Theatrically-staged landscapes made of costumed creatures and ornamental tombstones; fire and water restricted on a page as if a prop; humorous takes on the happenings of Coney Island; romance after death; such is the work of illustrator Stacey Rozich. Based in Los Feliz, California, Rozich is known for her folk and Pop art-inspired gouaches. She explores worldly notions of death, attaching an uncannily humorous spin to her works. Her creations are vividly captivating, and a well informed portrayal of the inherent nature of death, life, and daily interaction featured in mythology. Rozich’s work is both gentle and overwhelming, her vivid palette a reflection of her natural leaning towards visual chaos. She has been featured in numerous galleries, Starbucks, The Experience Music Project, The FADER, The Stranger, Sub Pop, Random House Publishing and much more. In addition, she's collaborated with bands including Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty, lending out her creatures to paint their music.
Looking at Stacey Rozich’s work, you'll notice Death as a constant character, looming where other figures are costumed and staged. “I enjoy how the representation of death is different through history in so many cultures,” says Rozich. “And yes, I love painting bones in a contemporary Halloween costume way, like something a spirit would pick up one day on sale at Party City." Rozich's stance on death is playful and funny, inserting it in dates and innocuous partygoers.
She lends her style to her past in theatre, looking at the placing of objects and placing of people as staged vignettes. When asked, Rozich explained, “That's exactly what my intent is—to create a feeling of a staged vignette. The inherent flatness of it all was very satisfying to me, that you could convey an entire background within one set piece: mountains, fields, farm animals—as one cohesive object.”
With a deep respect and adoration for history and craftsmanship, Rozich pulls from the world of performance and folk art, explaining her adoration for the complexity of Mexican culture: “There are so many states in Mexico with different aesthetics and materials and color palettes which are incredibly rich and deeply spirited and that they can be at once identifiable and united and also very different, that appeals to me.”
Rozich is a prolific artist, balancing gallery shows, commercial projects, and occasional album covers with personal projects, all while keeping her practice simple and open. ”My usual process involves soaking in as much inspiration as possible, whether it be in books I have stocked up or from movies or articles I've read. I'm constantly have my net out for intriguing stories and imagery," she explains.
Her staged world is one full of informed narratives, and specific color choices and placements of characters. With a strong connection to history—even the history of death—Rozich makes animated worlds in the stillness of a page, leaving all the rest up to the viewer.
Click here to see more from Stacey Rozich.