“Chilling With A Cardboard Couch” (Issue Six Interview)
Cardboard Couch’s creator, Michael Riesch has been a busy guy this quarantine. His minimalist style art has transcended into a bold, new mediums of conventional print maing. He also has picked up the tattooing needle and sharing his art on all sorts of new canvases. Milk & Honey catches up with him and ask how one can go deeper into expanding ones vision and how one can continue to pursue their bliss in this turbulent modern age...
M&H: To our audience members who don’t know what a risograph is, can you explain the technique and why it appeals to you?
CC: A Risograph printer is a large industrial copier that functions like a screen print. You can only print 1-2 colors at a time (depending on what kind of machine you have) and every time you want a different color, you have to switch out one “drum” for another “drum”, and they are quite large and heavy. Drums house the ink and can only be one color, so seafoam is seafoam, fluorescent pink is fluorescent pink, there’s no switching it (technically you can switch colors but it’s a long and painful process). The machine also burns the image onto a rice-like paper and transfers it onto the drum and like a copier you can make as many prints as you want. When the paper enters the machine, the drums roll over the paper and push out ink from the center of the drum through the burned image and onto the paper. The ink is also soy-based, so it’s a quicker and more economical alternative to screen printing. It was originally used for large scale copying like for churches, schools, etc. but when older models started getting tossed, artists picked them up and it became a new medium.
“...Only include what is needed for the viewer to understand the message...”
M&H: Your art style can be described as observational and minimalistic. How does your style reflect who you are as a person?
CC: My work is deeply connected to who I am. I am often intrigued by objects and the things around me. I am very observational when I am out and about. There’s so much nuance in the small things that I think is often overlooked. That’s why I often use inanimate objects in my drawings. Simple things such as a plant that has fallen over or an old Spaghetti-O’s can are able to trigger emotions or memories. My house is even decorated with trinkets that have various memories associated with them. There’s nothing really minimalist about me though, the minimalist style is derived from some advice I got in college that went something like “only include what is needed for the viewer to understand the message” - which made me really strip down my style.
M&H: You’ve begun to get into tattooing! How did you get started? Did you learn by yourself or under the guidance of another artist?
CC: Several months ago I went and got a tattoo by Carter (@lime.cologne), an Asheville artist, and it inspired me to start tattooing. I was sitting there, getting tattooed, thinking I could do this. At the time I was looking to pivot my career. Most of my income had come from various tabling events (zinefests, art markets, etc.) and the pandemic wiped those out. After getting the tattoo, I decided to teach myself how to do it with a lot of help from youtube. Now here I am.
M&H: What are your best tips for drawing with ink? Do you have a go-to utensil?
CC: I honestly rarely ever draw with ink. I mainly use my iPad. But when I do draw with a pen, I use a micron or a bic.
M&H: How has the Coronavirus pandemic and our current political climate influ-
enced your art?
CC: The pandemic and political environment have definitely changed my art. Not only did the pandemic shift my career but the political environment has often become the subject of my work. I’ve also tried to use my platform to help others through awareness, fundraisers, and donations. My contribution to society is art and I’ve thought about how I can help change the world with that attribute. It’s become more than drawing. It is a way to affect change, spread information, and even comfort others.