Tori Rountree is a visual artist I’ve been keeping up with for awhile. I was always intrigued by her bright usage of colors and how her pieces flew off the page. Being based in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia I was happy to be able to talk to a creative from my area in an avenue I admired, but was not too knowledgeable on. I was curious to see what went through her mind as she created her beautiful pieces.
Paul: Who are you?
Tori: My name is Tori Rountree, but my alter ego is known as “Dope in Disguise”. I am an artist based between the 757 and 804. I attend VCU and I am majoring in Communication Arts.
Paul: That was so formal lol. But, I’ve always wondered about the “Dope in Disguise” name, what does it mean and how’d you think of it?
Tori: Lol my bad. But it comes from my alter ego basically. I am usually very introverted and I rather observe things rather than speak on them. But as my alter ego when I create art I am very extroverted and aggressive with hidden messages and I can usually express the things I observe and the thoughts that I collect while I am in my introverted state.
Paul: That’s fire af. Does that connect to your usage of bright colors in your work regularly in any way?
The things that I feel that I can’t release verbally I choose to convey through art
Tori: I like to use complimentary colors because they catch the eye and the vibrate off of one another. But yes these colors do relate to that. I am a highly sensitive person and also an empath that has a high emotional capacity so the things that I feel that I can’t release verbally I choose to convey through art.
Paul: Art is a great way to do that for sure. Speaking of emotion what do you usually listen to while you paint?
Tori: I’m usually listening to a soulection mix on SoundCloud. It’s a radio show which just remixes R&B/Hip-Hop/Chill music into an hour or two long mix.
Paul: Sounds like a perfect atmosphere. Backtracking a little, when you paint people do you use the alter ego as your inspiration for how they look or the real you? Hopefully that made sense lol.
Tori: I have one main character that is a personification of my alter (ego). The way she is drawn comes from some of my favorite animated series and what they represent. They mostly are: Rick & Morty, Steven Universe, Naruto, Daria and more. I usually use my alter to create how I make people look.
Paul: Gotcha! All of those fantastic shows by the way. Would you ever be interested in doing artwork for a show of your own or something like that?
Tori: Yes definitely! One day I want to get to do concept art or character design for a studio like Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. I’ve also been thinking about developing my own show.
Paul: That would be so fireeee wow. Let me know when you need a writer for it ya feel me lol. Who are your favorite artists though? Like your inspirations if you have any.
Tori: @clubbum (Instagram), @sixmau (Instagram), @adahnart (Instagram) and @paperfrank (Instagram) are some of my biggest inspirations. And face artists.
Paul: Have you reached out to them for a collaborative type thing?
Tori: No not yet. I want to achieve a more individual style before I do. I think I’m still doing very experimental things.
Paul: I feel that! But being experimental is always good, especially when it’s done right. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten or can give?
Tori: I agree! I’d have to say a quote from @paperfrank who said “You became an artist when you naturally express yourself, not when you have to ask someone how to express yourself”
Paul: I like that alot. Especially considering it can be applied to ALL forms of art. What can people expect to see from you next? Something big you’re working on perhaps?
Tori: I’m doing my first mural at @workshopva and I’m going to be in a photoshoot with a garment that I made myself.
Paul: Yes I remember you posting a Work in progress picture for that! I can’t wait to see the finished piece. I appreciate you taking the time out to do this and I definitely learned a lot!
Tori: Thank you for interviewing me!