K Swift interviews the artist...
KS. What is the weirdest reference object you have and how did you come by it?

RH. The spine of a deer that had been hit by a car in front of my property. It was during the winter and the Coyotes carted off most of it but when spring came and the snow melted, these beautiful vertebrae lay gleaming on the lawn.

What is the most random thing you've included in a painting just for fun?

I'm always dumping random things in paintings, actually, it's my subconscious. I study the painting I'm working on before I sleep at night. If I think it "needs" something by morning that something is visualised and it usually is an object that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the painting at that time. But later, after the painting is finished, it's as if I had intended it to be there from the start.

Has there been a book or a painting that has changed the way you paint?

I have hundreds of Art books in my library and I can honestly say that there is something in every one of them that has had or will have an effect on what or how I paint. It may be composition, texture or hues. I had recently been to a Roger Ballen exhibition and was engulfed by the starkness of his black and white photographs, and yet the textures were so extreme... the images just blew me away.

What in life gives you inspiration?

EVERYTHING!!!!! From a crack in the sidewalk to the face of someone you momentarily make eye contact with as you pass them in a car on the highway. I believe a person takes in thousands of images daily and our brains cannot retain all that information so it starts deleting images as we sleep. The subconscious tries to make some sort of sense of those images as they pass, putting them together in its own little psychotic way. Then, if the memory plays its part and stores that scene until you are awake and able to consciously acknowledge and record it... an inspiration for a painting is born.

Do you have any painting rituals?

Music, and oddly enough it's always the same artists repeatedly. Brighteyes/Conor Oberst, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa when I paint. Beethoven or Mozart when I draw. Also sort of a ritual, I've had the same paint rag draped across my lap when I paint since 1998. I guess you could say it's my mantra.

The Onion Tree
Flannigan's Wake