Louisiana artist Rodney Pike discusses his new career and Google+

you know art has been a part of my life all my life long as i can remember i remember at a very very young age fallen in love with norman rockwell’s work and i knew when i was six years old I knew I wanted to be a illustrator like Norman Rockwell I just want to live like him illustrate and tell stories with pictures like this guy did you know it amazed me and I worked really hard with mari all the way through you know high school and out of high school there wasn’t and you know and I was in the fine art at the time I was painting oil hanging into a sculpture and different things like that and you know I did okay for a kid but you know I when I became a man time to get out there on your own there was just no market for art and out of my hand email and in Louisiana and I ended up joining the military long story short 30 years passed and um it was about uh two and a half years ago it’s a bent how was it it’s been a year and a half since Google Plus started right or to you yeah Oh Jane in June of 11 was that was mega yeah yeah Tim and I both joined Google Plus then made a dirty made a testing we one of the fortunate to the unfortunate ones and we became good friends here and we’ve got to know lots and lots of people here but you know my my heart started before Google+ when I picked it back up totally by accident had no intentions of it I wasn’t looking for it but I accidentally found a a website called freaking news and uh they have photoshop contests there and I ended one just for the heck of it and I did some crazy thing with stuck Obama’s head in some pain something like five minutes chop and up in you know I did okay in that contest and so I did another one and another one then I was having a blast and before I knew it I had done 400 I had 400 injuries entries you know I did I i started I was having a blast and it was just for fun it was just they had no intention of finding another career and I started about two months in I started practicing with something well let me say this first I found Sebastian Kruger that you know anybody that knows caricature works Sebastian Krugers a living master he’s an absolute genius he doesn’t do character to work anymore but he’s got a huge collection of the rolling stones that will go down in history as a great value of art but he is the one that inspired me to to try caricatures well I had nothing I had a little five-hundred-dollar dell pc and a mouse and so I started doing caricatures and I’m painting hair with a mouse which is kind of difficult you know and uh out of the blue I get it I was contacted by fhm magazine which is owned by berra media in UK it’s an enormous magazine and they often the five-piece permission and it just blew me away totally knocked me for a loop I had no idea that anybody would pay for what i was doing and uh but they they told me what they needed I said absolutely no problem I I answer them just like I’ve been doing it for years and you know hung up the phone and I’m like oh man I hope I didn’t get in too deep but let’s see you know and I did it I did the job I had a blast doing the first job it paid great it was five different pieces one of them was a two-page spread they went nuts over they loved it and that started a working relationship with fhm magazine named tennis magazine and then you know things just kind of led from there up I’ve done several covers for some different magazines I got one coming out soon and art music magazine that I’m not going to mention because last the last launch didn’t happen so but yeah it it’s been incredible in a crazy ride but you know I learned how to

do characters with rhythm you know for the Mickey lated caricatures which is something different than kind of it was a Mitch that but nobody had tapped into and nobody was doing it so I got international exposure immediately and people were calm enough so yeah thinks things are really really looking up one thing I want to say to about Google+ you know uh Tim Tim has a really nice following underworld plus he’s very popular with his posts they go on what’s hot lists all the time I’ve never done that before Tim does it he can do it he’s funny is funny you know but uh Tim Tim had built up a real large following and he had for summer you had to close his account out and start over but you know I’ve got a million was a million three followers now and and plan and uh you know these Commission’s literally ninety percent of my commissions have come through google plus whether it be a portrait like you see on Tim’s little uh lower third there that was one of his one of the early commissions i had on google blossoms it was one of 10 Tim yeah or that one and I’ve since done one I did another one that I thought was a little bit better for him but you know whether it be it portraits I’ll way up to big movie deals the whole whole shootin match with a movie deal so I yes just feeling blah it’s been a while it’s a crazy training like Ozzy said but uh so actually you and I met recently and it was sucking on google+ and although were maybe 50 miles from one another but I mean over million followers i mean that’s extraordinary so you must get a tremendous amount of feedback people circling you and and and plus in you is that is that rook yeah you know that I I guess I’m I’m not indeed three to five I get three to five thousand followers a day I know VIN to social media about really got serious with it a year and a half ago a dovin head first didn’t know a thing about what I was doing my just just shooting high and I’ve done well I’ve got a good following at olive in Oliver networks I’ve got about fifteen thousand friends on Facebook between friends subscribers and i’m a fan page no and then yay linkedin and all there’s so many others but yeah social media has been great for for business um question I have in Tim please help me with the answer here and why google+ I mean I gotta tell you I’ve been involved in an F over 20 years um both teaching and writing about it and publishing by e buzz and handling legal issues etc and I just I mean I have never seen anything in my lease in my life over the last the internet life 20 years as profound as google plus rien hangouts and I’m just wondering and I live breathe the internet I’m just wondering you know for you guys what is about Google and Google Plus that really feel like you know that’s where the market is that’s where you know the new social media industry is but no it’s the people it’s you know it’s somebody once said facebook is for friends and family and Google+ is for meeting new people and and you know just about everybody I’ve met on google+ or just real people that will come to your aid if you have a technical question if you have whatever need you have you can just do a post and start a hangout and you’ll have help with it and and the relationships you build through hangouts just like this one on one of and you get to hanging out with people like like Ronnie said he and I met a couple of years ago and we hang out several times a week you know catch up and you make real friends it’s it’s a lot different than any other than any other platform because Google’s behind it and imagine this and a lot of people don’t think about it but say you’re in a town and you want to meet some new people you can go to Google Plus search your town and it will show you profiles of people on google+ in your town and then you can read their profile and you can find out

what they’re interested in and what their expertise is or whatever and you add them to your circles without worrying about if they accept your friend request or not and communicate with them and go from there you know of so come from a business standpoint I mean certainly in in Rodney situation he’s talking about my god over million followers just on this social network I have read and I’ve seen other people talk about it or Google+ in terms of it being the the real business networks social raja rani you know one thing that helped Ronnie a lot was that free beer ad yeah when you know I mean you know Rodney is I was talking to my uncle who lives in richmond virginia and he found out i was on google+ and that I knew Rodney and we hung out and and his comment was Rodney pike as a national treasure he had seen his work I mean you know and yeah there may be a lot of people who do Rodney does but only Rodney does it the way Rodney does it you know it’s you have to you have to I mean he gets that vision and he can make it be what he sees in his head and most people just open drag go oh that looked pretty good you know this is this thing about what I do and and how I’ve gotten where I am I haven’t planned anything and I don’t make any plans I don’t put any restrictions or any limitations on on what I can reach and where I’m going to go with this but I’ve always just let my intuition lead me and I’ll let the images leave me when I do an image I start out with an image I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it you know and I just let it leave me and you know I feel the same way about my business if it leads me into 3d animation and you know that that would be wonderful because ultimately to be able to take you know exaggerated an image you know but maintain that eerie realism and then make the things talk and I made at the same time so it would be awesome and also there are a lot of people that want to do that but they don’t have the financial backing of the technology yet to do it now somebody eventually is going to do it because it’s something that’s never been done before well how do you do that who you hire to do something that’s never been done before yeah you know somebody’s got a vision and can create the technology that it’s going to take to make it you know so um you know if it goes there right if it doesn’t if I I may end up strictly uh you know going to digital painting a hundred percent but I’m not gonna I’m not going to try to decide at this point I’m just a letter League it’s none it’s worked well so far and I’m just going to keep on keeping off speaking of the vision once you show us some of the arc work okay so we can visualize and maybe ask questions about sure so I can scroll through some images for you well y’all know who he is Martin I’d love to be some more Steve Martin it’s just hard to find good images of him was a but that was a good point you made about you know if you got into animation can you imagine because all these animated films have these stars as voices but imagine a movie made about the stars involved but they were animated characters that Rodney created but then they Steve Martin would be Steve mark and I mean in orgy you actually got the people but had them animated with these right right but these characters that be that because that’s my ultimate dream yeah to see it to see one of them appear to really be breathing and talking and it’s almost consists that eerie it’s convincing enough to be kind of scary a little bit you know the lyrics cuz can’t be real but but it’s believable but it’s got a similar of believability area anyway once you show us how it’s done this is going to show you Bill Murray what basically I go through open this up with Photoshop cs6 and I’m just going to kind of show you the layers what I’ll start with and but that obviously that right

there is a finished product now that’s what I start with and this is this is very chopped up broken up in very very shortened because this is a two day process okay oh now I’m show you 30 seconds I’ve got these kind of numbers that you know the first thing I did with was think with a bill here Bill’s got a strong wide jaw the myth of his jaw exaggerated that just a little bit there then next layer oh I didn’t come up that’s not it I got something I got something noted wrong okay let me just let me just start from the bottom and they wanted at some point I would take and take you know copy disick this section here shrink his neck and make it kind of leaned up where his jaw is you know it changed at riad ears they can resize them at some point during this I’m going to do this first I would he just leave us what are you doing that he winked at me I swear he that he did what kind of Steve Martin’s got the big forehead he doesn’t have an extremely large nose he’s kind of got a small mouth so I Shrunk that down all the way down to here they see four eyes they’re so I made a couple patches just rough patches to cover that up so I can visually in an idea of what I wear on that and then the next step would be on the top of the head and and this is what i would do here i did some some wild kind of exaggeration there but as Mary that’s a very rough that’s the first rough stage what I call you the first ruffian and then the next day I work on all the details and a whole lot of steps to that but the bottom line is it goes from here to there you know i try to i’m a very detail-oriented up you know try to get all of you tells am i repaint the hair you know and uh you know not just it’s not just um it’s not just shapes in the face that you exaggerate what kind of the color exaggeration not something I learned I learned from knowing Rockwell usually yellow in the forehead and then that you got more red in the bottom you look at number Rocco’s pains you’ll see that yeah is it adds something to the caricature to the humor there a little bit just adds a little something to it which it didn’t have here you know so uh tell there isn’t it you know basically so it to condom up sum it up let me unshare here to kind of sum it up basically what i do is chop images apart and i put them back together again and you know the way that i wanna see them you know oh so you know a lot of people I’ve gotten a lot of flack from people in the caricature community that say y’all that’s not real character because you use a photograph well you know I have an extensive background in drawing and you know life drawing it’s in anatomy study of everything else I know how to draw and and you know you need to know how to draw to do something like this you need to know to be able to visualize the thing 3d and the skull structure in that you know to make to be able to a similar thing and it still looked like a person be recognizable you know so yeah but that’s that’s basically what it is is you know people want to know my secret and they wonder what software was nothing fancy you know I just chopped stuff up and I put it back together very carefully sounds so delicious uh could you maybe just show us a few more items um the end effector deed Martinus there’s no when a sent that was one was kind of fun was uh as a Mike Mullen he got a kind of a doll face you know and I pushed that on that one um this is what i get for a man this is really interesting man i don’t think there’s man that loves his daughter any more than this guy he has commissioned over 300 artists to do portraits of his daughter and this was one night he commissioned me for but I gave it to it by they can charge me for it because it was such an impressive story in

no I do like names being yeah I did a lot of crazy stuff and a lot of it involves Rowan Atkinson and specifically his character mr. Beeney everybody loves mr. bean you know I can show you one like uh let’s city you know something like this that you know I spent two two and a half three days on and people pass it right by not paying attention whereas they see something and let me find an example they see something like this and they go berserk they love it you know because it’s just absurd and yeah that’s what I’m good at just doing absurd ridiculous things a lot of people will know you know what’s the list of meetings that in depth meaning he’s like what he’s sewing character there yeah I use him for a ginger Thursday you know the redheads so though any hell yeah we let’s see I’ve got Alan Greenspan those kind of experiment in in droop and drooping skin another one if he I’m kind of a different and you know this is where I was playing around with the way you can take a character you know draw the face down this one this will not blow on his head up and they’re just kind of going in a different direction with the character each each time I do lots of Rembrandt’s and Boozer oboes and all with mr. bean and it there’s no when I did of Bill Clinton with the red nodes of course and this is one I was requested by a Louisianan and obviously he was not a Republican and they all know who that is oh yeah it’s not been published maybe somebody who called me one day I don’t know but it was fun it’s actually an incredible incredible picture where Jindal that was a full weeks where and because everything is custom built a custom built that grown you know I had to paint obviously these these alligators and all this stuff these the pelicans and stuff and I actually made him from real animals and it had to take them and make them look 3d and then the old overlay on which was kind of difficult now that the the building in the back that’s the capital that’s the old capital in the correct yeah i just i love the old state capitol up yeah i thought i’d be a good place to put a sinkhole and booty man now baby and this was somebody else’s a brain shall not mine I mean I did the work but it was someone that requested but this is a fire button as I left you can see from there but uh and this this was actually I never when I posted it I simply pushes it with an article that was posted by newspaper about firing employees so it wasn’t my opinion it was it was the news that Bruce Willis in die hard 5 this was a I got a lil upset with with Facebook another censorship of a fine art and that was a little rebellious post there that was a Salvador Dali that I chopped up Chirac this is one of a real popular one I did here and I just would love it if if um Conan O’Brien was at some point watches this video because team coco called me and they wanted the image they wanted to use it for a commercial bumper and some print campaigns but they had to gothic tell me they wanted it free and yeah I told my son sorry I know I don’t work for free not even for Conan O’Brien you know so but it was okay because the next month it made a cover of a magazine so yeah now the face in the back is Stephen Colbert who else right look I didn’t do a real good job on him I need to redo him yeah who else would be thinking through the door though vestido para this point messing around Obama goes back this is early days I didn’t know anything about

exaggeration I’m blowing everybody’s ears out of whack and you know I got a little bit better feel now and I’ll show you someone more hundred to you I can’t show you all of them take forever but some more recently you know this is actually I like this one this is tim again uh Tim did something very kind for me and shared up something up by a piece of technology with me and I bidding that fair thank you it was your birthday I hope it wasn’t an insult me you know i kinda like it’s kind of it’s fun anyhow look to it and you know here’s a recent one i did a Mick Jagger that dudes just got amazing pictures and he was he just is hard making him not look like he’s frog I’m playing around right now see this I’m kind of doing some sketches with a jason seiler he’s the best in the world they would come to the political satire that’s why I just finished a BB king yeah another one look at a biggie but you see I put a lot of there’s a lot of detail working it you know and I get it I get in real close one to one pixel ratio sometimes a magnified twice that much and and you know make sure that everything is right so when ya next in action in a couple weeks we would have the Louisiana Legislature it’s going to begin its session and I’m just thinking well you have a field day down there yeah really if I can get enough audience you know that’s the thing up I put my stuff out there but I’ve got very very little response from anybody from Louisiana um well that’s gonna change yeah picked up a couple of jobs uh good jobs uh from local businessman uh one I just finished recently I collaborated that I hired it a digital painter friend of mine from from Spain and he did part of the work I did part of work and it was fun but yeah I mean I’m I would love to have the opportunity to meet more local and equal and get involved locally now sure well to close this out let me just ask both of y’all and that is what advice do you have oh can you give to say those people who are just beginning to get involved in this particular social media network you know what you did I mean how can they get out there within a year and a half get themselves of me million followers or so well I’ll tell you the key to key to getting there is the reason I have a million over million followers you can have well even well half you know it’s still you probably still take sul help see I’m on I’m on google+ a suggestion suggested user list they have on the 100 or so people on the list around the world and and around the country yeah I guess well mo around the world and they recommend when people come in and join google+ they’ll suggest hey you want to follow these people in you have their different categories are entertaining out stuff like that and so I I was picked up by google and put on the the suggested usual list so I get that that was enormous for me you know i went from less than 50,000 circles you know unknown to you know with in it in the first year i was over a million you know but though I mean I didn’t they didn’t just hand that out to me somebody you know I had to earn it yeah I built up I had a good following I’m built a good following him and um and I was the key and there’s the key if anybody wants to make it on google+ you must engage and it’s a sharing community you’ve done and you share people stuff you look at I look at Tim stuff and it cracks me up and I’ll share it you know he looked he shares my stuff which we’re all helping each other right to kind of climb up that that social ladder so staying engaged getting personal join some hangouts meet some people right I never know Vic Gundotra could drop into this hangout right now yeah there is he

has before he’s dropped in hangouts whoo with us in the life wow this is the big guy you know so uh yeah that’s that’s the key you know for like I’m Kim Tim have some more to say about it well if you’re if you’re when you come into Google+ drop the baggage I’ve had people come in and they go like well I don’t know anybody here well that’s the point you know it’s not a negative it’s a positive and so how do you get to know people it’s just like when you move into a new town the beauty of google plus is you can have up to five thousand people circled so just start adding people yeah you know watch what they post the ones you like you keep the ones you don’t like or whatever you can unser chol and it doesn’t offend anybody and you know uh and and do and do some searches of things you’re interested in find profiles of people of like interests of maybe like geography uh and then and join hangouts nicely before something newer people might want to try the communities to as far as actually it is your honor you know they’re the little niche you want to get into sure yeah which which is your favorite community gym oh I am in uh let’s see yeah me too gathering everything yeah yeah I mean I do a lot of the help communities and and there’s I think I’m in something like 70 communities so yeah what the if I might add and maybe close with this you know one of the things that I really found to be amazing in terms of google google plus is this that my website value buzzer come gets i tell you about seventy percent of its traffic via google with Google search or doing news or images or whatever and I mean I basically forget oh I don’t worry about any other any any other location in terms of driving traffic to the site yeah I mean other than say our newsletter we have it’s you know really there’s some question you spend time in Google+ you spend time you’re going to be seen on google and that is really i mean if you’re talking about with the the traffic is eyeballs I mean that’s it and we’re not start getting involved outside saying wait a minute you know here’s a guy who works with google and you saw having a conversation with them and then pretty soon you start getting to know you know really a number of people who say work for Google all around the world and the whole thing is that in the say 30 years I’ve had by you be so calm you know I if I met one person from google then I was lucky I guess and and so that completely has changed I think the landscape in terms of my own attitude towards the google its if you have any questions about anything you just ask yes I that’s right people are more than willing to help great people here and a lot of good people it’s a different this is a different bio not you know I’m not putting Facebook down because I’ve got 15,000 friends there or more and I’ve trained her just like any of my connections you know that friends or followers or what I you know I appreciate the fact that they followed you thought so I would never say anything bad about Facebook but but they are it’s a different but it’s different it’s a different world now this is a visual delicious I mean come on this is visual this is a video it’s a video that’s that’s where it’s all driving this is the screenshot that one night we were all sitting in a hangout and all of a sudden it big drops in yeah and spends about 20-25 minutes with us and and it’s not uncommon many of the Google people constantly getting eight so they keep an eye on things that’s what one thing about google is Google started these hangouts now they watch them and they were dropping in and hanging out to ensure and when people voiced their union they listened right they listen they made the appropriate changes and that’s the big difference there no one’s got some good people they got some good employees and listen to the public they listen to their people and and you know that it’s one company is not going to make Google successful as all people this is half a billion people that are gonna make it truth to us well talk my success yet I definitely believe that you’re successful both you actually and you’re trans transferring that success to Google Clawson hopefully

we can help transfer that success outward to a world so Rodney pike in Tim Jones listen thanks so much i really appreciate your spending your time and you’re not with me on by you buzz column thank you so much thanks for having thank you