Rhys Allen – Aka. Red SK
Newport, South Wales. UK.
Mediums: Traditional. Untraditional. Digital.
Style: Everchanging. Loose. Flexible.
I am a 26-year-old Newport based Welsh artist with a degree in Fine art, as well as having a year studying Graphic design. I am currently trying my hardest to find work as a Concept Artist, Fine Artist and Graphic Novelist.
I also work as a freelance Illustrator and Tattoo Design Artist, working through commission and love.
Please say something about your first time creating.
My first experience creating was way back when I was not long started in this world. I think I'd always probably scribbled on paper and walls with crayons, but I think the first time I ever attempted to 'create' was just before I had started nursery school. My creation? A fifth Teenage Ninja Turtle! There was no girls on the green squad, and to me this didn't make sense, so I designed her. I asked my mum to give it to ''The tele'' so she could join the team.
How long have you considered yourself an artist?
For as long as I have considered myself a person. I bet everyone says that though. I love the constant strive for perfection, and the way it pushes me onwards. In some ways I hope I never get there as the journey is so much fun, but on the other hand it would be nice to see what a perfect piece of art looks like.
Probably some sort of crazy love child between Schiele and Mucha.
Perfection is all relative, anyway. My mates would probably call said perfect piece rubbish.
What are you trying to say to others through your art?
I want to put that spark into someone’s soul. There have being a few times in my life where I have gazed at an image, read a book, listened to a song, watched a film or played a game and just felt like my soul was on fire. When I write comics I want people to believe the world, and want to explore it. When I paint a piece I want people to just stare at all the little nuances and feel happily lost. When I create concept art I want people to believe in it.
We can all dream!
Erm... This is a tough question to answer as I don't have a process as such. You should see the amount of trashed sketchbooks I have. How can you explore places you haven't been if you're not willing to step off the familiar path?
That said, if I do find a style of art off the beaten path then I tend to stick with it for a little while. Art doesn't have to be a one night stand, after all. So I create a sort-of-process within the new limitations until I move on.
I'll tell you about the latest piece I've been working on. I start with pencils, and spend up to a day rendering the image out 'perfectly'. I start out with basic shapes, and slowly carve into them. I always start loose, then tighten as the hours whittle away. Then I scanned into Photoshop and worked on colour flats. I never have any interest in finding the ''right'' colours at such an early stage, as this can offer up alternate explorations and routes for your mind. After that's done I worked all the separate colours into each other to add shape and direction to materials, and to flatten the image. If a colour isn't working definitely I change it now.
Then it's a case off duplicating layers, messing with hue/saturation and erasing where applicable. This is my favourite part of the process as it reminds me of throwing paint onto a wall (And not getting shouted at for it). This is where I am at the moment, but the next stage would include painting some textures into the piece and working on highlights. I have no idea where I'll go after that.
Other people's creativity. Whether it's a perfectly described beard in a book, or a perfectly designed collapsing house (preferably with me in it) in a computer game. I tend to find that mediums outside of art inspire me a whole lot more, but this is not always the case. I am absolutely in love with so many illustrators it would impossible to name them all.
I have a thing for designing entire worlds. From the rules of science to the characters pets within them, which is why I've always had a passion for fine art, concept art and graphic novelling. I absolutely adore diving into other's creations too. Whether it's understanding the time travel mechanics of Lost or the amazing characters of firefly. All this stuff inspires me. I research it and figure it out so I can syphon it all out onto my own canvas.
I've had work exhibited in many places throughout my time in education. The most prolific being the Newport Riverfront exhibition. Since leaving university with my degree in Fine Art, however, I have yet to be lucky enough to jump onto anyone’s radar in an exhibiting sense.
My hometown Newport, where I am currently looking to move away from, is in the middle of a bit of a crisis, with many of its shops and amenities closing down. I went to a protest a few weeks back about the shutting down of the local art gallery, and one a week later about the tearing down of an amazing wall mural which has stood as an inspiration to me and others for over a hundred years.
Needless to say Art isn't a priority for my hometown, so exhibitions are out of the question. This is mainly why I am in the process of relocating.
Are you selling your artworks?
I have, but not enough to quit my job. I have done a fair few tattoo designs over the years, and this all started out because a rather pretty young lady approached me at my first gallery inquiring into purchasing a painting of mine. It was a piece that showed a ballerina wrapped in chains. She said she wanted it tattooed down her back and asked how much I wanted for it.
Most tattoo's I design I usually design on a canvas, and people seem to like that. It allows them to hang their tattoos on their wall as well as their skin if they so desire. I've charged upto £120 for a canvas, but usually I charge much less. It all depends on time (And manners, Trolololl)
How do you promote your art online?
It's painful to admit, but I've only ever had a deviant art account, as I spent a long while trying to make it in the physical world. Recently, however, I have started to span my networking onto the internet (literally last week). You can find my page at;
My other half is currently in the process of helping me network and I've got some plans I'm about to put into play in this regard. Hopefully the more people who see my work the more chances I have of spending much more of my time creating.
I'll come right out and say that, whilst my main output is Fine Art, I'm not actually clued up on many other Fine Artists. So this list may require some googling (Then again, maybe not).
My family. Props to you all. They gave me my drive, talents and passions and for that they are my biggest influences.
Alphonse Mucha, Egon Schiele and Andy Warhol are probably my more traditional inspirations. You should check out Dave McKean, I wrote my entire dissertation on him.
My best friend Jon Lilygreen for showing me that success can happen, whether it's in a record label or playing in front of millions for the eurovision.
And, finally, Joss Whedon. That man is creation and drive incarnate.
Can you tell us about another artist you admire?
Ben Templesmith is also a massive inspiration. I've only recently started learning sequential art, and if I can ever get his expression into my pages I would be a happy man. I can't believe he's as good as he is and only three years older than me.
My own graphic novels are at that awkward stage right now. I've said previously that I am a man without process, and sequential art is buried knee deep in process. Ben Templesmith looks like a man who also doesn't have a process as such, but his work is still amazing. I aspire to that.
Tell us something interesting in your life
My dad told me, when I was younger, to live life like I was going to write a biography. What I took from that was to never be boring. I don't think he meant for it to impact me as much as it has, however. It's caused me to be restless. If I'm bored I tend to run out the house in search of adventure.
I've travelled Britain and Ireland playing music, and even toured in a band. I've attacked ghosts. I've been to week long house parties on many occasions. I've cut off (not on purpose) my finger. I've been an extra in film (Resistance) and TV (Skins). I've babysat ducks for a week. I like to hangout in forests late at night. I've kissed a Storm Trooper. I like exploring abandoned villages. I've set myself on fire for someone’s photography. I once thought I got a job offer at LucasArts; turned out it was just some crazy guy with access to the internet.
The list goes on and on.
What is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about your art?
''You can't draw faces.'' Made me really stressed; mostly because I thought faces were the only thing, at the time, I could draw. I have a hard time drawing shoes on people, and am genuinely surprised no one has said anything about it, yet. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned anything.
Art has never been something that comes naturally to me. I am no prodigy. And I grew up with two major voices guiding my art: My mum, who would say everything was amazing. and my stepdad, who would tell me everything that was realistically right and wrong with a piece. My mum gave me confidence, and my stepdad gave me the drive.
If someone says something about your work, and it annoys you, then I think you need to re-evaluate either what art is to you, or your priorities.
Do you have any regrets in your life as an artist?
Yes and no. I think that maybe I should have waited a bit before jumping straight into university. Seeing what the real world was like without the constant guide of education. When I was in university I tried my hardest, and did everything I felt was right. However, I can't help but think that now I would have done things like asked different, better, questions. Sought out aid in relevant fields. Made better use of the facilities and opinions available to me. I would have probably started my career a lot earlier as well, as I thought it was something that I would start naturally upon completion. Now I know better.
Saying that, however, I had a fantastic time. And If i didn't go when I did I would not have known the creative allure and constant adventures of my friend, Xomi3. Check out her photography;
She alone made university worthwhile. Without her I wouldn't know what it would be like to bath in ice covered in ketchup and oil.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
Short term, make myself self reliant. I want to draw, paint and be creative as much as I can be. If I can condense this into a career I would be a happy man. Long term? Possibly move abroad and continue my expression in fields anew.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
Practise. Practise. Practise. Tear through sketchbooks. Use new mediums. Look at your work in a mirror. Don't focus on one piece for too long, if you've been at it for days, leave it and come back to it at a later date.
Gather criticism's. If someone says ''that red needs to change,'' or ''that foot looks like a hand'' don't throw a strop. Take it on board. Practise, Practise, Practise. It's not hate, it's honesty. You want to be the best, like no one ever was? (I just quoted Pokemon. Awesome)
Honestly, though, the most important thing in this day and age is Networking. We live in an age where art jobs are advertised all over the world, not just bullet boards. This is how the new generations will struggle more than old generations when it comes to breaking into the field. We have the world at our sides, and it's fighting for these opportunities. Get on board or risk falling behind.
Want to know why a thousand crap movies exist and only a select amount of amazing ones? Because networking is more important than quality. Start shouting, fellow artist. Be heard.
Rhys Allen. Aka Red SK
Website: Under construction. Find my work on Facebook for time being.
Facebook page: RedSkillustrations