It has been for some time now that we (Art-el) have been in discussion with Max Rippon (Ripo) and we are over the moon that this has finally happened.
We were introduced to his art by a man whose view is always to be listened to, Harlan Levey, creator of Modart and NO NEW ENEMIES NETWORK. We were blown away by his huge body of outdoor work that spans the globe and also his exquisit juxtaposition of simple wording on some amazing buildings and walls. His letter forms are so subtlely crafted that it seems that they have already been dissolved in the ephemeral nature of graffiti.
We also heavily respect him taking himself out of the Mecca of Most (NYC) where he could have been a big player by now, chosing the laid back culture of Barcelona with plenty of amazing walls, both in and out of the city. It’s nice to see this organic approach now being rewarded with his solo show at White Walls later this year.
His works are as prolific (having painted in no less than 36 countries to date) as they are stylish and interesting and often offer more questions than answers, always with a sense of sarcasm and humor crawling beneath the surface, which is evident in the pieces pictured below.
“Some people say they prefer to have Nothing painted on their wall. No problem”
“On the side of a library. Word. Painted using a combination of rollers and a fire extinguisher”
“A message to the city of dreams: Dream On”
“Making shit (mierda in spanish) look good”
‘Your Name’ is a recurring theme throughout most of RIPO’s work both outdoors and indoors, ever wondered why? Ponder no longer!
“Graffiti is about writing your name everywhere, as much as possible and with as much style as possible. Some of you don’t understand this, maybe because you haven’t had Your Name up yourself. These are for you”
We recently had a little internet Q & A session with the man himself – here are the results!
Q: Name and/or Nom de plume?
A: Max Rippon aka Ripo
Q: Tea or Coffee?
A: Coffee, lots of it.
Q: Can you describe yourself in 5 words?
A: Open, twenty, four, seven, yeah!
Q: What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
A: My hands
Q: What is your creative process?
A: Learn to draw before anything else.
Q: You have been labelled as a ‘writer’ ‘graffiti artist’, ‘guerilla street artist’, criminal, why do you think people need to define you in this way and does it impact on how people interact with the work?
A: Labels do more to limit than to liberate.
Q: If not art, what career would you had liked to have had?
A: If I had the slightest shred of musical talent I would love to do that.
Q: If you could meet any person (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
A: Jimi Hendrix seems like he would have been a fun guy to hang with. But I’ve been really luck to have met some amazing people over the years who I look up to immensely. Rather than choosing I’ll let life keep surprising me.
Q: What is your greatest achievement to date?
A: Continuing to make artwork everyday of my life.
Q: Who inspires you artistically?
A: My brother, my friends, and too many other artists who I’ve met, and even more who I haven’t met, to list here.
Q: What was the the content of the last photo you took?
A: A handpainted wooden store sign on the streets of Barcelonathat reads “Aquí estoy yo” (translation: Here I am)
Q: Who inspires you in life?
A: My family and friends.
Q: Three websites you visit everyday? Not social media as no doubt you are on Facebook or Twitter (or both)!
A: If I’m lucky I’ll have a day where I visit no websites at all.
Q: What was the last art exhibition you visited and your thoughts?
A: I went to see the Ai Wei Wei photo exhibit at the Jeu de Paume inParis. The hype around his work is out of control and the line at the door exhibited that. But his snapshots gave a great behind the scenes look at the history, development and thought process behind his larger works and projects.
Q: Three websites that you spend too much time looking at everyday?
A: That fucking book of faces, blogs (too many of them), my email
Q: How close to finishing your current painting are you?
A: Tomorrow, I promise.
Q: What was the last book you read?
A: I’m in the middle of “Nothing If Not Critical” by Robert Hughes.
Q: What is your favourite Gallery in the world?
A: The one that makes me the most money!
Q: What was the last film you watched?
A: Is porn considered film? Cause I saw this one recently…
Q: What three pieces of advice you to give anyone just starting off down the
path of taking their art seriously?
A: Sleep less, hold on to another source of income for the time being, and know with all your heart you’ll be making art until the day you die.
Q: If you could get superpowers or be a superhero what/who would it be?
Q: If you were to be stranded on desert island what three things would you
take with you?
A: I would just need two things. Sunscreen and an escape plan.
Q: Your favourite piece of art?
A: The internet. And some day it will be the work titled “Death of the Internet”
It has and continues to be a very busy for RIPO, being involved in a group show the Del Mural’ Art exhibition, located in the Espai Mercé Sala at the Diagonal metro stop in Barcelona, which runs to the 1st June and of course launching new work with Art-el. http://www.art-el.co.uk/collections/ripo
He has also just participated in ‘The Wallflowers’ exhibition at The Carhartt Gallery in Germany, you can see him getting up in the Gallery in this video.
More exciting, maybe, is what is to come as RIPO travels to San Francisco in August 2011, for a solo show at the prestigious White Walls Gallery. I’m sure you all join us in wishing him every success for that show and those that follow.