Meet Reggie Rhino
There’s a lot of talk around at the moment about our Ambassador Reggie Rhino so we thought we’d have a chat with the rhino himself.
AN ENDANGERED VISION – Reggie Rhino speaks to ARTLANDS
Born in Kalgoorlie last year to Dubbo-based parents Sue and Reg Sr, Reggie Rhino has developed somewhat of a cult following on social media of late, leaving many wondering who is Reggie Rhino and what does he have to do with ARTLANDS DUBBO 2016 ? We sat down with Reggie recently to learn more about the rhino and his vision for ARTLANDS DUBBO.
ARTLANDS: You’re currently travelling extensively across Australia and overseas to talk about ARTLANDS DUBBO 2016, tell us more about how you came to be an ambassador for the biannual Regional Arts Australia conference?
REGGIE: Well I was incredibly motivated to take on a role as an arts advocate from a very young age. You don’t get to where I am today by being lucky. My mother, Sue Rhino, still delights in telling the story of how I once hosted a panel discussion on ‘the importance of rhino footprint art’ when I was only 4 weeks old. So you see, when the ARTLANDS production team put out a nationwide call for a mascot early last year I knew it was the job for me. I put myself forward without hesitation, even though at that point I still didn’t have an agent. I went through a number of interview stages where I was tested on everything from my knowledge of contemporary Australian art, through to my plushness and washing machine durability. I guess Dubbo has always loved rhinos and sure, no doubt that helped in the selection process. But I’m not the only rhino out there. I am, however, clearly the most talented. I now believe I am the spokes-rhino that was born for this role.
ARTLANDS: You have a strong connection with your heritage with both parents being Dubbo born and bred. What is it about Dubbo and the Orana Region that keeps drawing you back?
REGGIE: I’m a rhino of the world now but yes you’re right, I have a very special connection with Dubbo. Actually, it’s kind of an interesting story how I came to be born in Kalgoorlie… but I suppose we can save my origin story for another day. You asked about Dubbo. Well, I could say that what keeps luring me back is the artists, the vibrant cultural ‘scene’, the friendliness and hospitality of the people, the beautiful countryside… but that’s simplifying it. It’s all of those things and it’s also so much more. Things just feel right when I get back there. Did you know you can get from anywhere in Dubbo to anywhere else in Dubbo in 10 minutes or less? That’s crazy good right! I know I’m way too young for this sort of thing (although I am very mature for my age) but I have no doubt that one day I’ll meet a girl from Dubbo, someone I’ll want to lock horns with, so to speak. Dubbo, or Dub-City as I like to call it, is a place of great significance for me and indeed my species.
ARTLANDS: Reggie, you count influential accounts such as @mayorofdubbo and @artsnsw amongst your Twitter followers, how do you explain your popularity?
REGGIE: I create quality content. There’s no formula to it – it’s all about integrity. My followers know they can expect regular interesting updates. You just have to stay on message and keep delivering. Yes, It is true that I count @mayorofdubbo as one of my close friends. Did you know he is a great poet? I totally dig that he loves poetry as much as me. Some people say I’m positioning myself to one day take over his job, but it’s a nonsense. @mayorofdubbo has my complete support. If you ask me @artsnsw knows they need to follow me to find out what’s going on in regional arts. I’m out in the regions; I’ve got my nose to the ground. My twitter account is gaining more and more followers everyday. I see this platform as a way to express myself, a way to let everyone know the real me. I’m not just an animal. I’m a rhino, with real thoughts and feelings, you know?
ARTLANDS: Would you call yourself an artist or more of a cultural producer?
REGGIE: Neither. I’m a curator of experience. In a very real way ARTLANDS will be experienced, not attended. But of course in an equally real way it will be attended. In fact if your readers want to find out more about this paradox they can attend the workshop I’ll be running at ARTLANDS 2016, ‘How to curate your own experience’. Maybe there is an art in what I do. But I’ll leave that up to you and the readers to decide. I’m not a commentator.
ARTLANDS: What can fans expect to see at ARTLANDS DUBBO 2016?
REGGIE: Everything and more. Well obviously the official program hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t really give anything anyway… (I am privy to a lot of exciting top secret information though, don’t worry about that). Importantly fans need to know they can expect to find me there. This represents what you might call a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet me, to get that sought-after selfie. With me. Just imagine becoming the envy of all your instagram friends when you get to use the #wheresreggierhino hashtag! There’s a photo doing the rounds of well-known artist Jason Wing kissing me… I mean I’m not promising anything, but you might get to be like the well-known artist Jason Wing!
ARTLANDS: Many predict you’ll be the breakout star of ARTLANDS, how can fans follow your adventures and find out where you are?
REGGIE: Didn’t we just talk about the #wheresreggierhino hashtag? Haven’t you been paying attention? Sorry… this is the 10th interview I’ve done today. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. Definitely the hashtag is cross-platform and the best and easiest way to see what I’ve been up to, where I am. And of course you also need to follow me on twitter to get inside my head: @Reggie_Rhino
ARTLANDS: Reggie, thanks for your time today.