SAVANNAH RUSHER tells Her story

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About this body of work:
This body of work explores a new personal process of collage-to-painting. They’re also the first works I’ve created since moving to my new studio in downtown Oakland. By incorporating a more elaborate, multi-media process into my work, the images themselves have become simplified and semiotic. 

What’s some worthy advice you’ve been given?
“Get over yourself.”

What keeps you awake at night?
Usually the MUNI, the bus stop is right under my window.

What freaks you out?
Germs, I’m a total neat freak. Food messes that have been left out too long are my ultimate peeve. I’m making a face right now just thinking about it.  

What cracks you up?
Usually, unintentionally funny things like DMV wall art, overly dramatic commercials for a terrible product and bakery scented candles. I feel like I’m usually drawn to Canadian humor because they really embrace all things weird (Tim & Eric, Kids In the Hall, Trailer Park Boys, etc). This is the source for the super wacky image of the woman in the clear mask; the blog is beyond hysterical:

What music are you currently listening to?
Recently, I’ve been really into Part Time and the Allah-Las, both from LA. I’m also hooked on the latest Ariel Pink album, “Pom Pom”. It’s bizarre and totally on point. Here’s a mix I made for a friend’s blog if you’re interested:

What’s on your bedside table?
A salt lamp, Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, an assortment of hair clips and a giant plant. I accidentally set my bedside table on fire last month (faulty lighter), so it’s also covered in black soot.   

What is always in your refrigerator?
White wine, classy right?

What’s your most beloved article of clothing? Why?
My black Jesus Christ Superstar shirt.  It was from the 1970’s production at the Garden Theater in Charleston, which is now an Urban Outfitters. The shirt is amazingly soft and gets borrowed a lot.

If you had another talent, besides making art, what would it be?
Definitely music, I played piano and guitar when I was younger but picked up drums more recently. I had to learn them for a Beat Happening cover band that performed one time only on Halloween. Our band rehearsals consisted of me hitting a tom with two spatulas and on the night of the show (in front of over 200 people), I sat down behind a full drum kit. It went pretty well and was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, but I’m certainly no musician.

Do you have a childhood memory you’d like to share?
Being an only child and putting “siblings” on my Christmas list every year until I was probably 14.

What are some of your most beloved books, songs, albums, films, etc.
I love David Byrne, so Stop Making Sense and True Stories are two of my favorite films. I’m also obsessed with Saturday Night Fever & Grease. I was involved with competitive dancing until I was 18, so I’m a sucker for killer choreography.

What are some places you’d like to travel to?
I’d love to go to Peru, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, Spain, and Mexico (City). I tend to gravitate towards tropical places, but I’m willing to branch out. I’m also really curious about Detroit.

Most memorable travel experience?
Definitely going to East Africa, specifically Tanzania and Zambia. I had traveled around South America previously, but it still felt Westernized. Africa was not, and if anything, I could see their influence on Western culture. I loved all of the hand painted signage, wild animals, and wax printed linen textiles. The people were also amazing and so genuine. It was excitingly dangerous there, I think about it all of the time.

What makes your heart melt?
Being somewhere tropical and surfing until the sun goes down. I don’t get to do it enough!

Currently, which artists are you obsessed with or inspired by? Why?
Since moving to San Francisco, I’ve fallen even more in love with California artists like John Baldessari, Tom Wessleman, and David Hockney. The yellow-sun-drenched pastels, geometric fauna, and Modernist architecture out here are incredible. Their representations of this landscape are iconic because they manage to transcribe the feeling of being here so well. I am slowly warming up to digital and video art too – I’m obsessed with Jon Rafman (another Canadian). I’m very inspired by Postmodernism and New Wave design, also. The vintage magazine WET by Leonard Koren blows my mind.

What’s your favorite thing in your studio or work space?
My airbrush machine! So many things you can do with it. Every girl from Myrtle Beach, SC  should have one.

About Savannah:
Savannah was born 1985 in Tampa, Florida. She has published several books and has shown her work in New York City, Charleston, SC, and San Francisco, CA. She is a multi-media artist, a graphic designer, a surfer of oceanic waves and a full-on tropical enthusiast. She currently lives in San Fransisco, CA and dreams of coconut trees and sex wax. Savannah’s blog is clever and fun:  Link to her website here: