Chances are, you’ve seen Wasted Rita’s drawings online and might have not even known whose work you were seen, but her illustrated life and tales about punk rock, relationships, friends and society is something that permeates barriers and finds something that we can all understand. Well, I could use a lot of other platitudes here and as true as she might be, you should really read to this interview and decide for yourself.
Thanks to Rita who was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions. Also do youself a favor and check out THIS PAGE!
WASTED RITA promo from rita gomes on Vimeo.
Hey! How are you? How's Portugal?
Howdy! I’m fine. Unemployed, broke and full of energy to take over the world every single day. And Portugal, well, Portugal is awesome country not to be in, unless you are here in summer vacations.
What came first, your love for punk or drawings?
Drawing! It was always my favorite hobby, ever since I can remember. I used to spend my time drawing alone while other kids were playing and having fun. Yep, natural born weirdo.
I remember giving ideas to the other kids in my art classes, when I was nine or ten years old. Or doing their draws for them. Or even kids copying my stuff and, during the playtime, my best friend trying to beat them up. Yes, I had kids copying my stuff before it was cool. My love for punk came only when I was twelve or thirteen, as well as my love for TLC.
To give our readers a bit of a background, when did you start writing and drawing, and what got you interested in the medium? Why did you choose the name Wasted Rita?
The name Wasted Rita came up at a time of my life when I realized all the potential and talent I've been wasting 'till then. I was also probably, listening to Black Flag. But, no, it has nothing to do with being drunk all the time, I'm sorry. It's about commitment, hard work and trying to grow as an artist every day.
As I said before, I've always been interested in drawing, but I started doing it, for real, when I entered Porto's School of Fine Arts to study Graphic Design. I got a 7 out of 20 in my first drawing class; this made me fall back a bit. Until the day it crossed my mind that maybe my lack of skills could be my greatest ones. That's when I started drawing with no boundaries or concerns. This turned out to be one of my greater pleasures in life, and, nowadays, I have adrenaline rushes every time I'm drawing. Plus, everything I draw looks cool. I can't help it. It's in my blood. And, you can shove my bad grades up your ass! And, about the writing part; I just don’t like to talk, so I write everything down in a sketchbook and, sometimes, it ends up on my blog.
What is your usual process for any given drawings? How long do they take you?
It depends. It might take half an hour or less, or it can take two or three days, no longer than that, because I get bored of working in the same piece. And being bored is the first step for failure. I'm a huge fan of spontaneity, stop thinking, and start doing it. I don't think I have a process. Or maybe my process is the lack of one. I listen to music, walk around for hours, and ideas show up. That's it. Normally I stick with the first one, but I like to make sure I have other solutions in case the first one fails. Which usually doesn't happen.
In 'Deconstructing Harry' Woody Allen said 'all I have in life is my imagination'. This suits me perfectly if I can add a heart full of passion and a mind overflowed with punk-rock (and some TLC) to 'my imagination'. Everything comes naturally from this combination. I'm pro-carefree creativity.
What are some of the things you try to communicate through your drawings?
Lately, I've been thinking of how egocentric and personal my drawings are. It's always about me: what I feel, what I like, what I hate, the bands I am stoked about, what I think, what I've done, blablabla. My blog is such a teenage diary in drawings and unpolished calligraphy. I guess that’s my message. Some people say I'm still a forever-in-high-school-teenage-naive-lame-ass-kid, I take it as a compliment and as a periphrasis for 'true believer'. But here is the good news: everyone has a teenage inside. And maybe that's why so many people relate to what I communicate. Others just find me ridiculous. But I'm totally cool with that, folks! I'm pro-haters.
Over the years, you've been doing more and more artwork and show flyers. It seems like a natural fit, but how did it all come together?
I've always been involved in punk-rock projects and I was studying arts, so people asked me for stuff and I'd do it. Easy. I had my own label (Not Just Boys Fun) and used to work with other Portuguese independent labels, I also used to take photos at shows and write a fanzine. I've learned a lot with all these experiences, working for fun and for so many people and bands. But I never had the support or visibility I should've had here in Portugal and I always felt that my work was being underappreciated. Like the coolest Dutch kids used to say 'Her knowledge, her talents are overshadowed, his are overrated'. This was when I tackle the evil at its source and WASTED RITA was born. No more being wasted or wasting myself.
But, let's make it clear, I love to make flyers, artworks and all those things, and I will always do it for fun, however, only for people who are aware of my potential as much as I am.
Last year, when I moved to Slovenia (where I
studied enjoyed life for 6 months) I had the pleasure to meet a few kids who were highly responsible for all my (let's call it) emancipation process, for being so damn supportive and passionate about what I was doing. I remember doing for two flyers In-Sane Bookings (Bangers + Dirty Tactics and Imadethismistake + Apologies, I Have None + Rush’N'Attack, both in LJ) in less than two hours, without being asked, and just because I was not going out that night, and felt like doing something fun. So, yes, I love to do flyers for shows and artworks, and it's a natural fit because it's fun and I'm pro-fun.
What kind of drawings did you see growing up that influenced your style?
Good question. I have no idea. I never had a big visual culture. My parents always wanted me to be a surgeon, not a kid who draws other kids in punk-rock t-shirts. I was a cartoon addicted, Ren & Stimpy, Animaniacs, Dexter, Powerpuff Girls (huge fan!), Doug, Pinky and the Brain, Sailor Moon, or even Pokemуn and Dragon Ball, but I don't see any influences of these in my current style. I have to analyze this, so I can have a much more interesting answer next time someone asks me the same.
With the emergence of the internet, bands and ideas seem to be more assessable; speaking from my own experience I've had the opportunity to interview bands from U.S., Canada, France, Germany etc. over the past six months thanks in part to the internet. It also seems that almost every band has a facebook/myspace/bandcamp or something page. There are also huge webstores dedicated to selling punk rock related products, the printed fanzine seems to be a dying out, and even printed show posters and becoming harder and harder to find. What is your opinion on the effect of the internet on the punk rock scene?
I love internet and I hate internet. I love internet because I just spent three hours discovering and downloading amazing bands. And I hate internet for making me spend three hours in front of this screen, getting an headache and a massive feeling of nothingness. Of course it has it has its ups and downs, like everything. Nonetheless, I think it's really important and urgent that we adapt ourselves to all this progress our world is living. Change is good, most of the times. Printed fanzines are dying out? Well, maybe it's because people are still doing them like others used to back in the 80's. Times are different now and you have to be conscious about it. People really need to innovate and embrace changing. You have to capture people's interest with difference and quality. I know all this do-it-yourself culture is really appealing and the feeling of being capable to do anything is the best. However, sometimes, people create things just for the sake of creating things, which I have nothing against, but, most of the times, people forget about quality and just do more of the same. You need to give it a little twirl, make a difference and make it appellative. This is 2011, not 1980.
What do you do outside of Wasted Rita? Do you have day jobs or something?
Outside Wasted Rita I'm working hard to be Wasted Rita full time. I mean, I'm trying to work as a full time freelance visual artist. Or, in other words, I'm trying to have enough work proposals per month to be able to reach some financial stability and move out of Portugal. All the works I did 'outside Wasted Rita' were temporary, and I never had a day 9 to 5 job. I've always worked in art and design related activities, but, ever since I saw Cashback, I've always fantasized about doing the night shit at some supermarket in London. Might sound weird, blame the Sean Ellis.
What’s the last really great zine/comic you read? What was so great about it?
I can't remember. I'm sure I'd buy and love all the new releases from NoBrow and Nieves, if I had money to purchase them. But since I don't, I can tell you about the last zine I bought, a few weeks ago, and how boring it is. Same talk, same issues, same speech, same visual treatment, same everyfuckingthing from the collection of old fanzines I keep from my older sister.
What song(s) do you never get tired of hearing? why?
‘Better Life’, Bouncing Souls and ‘Heart-a-Tact’, Kid Dynamite. Because both give me something to hold true, reasons to care, touch my heart and make me sing along forever.
What have you been listening lately? What are your favorite recent releases?
Lately, I've been totally aficionada (Portuguese for 'enthusiastic') to Aficionado, I can't wait to listen the entire album, however 'The Things You Like' and 'Falsified Inspiration' already made it to my top 10 best songs and lyrics of 2011. Born in a Cent, 'Far From Perfect' acoustic EP, it's out there, it's deep, it's honest, and it's free, so go do yourselves a favour and get to know this hearty band. I've also been listening to the new version of 'Every Thug Needs a Lady' on repeat (from Alkaline Trio, not Ja Rule). I can't get enough of Mixtapes 'Hope Is For People'. Actually, I can't get enough of anything this band is doing. I am also a huge Nothington appreciator, so 'More Than Obvious' has been stuck in my mp3 player. Plus, all the new stuff from Daytrader, Touche Amore, Dowsing, Joyce Manor, Red City Radio, and, more recently, BTMI, Death is not Glamorous (!!), Tenement (thanks to you), Direct Hit!, Ages, The Reveling (such an awesome surprise), The Swellers, Junior Battles, Hold Tight!, Landmines… Right now I'm listening to The Dangerous Summer’s new album, for the first time, so far so good. There are way too many good bands and releases this year and I'm sure I'm forgetting most of them. People should stop making good music. Seriously. I totally stress out when I feel like I don't have enough time to get to know and to listen carefully to everything that is released. Maybe that's why I don't waste my 'listening to music time' with double x's, floating foxes and
shit stuff like that. Rawr.
What's the scene like in Porto and more generally throughout the Portugal? Any cool bands you think people should check out?
I'm not the best person to talk about the Portuguese scene. I used to be involved in it, but not anymore. Kids seems to have fun in it, I don't.
After coming back from Ljubljana, where I had at least one exciting show for week and where everyone was so friendly and interested, I backed off a bit from the Portuguese scene. Since I'm not part of it, I feel like I can't complain. But, here are some facts about it. Firstly, it's really hard for bands to come to our country, due to our geographic location. And if it's hard for bands to go to Lisbon (the capital), you can imagine how hard it is for bands to come to Porto. Secondly, there are lots of people trying to do good things, but sometimes you have to be cool and have way too many friends to grab people's attention. Lastly, and the most ridiculous, there is only one punk/hardcore forum in Portugal, which is ok since we are such a small country. But, the funny thing is, if you want to join it, first you have answer ''a small pre-selection inquiry''. Yes, like a job interview but to be part of a punk/hardcore forum. Even if all you wanted was to be updated about shows. And even after that, you might have to deal with some kind of dinosaurs trying to put you down every time you comment or write something. But, like I said before, people seem to have fun at the shows. And when I talk with bands that toured in Portugal they normally say really good things about their shows and audience here. So,
maybe, I'm the weird one. Or maybe I just prefer honest people to all the concept of scene. Or I just 'don't need a music scene to tell me who I am'.
What is something you have always wanted to do but have not done yet?
Go to the Fest, start a musical project, have my own huge and bright studio in an exciting place on earth, do a tour and scuba dive.
What's your biggest gripe with the punk/hardcore scene?
Human beings in general, lack of values in particular.
What does the future hold for you?
Good good things. Out of Portugal.
Thanks for taking time out to talk with me Rita, hope to see you soon! Anything else you'd like to add/share?
Thank you for this interview. Forgive me if I committed any severe grammar mistakes and for not knowing what kind of drawings have influenced my style. Keep on the good work and being the sweetest Russian punk-rock connoisseur. And, let's fucking do an European version of The Fest!