Artist Interviews 2021

By Julia Siedenburg

Ruglif3 (aka.Timothy) is a rug creator by day and a mixologist by night. The native LA artist that is easy to spot with his cool retro tattoos and impressive collection of piercings found rug making during the uncertain time of the pandemic.

His rugs are handmade by the artist himself, fun and mostly are shaped as known movie references, comic characters or lettering. These custom pieces not only look comfortable but you can tell on the first look that they are made with love and care.

How exactly Timothy found his new art outlet can be found right here. Maybe his story will motivate some of you dear readers to try a new art form out yourself.

Why rugs? How did you get to that idea?

When things shut down November 17 was at a creative low and the first months not working left me uninspired. I ended up seeing a big surge of crafting videos and rug making or tufting really appealed to me. I was watching a lot of old animation and movies from the nineties to entertain myself and decided that I would like to bring back the nostalgic imagery in a different media. I went to eBay and purchased my first tufting gun and yarn and eagerly awaited the tufting journey to come. I had built a frame from supplies at the local hardware store and went to the backyard of my bar and made an amazing first frame. I meant to say an amazingly janky frame that was the beginning of what grew to become Ruglif3.

What does it make you feel to make art? Is it a necessity for you? An outlet?

Art has always been a necessary way for me to deal with daily stress and get into my happy place. I get to bring out my ideas into a physical  form that I hope others will enjoy as much.    

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by the gratification of knowing that my art ideas can become items that people make a daily home decoration that can be enjoyed by other friends and guests. I'm motivated by the feeling of work being an enjoyable escape rather than feeling like a task. 

Please describe your process.  How do you choose your subject? What does it take to create the rugs?

I begin by deciding on the theme that I want for the moment. This week I was planning to make obscure references from my childhood. The first part is setting the image up on photoshop and reversing the image for the projection so that it isn’t backwards when you finish. The image is projected onto the monks cloth or burlap and traced with a sharpie. You get your yarn colors ready for tufting and then start feeding the gun thru the backing material. The last part is glueing, letting dry a day, and then setting the backing material with an adhesive. You then trim the rug if you want to make it smoother or shorter in thickness.

In your case, your art is very practical as well. Do you feel like art should always be a practical medium?

I feel like as a lucrative way practical art is important. I have done mixed media paintings with large metal accoutrements. My large pieces were my favorite things to create at the time but were hard to find a customer base. I decided that can be practical and creative as well with screen printing when I was in college. I started a t-shirt company 7 years ago that combined cycling theme with punk rock and horror as well. I delivered every piece personally on bike and had a small cult following. I then started working on cut and sew punk jackets to sell online. This was a great way to sell art to people and have walking adverts for my work. I still do this to this day. The feeling of making an one of one piece for someone to love and wear out with pride is more valuable than selling 20 prints of one piece.

Tell us about your childhood and background? 

I grew up in Highland park with traditional Filipino parents. My childhood was quite normal for the early years. I rode my bike, played Nintendo games and all changed after my cousin introduced me to punk rock after I borrowed a cassette of The Violent Femmes and a copy of The Dead Kennedy’s. I got introduced to the weird world of 90s alternative and the underground punk scene. I will never forget the first time I went to a backyard punk show and the rush of drinking a 40oz of malt liquor and meeting the hooligans that I proudly grew up with. This has been a major influence in my art. This scene has been where I go back to when I look for influence for projects that want to bring to others like me that want to go back to that time in their life. The rush of unbound youthfulness and rebellion.          

A lot of your rugs showcase very familiar comic and movie characters. Do you choose them based on your favorite characters? Or based on what you think the people want?

I chose things based on my favorite influences growing up. It mostly consists of 80’s-2000’s band logos, obscure movie characters, and retro television themed pieces.  

Which one is your favorite piece you have made so far?  

My favorite piece is a rug of the iconic issues album cover from Korn. The rag doll brings back memories of many high school parties and hanging out with local punks and metal heads. It has been a favorite that I’ve gotten requests to make several times.

Can you see this evolving in other home decoration pieces? Or do you ever think of using a completely different material for your art?

I would like to make tufted pillows and stuffed shapes in the future. I see myself keeping to mostly the traditional rug projects but with more original designs of mine. 

What is next for you? Any plans for the future?

I would like to get back into making screen printed clothing with my original digital artwork and doing some one one of one cut and sew pieces.

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