How did your artistic career begin?
I began drawing geometry at age 5 (1956) when I had the opportunity to play with a set of Bauhaus-style colored tiles while in kindergarten. By age 10, I expanded my drawing by attempting realism. This was my pencil and ink were my primary media until I relocated to S. Florida in 1982.
It was then that a girlfriend’s mother asked me to do a large painting for her condo. Since I had never painted before, I went to the local art supply store and inquired as to what I would need to get started. The successful end result was a 5′ hard edge depiction of the high rises along the beach as they overlooked the ocean. From there, I experimented with more hard edge and some abstract and realism as well.
When I moved to Pittsburgh in 1990, I left painting behind to focus on a new career as an industrial 3D CG animation artist. In 2009, I retired and went back to the easel. It’s been a very productive time since my return. There’s been a lot of ‘crap’ pieces along the way. With those, I try to salvage by going another direction with them, looking for a happy ending.
How do you plan your projects?
From an art standpoint, I (try) to do it all. I don’t lack for content as my mind is always on the next several projects. Occasionally, I’ll drop everything to do a spontaneous piece while it is still fresh.This doesn’t always end well. At this point in my life, art is my life, despite suffering from peripheral neuropathy and arthritis. Following a double transplant 4/20, I was back at the easel 9 days after returning home. I push myself to create.
Do you have a favorite art style?
I don’t have a signature style, per se. The way I create really doesn’t allow for that because of my movement between genres. I’ve been told that’s a huge detriment, but I enjoy the freedom afforded me this way. However, i do like create ‘collections’ or ‘series’. Those who know me and my work, see me as a ‘disruptor’ or ‘interrupter’ when it comes to my artwork. Many times I will throw in an ‘Easter egg’. I will interrupt the flow of the canvas with color, a geometry change or placement. Sometimes these are very obvious and other times very subtle. People either see it right away, eventually or not at all. I enjoy it when people feel there’s something not quite right, but can’t quite pinpoint it. Color. If I had a signature, it would be color. The colors of Miami are what influenced my use of color. I’m not afraid of it.
Do you have a specific goal?
At my age, there’s not a whole lot of time left for any long term goals. In the short term, I want to keep learning and creating and hopefully gain some recognition for what I create.
As far as my philosophy on art and being an artist, mine would pretty much mirroring Andy Warhol when he said, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
In my journey to create, I have had the privilege to enjoy, collect and learn from so many diverse artists, known, unknown and extremely talented. They have all shaped me to being the artist I am. I love art. I love artists. Without art, it would be a very sad world.
Rick Ruark ★ Artist resume
Professional Organizations International Society of Acrylic Painters Society of Acrylic Painters – Florida Pittsburgh Artists Registry Exhibitions Over the years, I have shown my art at various venues in FL, PA, CA, MI, CO and other venues nationwide. 1988-1990 Banyan Yacht & Dining Club, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, (sole artist for the club complex) 1989 Sun Bank lobby & teller stations, N. Miami and Kendall, FL, (sole artist displayed) 1989 Los Olas Art Fair, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 1989-1990 Lobby art for Storer Communications, Inc., N. Miami, FL 1990 Boca Raton Arts Festival, Boca Raton, FL 2011-2015 ‘Art All Night’, Pittsburgh, PA 2012 ‘Spring Loaded: The Art of New Life’, Extra Life Studio & Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA 2012-2015 Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh, PA 2015 ISAP International Show, Santa Cruz, CA 2015 Louisville Artists Association Fine Arts Show, Louisville, CO 2015-2017 Crooked Tree Art Center D’Art for Art 2015 Art Spectrum – Miami, FL, (Runner up, Certificate of Excellence) 2016 Fabric Designer – Shop Vida Designs 2016 ArtLore Gallery, Erie, PA 2017-2021 Permanent collection pieces (4), Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, Malvern, PA 2015-2021 ‘Art Ability’, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, Malvern, PA 2021 Featured in July/August issue of Circle Arts Foundation’s ‘Spotlight’ magazine 2021 Featured in ‘Artistonish Contemporary Art’ magazine
Thank you, Rick.