This month’s bad girl painter is 17-year-old artist Rino Kodama (known online as Full Teeth), who makes a point of drawing generous, linear works of art in her sketchbook each day. She’s interested in the beauty of everyday life, and secretly sketches strangers at school.
I spoke to Rino about the artists who inspire her, what compels her to create, and how she discovered her passion for art.
MINNA GILLIGAN: How long have you been making art?
RINO KODAMA: I’ve been drawing since a young age, for fun and games, but there was a gap from elementary to high school when I kind of stopped. Though being creative and working with my hands was always something I enjoyed, art wasn’t a priority at the time–my life revolved around dance. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I picked up my sketchbook again.
Your Instagram tagline says, “A sketch a day keeps the bad vibes away.” Do you make a sketch a day? I used to fantasize about doing that, but it was so hard!
Lately, I’ve been pretty good at following my tagline–I bring my sketchbooks everywhere. My tiny Moleskine is dedicated to new, spontaneous ideas that I come up with throughout the day. I jot down words, phrases, and rough sketches for future art projects. It used to be hard to force myself to draw every day, but eventually it became part of my routine to doodle in class or at home.
What materials do you use when creating?
It really depends on what I’m working on. In my sketchbook, I mostly use Sakura Micron pens, Stabilo colored pens (the 0.05mm fine-point pens are my current favorite), watercolors, and any [type of] colored pencils I can get my hands on. I enjoy drawing spontaneously with pen, and I usually prefer ink rather than pencil. I don’t really have a specific brand I stick to for sketchbooks, [but] I recommend Pentalic if you’re looking for inexpensive sketchbooks. The majority of the books I’ve used are gifts from friends and family.
Your line work is very playful, and is filled with a particular kind of joy. I like how the lines that make up your drawings never seem to have an end point—there’s a sense of infinity. Do you see those qualities in your work?
I do! My art is constantly evolving, and I’m at peace with the fact that I am still searching for my style. It’s interesting that you brought up the point of infinity, because my sketches of a scene usually aren’t finished in one day. I continue adding to it, so it isn’t a sketch of just one day—it’s a compilation of my findings recorded over time. I think this infinite feature in my lines stem from the blind contours and one-line drawing practices I’ve grown close to.
You seem to draw a lot of the things you see in your day-to-day. Are the people you draw those you spy on in class or on public transportation?
I try to draw whenever I’m sitting comfortably, so my subjects vary from people I see at school, public transportation, cafés, and libraries. And of course, I never get tired of drawing my friends and family.
Has anybody ever caught you drawing them and asked to see the drawing?
Yes! This happens quite often, and the reactions range from, “I love it. I want to buy that sketch,” to, “That doesn’t really look like me.” Portraits are definitely something I’m striving to improve upon—I’ve drawn so many figures and not enough faces.
What is it about everyday life that you enjoy drawing?
I think there are many small thoughts and actions we see throughout the day that often go unnoticed or unspoken. Drawing everyday things and people is a way for me to record those kind of moments. I’ve discovered, after keeping a daily sketchbook, that I can look back at old sketchbooks and remember a particular event better because I drew it. I enjoy drawing because it’s a combination of passing time and taking my mind off of my own life, while recording someone else’s moment.
What kind of sculptures do you make?
I’m currently using paper for all my sculptures. I’m working on a series, and hopefully I will be finished by the end of the year. But, the majority of my previous works have been object sculptures. For someone who mainly posts doodles from my sketchbook on Instagram, I actually enjoy working with my hands a lot more. I plan to go into fine arts for college, with a focus on sculpture and installation.
What are some of your favorite places to visit for inspiration?
I resort to the wonderful internet 90 percent of the time, because it’s the cheapest and fastest [place] to access. I enjoy consulting the “Experimental Art” tag on Vimeo—I always find new artists there.
Who are some artists you are inspired by?
There are so many! I’m gonna list a handful of my favorites: Yayoi Kusama, Soo Sunny Park, Egon Schiele, Maya Lin, Sputniko!, Sayaka Maruyama, Kristina Wong, Andrea Fraser, Tori Parker, and Natalie Krim. I can go on and on, but I’m going to stop there. I am interested in a variety of artists, including photographers and performers. I hope you take a liking to some of these artists–all of them have had an impact on me, and my art, in one way or another.
What are three words that would describe your artwork?
Circular, yellow, and identity. ♦
If you’re a bad-person painter and want me to check out your work, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Bad girl painter.” Please include a link to your blog, Instagram, or website.