Where are you from and where are you based now?
I was born in Miami and left when I was 18. I went to Providence for four years and then to New York where I will probably always live.
How is life in New York? How does it differ for you from Miami?
New York is walkable and there is constant people mingling. I am inspired by what I see. I also have the feeling that I can get any supply that I might imagine to make my art. In Miami, I have to drive to get around and the traffic is grotesque. The beaches are wonderfully crowded with every kind of body hanging loose and I love that. I was made in Miami and that means that everything can make me nostalgic.
What is your preferred medium and why?
Ink on paper is the best thing because it is cheap and fast. I use expensive paper and it is still cheap. I love to pour my heart out onto a piece of paper.
Who are some of the artists/ art works you like or collect?
My favorite artists are Hannah Wilke, Niki de St. Phalle, Yayoi Kusama, Alexander Calder, Erwin Wurm, Chinastu Ban, Tove Jansson, and Hayao Miyazaki. I don't collect art but I am always trying to trade my art for things that I want like dresses from my dear friend designer Marla Deann Cook.
Your art is about happiness. What do you enjoy most about the process of creating your drawings and sculptures?
The process of making art is exactly what I would do in my free time for fun. I don't agree that it is brave to be an artist. I have been told that I am "brave" a lot when people learn this is what I do. It is really the most luxurious way for me to spend my time and because I have never struggled with the decision to be an artist I have always felt a kind of ease and happiness.
What are the most common reactions to your art?
I think people like it more when they get to know me. Men especially. I am a good storyteller and a lot of what inspires me is more than the child-like, simplicity of my forms.
You create all these adorable characters. Is it hard sometimes to part from them once the work gets sold?
There is nothing better than sending something you made out into the world.
You have an upcoming show at Primary Projects during Art Basel. What can you already share with us about the show?
The show called RANEYTOWN is my most ambitious to date. I've been living in my childhood home in Miami for the summer taking advantage of my mother's living room to construct a series of large sculptures. This show will give equal weight to my drawings and sculpture. It's going to be awesome.
What was the main inspiration behind “RaneyTown”?
RANEYTOWN was my nickname in graduate school. I like that it is evocative of a place and I like very much that it includes my family name. I am collaborating with my graphic designer, sister Raquel, and living with my Mom (#mamaraney). Love is the main inspiration behind RANEYTOWN.
Why did you choose to work with Primary Projects?
I think we mutually chose each other. I like it that they are a hardworking brilliant team. They are each uniquely talented and their faith in me has been a guiding force.
What do you love most about Miami?
I love the landscape, particularly what is jungle-y and overgrown. I love the humidity and the sweat and the sun. I think people in Miami have a lot of sass. I have a lot of sass because I grew up here.