Artist Interviews 2022
By Julia Siedenburg
Curtis Ripley is an exceptional artist that has been part of the artworld for a while and it shows. The former teacher is a true master of his craft. His work has been featured at multiple important buildings such as banks and hotels.
I was immediately drawn to Curtis’ work when I discovered his dreamy and captivating pieces exhibited at the WILLIAM TURNER GALLERY in Santa Monica. There, they were showcasing his series “ Chromesthesia”.
His favorite medium is paper and look at what truly stunning work he creates on it. Please enjoy learning more about his inspiration, his background and more, dear reader.
What does creating art make you feel? Do you have to be in a certain mood to paint?
I feel hopeful and purposeful. I often don’t have a plan and don’t immediately start working. I finish reading the paper, sweep, clean up, etc. If I have work left from the previous day it’s good to look at it new and see what it needs. If I’m starting something new I have a canvas prepared and a vague idea of the mood and the character of the coming painting. I often do notes and small oil sketches, and I usually refer to them to remind myself of the possibilities.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by poetry, music, the weather, the time of day and the seasons—the passing of time. I’m also inspired by the artists who have come before me.
You have an impressive educational resume. How did it shape you as the artist you are today?
My education and teaching experience have given me a fairly solid interest and knowledge of the history of (primarily) Western Art. I continue to read and learn about what has come before me. The fact that I no longer teach has freed me from the obligation to follow every current trend.
Your pieces have been exhibited at Museums, Bank Buildings and Hotels. Do you have a particular place that you dream of having your pieces shown?
Yes. Over the past few years I’ve used the poetic form as a visual stimulus. The sonnets
have the form of Shakespearean sonnets—12 lines plus an indented rhyming couplet.
I’ve also made use of the 17 syllables of haiku. I would like to see these paintings in libraries.
How did you become part of the William Turner Gallery?
I’ve known Bill for many years. I had a studio in Venice, where he had his first gallery. During those years we became friends while I was exhibiting with other galleries. Finally we teamed up, and it’s been a great relationship.
How did you get the idea for your series, Chromesthesia (Seeing sound in color)?
I didn’t. This recent group- of paintings grew from previous work and is not a deliberate departure. I, probably like many artists, listen to music while I work—all kinds of music. Music has the same elements of painting—mood, rhythm, repetition, coloration. It is quiet and exuberant, sad and joyful. And it can be spontaneous. It definitely affects my work and makes use of color in an emotional way.
What do you want people to feel when they see your pieces?
I want them to be moved in a visceral way. I want them to tap into their own experiences.
Tell us a bit about your background and your upbringing. How did you grow up? Was art always a part of your life from early on?
I grew up in a small city in West Texas, far from the museum and art world. I learned to draw by copying Superman and Batman comics—learning to draw the figure in action. In those days illustrators were an important part of magazines and newspapers—hand drawn and painted illustrations. I thought that’s what I would do. My parents were very supportive of my interests.
All of your pieces are drawn on paper. Some even have some paper aspects as part of In which way does paper work better for you and your pieces?
I’ve always done lots of work on paper, both in preparation for paintings and as works in their own right. I like the intimacy of small sketches. I have occasionally attached bits of paper collage to the canvases to serve as another kind of mark and as another kind of space and reality.
What is next? Any plans for the future?
I plan to continue working and growing. Every day is a surprise.