NAME: Kenneth Ricci Location: New York City
So we’re going to start with the difficult question: sum up your creative process in one word/phrase, and explain why!
Engagement / Resonance. As a collage artist, I am both liberated and constrained by the elements (cut images) at my disposal. From there it is a matter of problem solving and judgment, thus engagement and resonance for both me and the viewer.
Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an artist?
Not a visual artist. I played music. Though I’ve been creating my panels for only the last four years, I am naturally at ease in making my collages despite having no formal art education. What I find fascinating is the evolution of my work in a relatively short period of time. Moving from the larger 2′ x 4′ panels to the 8″ x 24″ panels has allowed me to also focus on narrative captions that serve as insights into my efforts. So, for me, the path to becoming an artist was when I found myself creating the panels with a purposeful “take-away” for the viewer: engagement/resonance.
What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?
I work strictly with paper on hardboard in a cut/paste method. I favor images of urban architecture, interior and exterior, city planning manuals, and generic images of the human form whose gestures, frozen in a photo or ad, communicate something about a shared human experience. The interest in collage came by happenstance: free time, postcards, a trove of collected ephemera and a large black file cabinet, a convenient first surface.
Is there any particular experience, person, place or thing that inspires you to create? Tell us about that.
I work in a sort of literary/philosophical framework so within that context my reference points are the parables of Kafka, the films of Orson Wells and the random thoughts of Kierkegaard. My art education came from my student years when I worked in The Strand Bookstore Art Dept. and discovered the unsettling images George Tooker which seemed to fit my overall disposition.
What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away from it?
Showing my work is, in my mind, the last element of the creative process. Did I communicate what I had
in mind? Does it draw the viewer into finding a narrative? How is it being read? Does it furrow the brow? Showing the work, to me, is the flip side of the coin of creation. Thus, a mantra of engagement/resonance for both of us.
What advice do you have for other artists who may be looking to get their work exhibited?
First, I have to say that I feel fortunate to be in a position where I am not looking for a career as an artist.
I am free to create my panels and show them wherever they are welcomed. Most everyone wants to show his or her work. If you are not surrounded by like-minded artists, it is definitely rewarding to show your work to an unbiased yet art-interested public whether in a gallery or online exhibit. Any exposure is good exposure. Then watch and listen. Art, as we know, is a journey.