It was a Thursday when I went to Carren Clarke’s Woodland Heights Studio on South Side RVA when I was asked to help create a piece for one of her mask to be mounted on.
It was cool enough to be asked to create something for her work, but when I found out she was being asked by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to display it, “No” was not an option.
Because this was Thursday, I only had until Sunday to come up with a concept, design around that concept and create the piece in my own style that would be in a prominent location.
The pressure was certainly high!
I’ve worked in collaboration with 3 other pieces from her, and because of this, I had a sense of what characteristics the work would take on. I also knew it had to work in direct concert with her painted mask AND the the practical purpose of the piece.
Designing was straight forward. Because it was to be a vessel to hold a floral arrangement, it needed to take on the appearance of a flower made from wood and metal.
After designing it… the first time, I realized it was becoming overly bulky and seemed to loose some of the harmonious aspects of what I was trying to accomplish, so I started a second time by completely redesigning the iron work and making the wooden container more narrow and streamlined.
This was a good choice, but it was Friday now and time was running short.
It was going to be delivered Monday morning and I didn’t want the finishes to be “off-gassing” while in the museum… so my deadline was Saturday night or Sunday Morning.
Working like a beast for the next several hours, I was able to complete the iron work, build the main structure of the container, cut and detail the decorative wood, design the base and color match the wood using stains, finishes, sandpaper and a torch.
The end result was a beautifully designed vessel that is currently on display at the VMFA in the main hall beside the ticket counter.
Another result of this venture is the knowledge that, under pressure, I can create a piece of art that fits a practical purpose with a style that’s been honed over the past several years…
and can fit in at one of the most artistic places in town.
Thanx for viewing
It started with a hand and a Live Painting event… and grew from there.
The idea came from a desire to bring color to my neighborhood in the form of paintings created and hung on my fence for people to enjoy.
I came up with one design on the fly, because I had an “art emergency” in the form of a live painting event I had no idea I was part of till the night before.
The result was something I knew would be the start of a painting that encompassed familiar design styles as well as new elements.
It also carried a message of positivity to display to a population that may need to see something up lifting every once-in-a-while.
So far three different designs came from the concept, two of which were commissioned for private collectors. Each panel painted was custom built and painted individually.
Giving the collector the subject matter they wanted, while maintaining the unique benefit of having a one-off commissioned painting.
There will certainly be more of this style of paintings coming from the studio, because the concept is one of positivity and the creative spirit…
something we all may need once-in-a-while.
Thanx for viewing.
A year ago today, after loosing my job as a graphic designer for 4 years at my employer,
I decided to retire from that field and become a full-time professional artist.
How’s it going after a year?
It’s been full of support, financial ups and downs, creative experimentation, meeting new people, and lots of work:
Refurbished the Birdhouse Farmers Market trailer
Worked on the Jackson Ward Mural
Taught at Visual Arts Center
Was a visiting artist at Henrico High School
Built bike trailers
Repaired and updating old benches
And letting people understand that if they need an oddball thing fixed, they “Know A Guy!”
And it’s been a wonderful year!
I want to thank you guys for the support, the business and keeping me from “pushing pixels” for a living. I’m going to continue being an artist and growing beyond my expectations.
It’s boom or bust from now on… and it’s gonna be a hell of a ride!
Spearheaded by David Morrison, this is a project that attempts to memorialize the victims of gun violence in the RVA. I was honored to be asked to participate along side some of Richmond’s more well known artist / muralist.
The project asked for the artist to paint a flower in memorial of a specific family member in which the family chose the flower.
This, for me, was a multifaceted experience for me.
1) I typically don’t paint from photos, but I never knew what a “Exotic Red Spider Lily” looked like.
2) I’ve never painted a flower before… at least the best I can remember I haven’t.
3) This is probably only the 4th or 5th wall I’ve painted on, so I did it like I have something to prove… which I do.
A the end of it all, I’m proud of the painting, and honored to be part of the project!
The portraits are courtesy of Michael Young Studio m-alan-young-photography.com
If there’s anything I’m accustom to when it comes to my art, it’s being inspired by the work of other artist and using it to help me evolve.
With my new life as a full-time fine artist, taking odd jobs on the side to try and pay bills,
keep food in the house and a cup of coffee in my hand, I realize there’s a need to create art that has nothing to do with anything.
Reason being, I need to sell art to secure a future.
The signature “Cityscapes In Noir” Series is an ongoing body of work that I can return to whenever the mood dictates more paintings.
The “Passion Pain & Politics” series will still be inspired by the insanity of the world…
so that’s always something to inspire creation that will have a voice.
“Diluted Loss” is an ongoing series that will always be returned to because of it’s importance to the message and story of America’s Black soldiers during WWII.
With all of the styles and imagery I create, the one defining factor that runs through most of them (at least the paintings), would be that they have a meaning behind them and they all have something to say.
And at this phase in my career, it’s time to work on purely aesthetic work.
I know what you’re thinking: “Are you selling out to make a dollar?”
The answer is: “…a little.”
Because, in order for me to continue to be an artist and not have to “sit at someone’s desk and push pixels” to put food in my fridge, I need work to sell, and it seems work with a message has less a chance in the commercial art world than work that is, as they call it… “sellable.”
I also see the new works as an exercise in painting technique, style form and detail. For the most part, it’ll help me become more of the artist I want to be. Even within the few paintings started in the “Fragments” series, there’s a real thurst in spending time with these paintings, even an 8-hour session in one sitting didn’t seem to make me tired!
As I see it, when people think RAMSEY ART WORKS, they’ll think: “that artist is a creative powerhouse!!” And with the ever-evolving influences and inspirations that keep me creating, it’s all part of a whole, all well thought-out and all working toward a future.
Thanx for viewing.
The “South Side Renaissance Man” artist Keith M Ramsey is proud to announce new works from the painting series “CITYSCAPES IN NOIR.” The show will open in the Helena Davis Gallery / ARTSPACE @ Plant Zero located at Zero East 4th Street, Richmond, VA, 23224 on Friday, March 24, 2017, from 7 p.m.–10 p.m. and will run till the closing on April 23rd, 2017.
The call for props came in on a Friday afternoon.
Friday evening, I was designing and creating guns.
The following Tuesday…there were three.
Just to explain something first, I am a responsible gun owner, but I don’t talk about guns all the time, I don’t purchase magazines, look at gun websites or belong to the NRA.
It is what it is.
So the thought of creating guns in the context of steampunk/Foundpunk was something new and kinda exciting. It was an opportunity to do more in the form of costuming and photography props that didn’t require a functionality outside of being props.
I know, with the ongoing debate about gun violence and gun ownership, I have to admit, I feel slightly conflicted about creating these “prop” guns (especially, the “EM ‘Elijah McCoy’ INVENTOR” machine gun, because of the close likeness to a real weapon) but, I have to keep in mind, these are non-functional…therefore an artistic representation of guns for the purpose of design and imagery.
Hopefully, that will translate to the viewer of the FOUNDPUNK “Prop” Guns.
Because, if you look closely, they are cool pieces of design and creation from found objects, and a 3-dimensional illustration of how my creative mind works when applied to something when given an ideal and an opportunity.
#1. The “GWC ‘George Washington Carver’ INVENTOR”
#2. The “FOUNDPUNK WASP”
#3. The “EM ‘ELIJAH McCOY’ INVENTOR”
Thanx for viewing.
With RVA being a bike town, I feel like this maybe something people would like to have to make the travel on two wheels more practical…and stylish!
(FOUNDPUNK = Practical Art for Everyday Use!)
It’s lightweight, moves with the natural motion of the bike and is comfortable to ride with. When we did test rides, it didn’t even feel like it was back there!
So, The BIKE TRAILER, DOGkART, FOUNDPUNK are what I’ll be looking to continually experiment and expand with to make that future for myself, and hopefully create jobs for a few people in the process…
Least that’s what the universe is telling me I should do…
and it hasn’t let me down yet.
It started with an old bench that was given to me by a friend that was moving away.
I had no use for it and the money from selling it outright would have helped a little.
The offer was for it as is would have been $25, but as a refurbished bench, it would cost more.
Within 15 minutes, someone took it up!
When the first bench was completed, it was delivered and, to my surprise, the client requested that I refurbish, not only the bench she had in her yard, but the matching bench parts I had stored in my yard as well.
Now I had two benches to refurbish / build in the FOUNDPUNK studio.
Between the spurts of bad weather and limited working space to store and work on two benches of this size, I problem solved, space made, found a workflow and got it done!
Here’s the process they had to go through.
Right after being laid off from my graphic design employment after four years, I decided to become more heavily involved with the art world and making the studio the key in making a future for myself.
The BIRDHOUSE FARMERS MARKET TRAILER was the largest and most unique project to come to the #FOUNDPUNK studio. The mission was to take a water damaged, heavily used teardrop trailer and refurbish it to be used as marketing and transport for the market. Thanx to Bar Codez and the folks at the Birdhouse Farmers Market for trusting my capabilities and allowing me the opportunity to test my skills in design, wood working and the use of found objects to bring this once beaten trailer back to life.
Thanx for viewing.