypto. I’m from Connecticut. There’s no art scene here really.
Unless you like pictures of boats and beaches.
Besides crypto art, you’re into tinkering?
I got into tinkering when I was young. My dad had a woodshop and we spent a lot of time in there, making cabinets, jewelry holders, and stuff like that. When I got older, I got a 3D printer and made a few little things. I started taking it more seriously once I built the cyberdeck…
What’s the cyberdeck?
It’s a futuristic, totally impractical laptop. The design was initially simpler. But I was wondering, how much stuff could I put in there? I wanted to put a mechanical keyboard in it and make it like a cartridge-based mechanism that would pop out.
I got all kinds of similar ideas. It’s similar to sculpting. The cyberdeck is a combination of a physical sculpture and tech, all in one.
You’re sculpting using non-traditional material?
That’s exactly what it is. It’s like, you’re seeing what can you put together and get away with. And it’s really exciting to see if you can make it work. I got halfway through it and was like, what am I doing? This is crazy. But I had to see it through and I did. I finished it.
Not only that, but it got me on Hackaday. That was a cool thing. My mind was blown!
Tell me about your temporary paintings...
The concept of temporary art came from a conversation that you and I had about burning journals. You write a journal, finish it, and burn it. Throw it away to cleanse yourself from all of those memories. The concept here is the same.
I start with an empty canvas. No expectations or anything. Before I started doing it, I was all over the place with art. Now, I have a goal to paint a complete piece every day. Well, almost every day. There were a couple of days…
My main goal was to make it to a quality where I don’t want to get rid of the painting. Confront that emotion. And wipe it away.
How do you wipe them away?
I just have an ordinary rag that’s always next to me. The process is immediate. I don’t even look at the painting for too long. If I look at it for too long, I might end up keeping it. Getting rid of it is the point. Destroying the painting is just as a part of it as it is to paint it.
Honestly, I spend more time staring at the canvas when it’s all wiped away. To me, it’s more interesting at that point.
Any plans on minting the temporary paintings?
I took pictures of most of them. There were a couple that I didn’t. But I don’t like the idea of minting them. There’s no point. I’ve been thinking about minting the actual canvas, with everything wiped away, once I stop doing temporary paintings. But we’ll see…
What else are you working on?
I’ve been doing a lot of ink and watercolor. That’s my favorite medium. That’s my wheelhouse. I’ve grown a lot as a painter since I started working on temporary paintings. In my opinion, I loosen up a lot, which is why I’m able to express myself more. If that makes any sense…
What are your thoughts on the trash art movement?
I just love it. I love the fact that we have this loose group of friends who came together because of a shared ideology and because we signed an agreement. Trash art isn’t a collective, it’s a group of people with collective ethos.
The best thing about it is that anyone can be a part of it. There are no rules. That’s what crypto art is for me. Everybody’s a trash artist in my opinion. Some think that they aren’t, but they are. They just didn’t realize it yet.
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