An interview with our artist Ric Conn

We interview artist Ric Conn from the United States.

Please describe your artwork style

My style is Expressionism.

What’s your background? 

I studied at Corcoran College of Art, Georgetown; and Maryland Institute College of Art; but I am mostly self taught.

How long have you been an artist? 

My whole life, when I was 5, I told my mother I was going to be an artist when I grew up.

Who or what are your biggest influences? 

Picasso, Matisse, Kerchner and the German Expressionists.

How have you developed your career? 

Constant drawing and painting using my mistakes as springboards to channel my work in the direction I want to go.

Which current art World trends are you following? 

none.

Where do you do your work? 

In my studio mostly, but I take sketchbooks everywhere I go so I can draw whenever inspiration comes.

What do you feel is the role of the artist in society? 

Picasso said that art is not to adorn walls but it is a weapon. I couldn’t agree more. I want my work to be reflective of my core beliefs.

What techniques / mediums do you use? 

Oil paint, acrylic paint, acrylic ink, encaustic, gouache, charcoal.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed? 

The subject. If I don’t like the way it is executed, I can repaint it, but the message fo the piece must be true to the subject and true to my beliefs.

How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas? :

Alive.

What project are you working on now? 

I am working on two series currently. The first is on equality and empowerment. In the second series, the subjects are faceless. The messages in my work are relevant to everyone, I remove the faces to show that the messages are not individualistic.

Any current or up-coming exhibitions?

I was awarded one of the “Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art” and the award ceremony and exhibition was supposed to be this month in Florence, Italy but it was postponed because of the pandemic. Nothing is scheduled until this pandemic is over.

Where do you find your ideas for your work? 

I watch people in real life (on hold until the quarantine is over). Now, I people on watch television, I watch people on the news.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of?

“P.C.—political correctness is crushing us”.

Why? 

It has a very important message and conveys it in a successful way:

This painting is a response to: the Metropolitan Museum of Art taking down a great painting by Balthus because a woman visitor didn’t like it; and the Smithsonian’s removal of a film by David Wojnarowicz because of complaints by a few visitors. More and more artistic freedom is being taken away by institutions that are afraid they may offend someone. Art is supposed to challenge, offend some thrill others. By giving in to the minority the majority suffer.

The dominatrix with the bullwhip sits on the artist crushing him. She is the institutions that give in to the complainers. The cross in her hand represents the Church which controls the institutions. The dominatrix is nude to show the hypocrisy of the institutions, the Church and the complainers who criticize and condemn while they themselves are certainly not guilt free.

How do you know when a work is finished? 

Works are never really finished. I will return to a “finished” painting to add or subtract or even repaint it if I feel I can convey its message better with the change.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio? 

Paint.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most?

Formulating messages into compositional ideas.

Why?

Seeing the message come to fruition within the compositional framework for the painting.

To see more of Ric’s work visit: https://www.ricconn.com/

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