Words and works of Contemporary Artist Keith M Ramsey

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Carren Clarke / RAMSEY Collaboration hits the VMFA!

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. IMG_8225

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.

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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
-RAMSEY

 

 

 


Large Paintings & Commissioned Art

It started with a hand and a Live Painting event… and grew from there.

Be The SunThe 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.
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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.
-RAMSEYRAMSEY_Commission Ads_v1RAMSEY_Commission Ads_v2

 


Year One…

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.

 

RAMSEY_YEAR ONE Ad

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!
#ramseyartworks


RAMSEY on the Memorial Wall 3300 W. Broad Street.

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.
Because:
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
#ramseyartworks


Fragments: A New View of the World

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, IMG_0182
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.

And the “FOUNDPUNK” work and sculpture will continue to be the outlet for 3-D expression and experimentation.

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 IMG_5139and 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.
k!


New Work from CITYSCAPES IN NOIR!

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.

https://www.ramseyartworks.com/citscapes-in-noir

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FOUNDPUNK “Prop” Guns

The call for props came in on a Friday afternoon.
Friday evening, I was designing and creating guns.
The following Tuesday…there were three.
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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.
k!


FOUNDPUNK BIKE TRAILER Rolls out!

ramsey-bike-trailer_ad_v1With 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.


The Bench Projects

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.


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The BIRDHOUSE FARMERS MARKET Trailer Project

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.
k!


Well, this will explain it…

While spending time in the studio, I figured it’d be cool to create a video about the Cityscapes In Noir series that could explain the inspiration and the reaction to the painting series by the viewing, art buying public.

Give it a look and enjoy! 
RAMSEY on the Cityscapes In Noir Series
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Thanx for viewing…
k!

 


FOUNDPUNK DOGkART

The latest custom piece from the FOUNDPUNK Studio.

The DOGkART needed to be light weight, so metal conduit (lightweight, tubular metal) was welded and used for the chassis. Also, to maintain a light weight, a crutch was used for the handle, which telescopes to adjust to the height for the user. Child bicycle wheels and casters were added for mobility and secured with aluminum for stability. The crate is made from Craft wood, also keeping weight in mind, with an added basket for carrying bags and such. All paint was sprayed teal with a gloss clear coat for protection.

Commissions available!
ramsey@ramseyartworks.com


RAMSEY at the VMFA!

I have to admit, after being contacted a while ago about the FOUNDPUNK Unique Wrist Wear Wristbands being put in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Museum Shop… then “crickets,” I thought it would turn out to be yet another unfulfilled venture.

But, then it happened!

From the VMFA Facebook page…(don’t believe me? The link is below!):

“Artist Keith M Ramsey is one of the VMFA Shop’s newest Virginia jewelry artists.”

“Unique Wrist Wear by RAMSEY | FOUNDPUNK
Designed for men and women, these are unique, wearable pieces of art. Each one is created from authentic, antique newspapers dating from the year 1932 to about 1965, mounted to hand-cut sheet metal. The leather is Austin Double Shoulder and connected by grinded and polished metal hardware. Each one is uniquely designed and signed by the artist.”fullsizerender

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVMFAShop%2Fposts%2F739709796182230&width=500

Thanx for viewing!
k!

 

 


The FOUNDPUNK ARTBIEK

Inspired by “Bike Drawings from Memory,” a concept created by the Italian artist and designer Gianluca Gimini living in Bologna, Italy.

THE BACK STORY
Gimini invited random strangers from different backgrounds and various ages to draw a bicycle from memory. The results were hilariously honest!
But when viewing the accompanying graphic renderings Gimini designed, they became stunning images of design…and I couldn’t stop looking at them.
The one nagging feeling I couldn’t shake was that these were 2-dimensional, and as beautiful as the were, they couldn’t be physically touched or appreciated from all sides.

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THE CHALLENGE
As I continued looking at these images over a period of months, I began to think more about producing one. I found an abandoned bike laying in the street,
and as I passed it I thought “…if you’re still here when I come back, you’re meant for me.”

So, I get the bike back to the workshop and a few days later begin deconstructing it down to the basic parts.

The main idea was not to mimic what Gimini has done with the drawings, but to create design from what the materials allowed me. Though I wanted to explore the visual characteristics that held my interest in Gimini’s renderings ( i.e. bold colors, interesting shapes, glossy finishes, etc,) I wanted to maintain a visceral reaction that made the viewer feel as though this impossible contraption could be ridden.

THE RESULT
The finished work was a bicycle, redesigned into a conceptual art piece. The motivation behind the FOUNDPUNK ARTBIEK is to share the reaction I had, and continue to have, when looking deeper at everyday objects such as bicycles. Realizing I’ve gained a new appreciation for those familiar designs.
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Gianluca Gimini’s renderings has given me inspiration and encourages me to take time and look at bicycles a little longer than I used to. 

Thanx for viewing.
—RAMSEY


What is FOUNDPUNK!…the Movie.

This is a movie project I spent time shooting clips in the studio over the summer. It was just recently when I decided to put those videos together by compiling voice over, music and editing to it make a short movie about my artwork. Hopefully this will explain what I do as an artist…

thanx for viewing!
k!


Steampunk Photo Shoot @ the FOUNDPUNK Studio!

It was the most amazing and energetic event at the studio to date with around ten photographers from The Richmond Photography MU Group paying a visit to the Farm on a beautiful Saturday morning in August.

The event, including lights, cameras and at least one GoPro, started with Khalima Sikorskyand Gene Domingo asking to do a Steampunk themed photo shoot using my space. I was honored I was the one they asked (because I knew I had the goods to pull it off!)

This event has made me feel an overwhelming sense of pride because of the strikingly beautiful imagery that has been produced by an incredible group of professional photographers and an awesome bunch of people to work with.

As far as the work, it has been designed and created under the personal code and ethic of being honest in the work, these photos present FOUNDPUNK beyond what I could have ever dreamed. Although, there was the staging of the backgrounds for the shoot, I love that this is my place in the world where I create.

Thank you so much Khalima and Gene for bringing that energy on a beautiful Saturday in August and making it happen. You guys are always welcome at the farm.

View more photos from the shoot on the FOUNDPUNK Facebook page…
And, oh yeah, “LIKE” the page!
Thanx for viewing….
k!
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#48 PULLEY CIGAR BOX HOLDER

After toying with this piece for a few weeks and not being able to finish it because I couldn’t weld it together, I was finally able to complete it. Using an antique pulley, a cigar box, piping and other random items, it has become a visually interesting and very well balanced table top holder.

Mapping out the design, although I wasn’t sure it would balance.

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…was going to add another wheel for weight, but it became too visually busy, I didn’t like it so it had to be toned down.

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…no second wheel, but adding a second vertical element to stabilize it might have worked, but it was still too complex and ended up taking away from the over-all design.

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…I liked the vintage look and color of the cigar box, but didn’t really like the quality of the wood.

 

 

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…the parts prepped and ready to weld.

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…two identical cigar boxes. The light color box is the original look, the darker box was burned with a MAP torch to get the color/texture I wanted.

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…ready for final assembly.

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…the completed piece.

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Thanx for viewing.
k!


FOUNDPUNK! on FACEBOOK!

To see the latest works to come out of the studio, check out progress photos of projects and
get info on shows and sales, feel free to check out the FOUNDPUNK page on FACEBOOK!

https://www.facebook.com/artistkeithmramsey/timeline

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Thanx for viewing…
RAMSEY


FOUNDPUNK @ ARTWORKS RICHMOND, VA

In a time filled with digital technology and cyber-based relationships, I aspire to create art that reintroduces people to an alternative world of modernity called FoundPunk.

FoundPunk is an art form influenced by Steampunk, for which it embodies an era when inventions were designed and created by the human hand. It transforms mundane elements and random unrelated parts into aesthetically designed, practical works of art.

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FoundPunk employs a collision of various antique pieces repurposed into new objects fashioned with the Victorian and Industrial age aesthetics. These pieces are salvaged from various places ranging from auto junkyards to antique shops. Rusty weather-beaten metals, venerable glassware, worn vintage woods and burlap coffee sacks are collected and reconstructed into art. Excluding synthetic materials or mass production practices from the creative process is essential to maintaining the authenticity of each work of art.

In the beginning, this series was heavily influenced by the Steampunk art movement because of its courageous spirit to draw from imagination and literature to create tangible art. But eventually my artwork shifted slightly away from Steampunk. While Steampunk aesthetics remains, the works became less focused on the core elements that define the movement. The use of materials became more thoughtful in application. If something failed to make visual or practical sense, it wouldn’t be completed. The finished work was never forced to fit within the Steampunk art movement. Instead, I allowed the creative process to become fluid. As I began sanding or disassembling a piece, its texture, design and detail dictates the formation of the artwork.

This process became FoundPunk.

FoundPunk is based on a personal rebellion against today’s consumer-driven culture and brings awareness to how mass production stifles an individual’s creative spirit. It feeds the need to unplug from technology and persuades the viewer to become less digital and more physical. It is celebrates the inventor in all of us by encouraging re-imagination of the style and use of objects.

RAMSEY

 


Bullsh*t…and other observations.

I have to admit. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking in art shows at any of the local galleries in Richmond. It’s not a commentary on the galleries, it’s just one of those things that don’t cross my mind…until it does.

When I see something that really sparks an interest and has the potential to inspire me within the work that I do, I jump at the chance to go see it.

So last week while searching the First Friday Art Walk (RVA) website I saw an exhibit that made me curious. While reading a description of a show boasting phrases like “….tests the structural limits of materials….” and “…engaging entropic forces such as tension and corrosion…” I was hooked. My first thought was “…whatever I’m doing on Saturday, it’s going to include a trip downtown to see this art!”

On some sub-intellectual level, I understood the artist’s vision working with rusting, worn and dented material. It was as if the artist (I’ll refer to him as “JeWil”) was inviting me to see how found object style of work and material is being accepted in gallery system that seems somewhat closed to me.

To my surprise…no, that’s not the word.

Dissatisfaction.

That’s the word.

…I walked into the gallery with my mind and my eyes wide open to experiencing “….conventional understandings of where art begins and ends.” I mentioned to the gallery member behind the counter that the show seemed “anemic.”

The “art,” being sparsely placed around the huge white-walled interior of the gallery with a massive piece of steel and wood straddling the entrance to the main space, was underwhelming to put it mildly.

The first piece the viewer encountered was impressive in size, but in the same vain, it was just as impressive as the construction project I pass going to work on a daily basis. Chalk writing on the side of the steel beams looked as though it was written by the steel yard that reserved the materials for the artist’s project.

I realize it, because I recognize similar chalk writing on the steel I-beams used to construct the hotel being built by my job.

While critiquing each piece on view as I walked through the gallery, I couldn’t ignore the feeling that some artist get away with persuading gallery owners and the academic crowd with fanciful phrases and long rambling sentences that seem to convince the viewer, as well as themselves, of how the creative process is abstract and simple but the meaning is oh, so complex.

An artist can pile a vast amount of thrift-store bought t-shirts to create some deep or elusive meaning and the viewer may accept the meaning as it is told to them. But, they shouldn’t be surprised if someone calls bullsh*t when they notice that the mound of t-shirts that is so pivotal to the meaning of your work is only a shirt or two deep and the rest is wooden construction.

If you’re going to do it, do it all the way or f*ck off!

As for the show by “JeWil,” the fact that one of the only few colors that he chose to include in his work was the industry standard yellow color for the canister of MAP gas. The blue of the almost new motor being used to spin a piece of marble statue on a chrome shaft, seemed less a creative color choice and more that the artist had not tried to make the work have a harmony. Deciding to phone it in and come up with an excuse, or concept, for why the parts of the work look store bought.

The one piece I did enjoy was a huge, heavy metal table that was bent, jagged and rusty. It was the only work that made the effort to fulfill the expectations I had when walking into the gallery, that is until I found out the gallery was responsible for applying peroxide to make it rust.

To that, I said that the gallery members were now collaborators on that piece.

And that is what pushed me to compose the observation you are currently reading.

Concepts vs. Passion

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conceptual art— noun:
Art in which the idea behind a particular work, and the means of producing it, are more important than the finished work.  _(Collins) World English Dictionary

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From about the 1960’s, conceptual art was viewed as anti-establishment art, through its use of unconventional materials and aesthetics that challenged the notion of traditionally accepted forms of art, like painting, sculpture or photography.

But, these days it seems the moniker of “conceptual” is used as an excuse to not completely execute their art.

I’ve seen my share of pieces of paper thumb-tacked onto a wall of a gallery, unframed and unprofessionally hung.

Contemporary conceptual art, please “finish your f*ckin’ thought” before exhibiting it in front of the viewing public in galleries and museums.

Your work shouldn’t carry its merits by a translation on paper, the merits of its importance should be in its execution. Conceptual art is a sketch to an idea played out in the environment of a gallery or museum. It’s equal to a writer handing someone  scribbles on a piece of paper and saying to the reader verbally “…well, this is what I meant to say,” then proceeding to explain the thought that should have been written down in the first place.

If you’re not there to explain it, then don’t get upset when the audience can’t understand it.

Some people look at artists who criticize the academic art establishment and the gallery system as “angry and jealous failures” seemingly in defense of artists that play politics, did a stint at a grad school ending with a MFA or got lucky enough to be connected with the right people at the right time.

Time to end the piety about names, titles and political connections with institutions and it’s about time to start calling “bullsh*t.”

It’s true, art is subjective, but it seems like the acceptability of conceptual art is becoming more about how elaborate the written statement of the piece can be and less about the actual execution, the process or the willingness to communicate with the viewer, creating a work that is narcissistic in its existence.

While working in the studio, artist constantly push themselves to create work that communicate not only with the viewer, but with themselves as well. Creating and destroying elements within the art in order to produce a better, insightful and more honest work is what the artist owes to the people who choose to stop and have a conversation with the work.

Having a passion in the art can be understood through the completed piece and doesn’t rely on a lots of big and small words, rambling sentences and literary dreamscapes of what the artist meant to say.

The viewing public deserves honesty and not lofty bullsh*t that takes their time and intelligence for granted.

I’ll continue to work with integrity and honesty with every piece I attempt.
Because, art is a record of my life on view…and what a life it is.

Thanx for viewing.
k!


What’s the “what’s next” for 2014!

“Avoid the reeking herd! Shun the polluted flock! Live like that stoic bird, the eagle of the rock!”
_Elinor Hoyt Wyliestudio

With the new year comes a somewhat deep level soul searching, self-questioning and a lot of experimentation and hard work.

Last year was decidedly a transitional year, with the passing of my mom (Joyce Holmes Ramsey), my long time relationship becoming a long distance relationship, the completion of the studio at the “farm” and the, all important, evolution of the artwork.

Ahhh…the evolution of the artwork.

The artwork being created in the studio/workshop has become a practice in balancing between the aesthetic line that transverses steampunk and industrial, both of which are equally strong, meaningful and practical in its essence.
Seamlessly incorporating into the home environment as a piece of art that can be used
without much thought and appreciated for its unique visual statement.

The goal when all of this interest in steampunk started in 2011 was to find a voice in the work and a consistency of style and quality. I knew it would take a while for an aesthetic principle to form and become the normal approach to the art.

It has become the norm to look for materials that are worn, dirty and dented. Finding parts that work together to create a fascinating shape or form. Constantly searching for antiques that can reclaim its usefulness as something other than what the original purpose would have been. And, most of all, make work as interesting as possible without forcing it to be interesting.

The transitional year of 2013 is over, never to be forgotten, and understood
as the year things were bound to change.

This year will be a banner year for the creative spirit, the artwork and the artist. Time to explore and be seen. To venture unto paths that have never been traveled. It will be exciting, terrifying and wonderfully rewarding.

And I will try to be there every step of the way.

Thanx for viewing.
RAMSEY


In the GRID as a Renaissance Man

A few months ago I said openly, and assuredly, that one of my goals was to be in one of Richmond’s most notable social and cultural magazines.

To be truthful, I was somewhat in awe of the people that were featured in these publications. They seem to be the talented, the professional, the successful and, lets face it, there’s something cool about having your photo and story in a magazine for everyone in town to read. Unless its about a drug arrest, political corruption or holding up a convenience store.DSC_3191

The only drug I’m into is Alkaseltzer Cold Plus when I’m sick, I’m not an a**hole politician and I don’t spend time casing 7-elevens while driving around Richmond.

I didn’t expect for the universe to hear me talk to myself out loud and decide to give me a shot. But, It seems the “Year of Transition” has transformed my artistic ambitions into a very true reality.

The latest edition of GRID magazine came out in the last week and as I was enjoying an evening at my favorite coffee shop with my best friend and my god-daughter, I proceeded to thumb thru the pages. I had gotten hints from people that I was going to be in it for the “Pipe Dream #4” Mural. (see the post below this one) I was stunned to turn to page #28 and see the photo of me in full-art mode on a scissor lift included in a full page article!

Written by fellow Southsider Richard Hayes of hillsandheights.org the article is titled “Southside Renaissance Man: A Mash-up Of Talent”. This is the first time I’ve been referred too as an “Renaissance Man” in a print magazine… Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve been called anything in a print magazine.

Although, there was a mistake made by giving me credit for the Crossroads Coffee truck (that was done by my friend and fellow artist Ted Sandersen), everything else offered a good insight of who I am and what I do as an artist. It was a huge pleasure to read.

Not only was the focus on the mural, Richard also pointed out the dancing I enjoy doing and, most importantly, the fact that I’m a serious steampunk artist!

The steampunk art inclusion is important because that has become the majority of what I’m creating in the studio.

My dad has always said “you don’t really know what kind of person you are until other people tell you.” This is one hell-of-a-way to find out what people think about me as an artist and a person.

I don’t know what 2014 is going to hold for me and my art, but if these past few months are any indication, sh*t is about to get big n 2014.

And if its going to be big, I’m sure its going to be covered in hard work, found objects and a good amount of paint!

RAMSEY in GRID Magazine

Thanx for viewing.
k!


Hitting the Big Time with a “Pipe Dream”.

Before last week the focus in the studio was on the two Danish Lounge Chairs purchased with the purpose of adding some steampunk style to them. The other thought that floated through my mind was if producing a painting would be possible this month.

Little did I know…

When I got the text from Ham? (Hamilton Glass) seeing if I wanted to participate in painting a mural at the RVA Street Art Festival.

I hesitated.

The thought of creating a painting on such a scale shocked me, plus, I thought I was going to participate by helping Ham(?) with his mural so to my surprise when I showed up he immediately took me Ed Trask. We discussed the location for the work and if one of the out of town muralist weren’t to show up, maybe I’ll be able to take it.

So on Wednesday, I took it.

“Before the storm..”

The two bay doors are made of 3 different materials, two of which worked well with the paint, the material (white) at the top was covered in soot from the buses and the paint rode on top of it instead of soaking into it, making blending color more difficult.

As far as the imagery, as soon as I got the “go ahead” I knew it would be the same imagery hanging in my yard and on the guitar case on display at Art180. It was time to make its presence known in its biggest way yet.

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“Changing times…”
After baking with the sun on Wednesday I thought it would be a good idea to beat the heat by getting out there early…real early. 4:30 am early.

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After working 9 hours, part of it in the blazing sun, it was time to cool down for a couple of hours. What I didn’t know was later that evening, a storm would keep me from coming back out to work @ 7 pm. So I took the opportunity to catch some more sleep and try again on Friday morning at 8:00 am.

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“Too cold & too tired…”
Saturday, getting up at 4:30 am, and not ready for the cold, I only lasted till 6am then went back home for some more sleep and some warmer clothes.

Obtaining a lift, thanks to Matt Lively, and now able to reach the top of the mural,
work began at 8 am ending at 6:30 pm.

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“The Big finish… A long way to go and a short time to get there.”

Back at it Sunday at 6 am to finish the largest piece of art I’ve ever created.

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“Reaching the goal…”

At just before 6 pm I signed “Pipe Dream #4”, completing the largest painting I’ve ever created (measuring approx 16ft high by 34ft long) and in the shortest amount of time I’ve ever had to complete a work.

I was tired and exhilarated because of the opportunity, the experiences and the support from fellow artist and the viewing public. Thanx to Ham(?) for the vote of confidence,  Ed for being willing to give me a shot, Matt for hooking me up with the lift when I needed it, Sir James Thornhill for throwing my stuff in the garage before the storm hit.

And a big thanx to Erin, Jessica and Mike at PUNCH for understanding how important this was and allowing me to take off from work to get it done.

You guys are the best!

What’s next?

I don’t know, but whatever it is, its only going to go up from here.
The studio is active, the work is flowing and a creative life is really, really good.

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Thanx for viewing.

k!


In Good Company…

This month a project I was honored to participate in, opened in Jackson Ward in downtown Richmond, VA (the RVA) and I was in good company showing with some of RVA’s most notable artist. Artist like RVA’s mural powerhouse Ed Trask, Skull-a-Day artist and publisher Noah Scalin and widely recognized abstract artist Heide Trepanier, had work on display as well as a number of other artist, filling the gallery with energy and life. Along with the adult artist there were works by “young people” that made for a great showing on opening night. 

I was proud when I was asked to participate, but me being as a.d.d. as I can be sometimes I kept forgetting to pick up the guitar case lid. Luckily, one of the directors came to my job for a meeting and left the lid at my desk. Image

Above is the imagery I drew inspiration from which I had begun working on earlier this summer and I thought it  would be perfect for this project because of the bold contrast between the monochromatic images of machinery and the colorful organic shapes it seemingly produced.

Although I had no immediate purpose for this imagery to become more than a combination of different styles of abstract art, when asked for an artist statement, my natural inclination was to be (f*#kin’) political…although I really tried to stray away from it, but because most of my art gravitates that direction, why would I think this would be any different?

So the statement became:

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“Imagine if our most influential industries found ways to make profit by helping the environment instead of harming it.”

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The guitar case will be a benchmark moment in which I can say my style has shifted and, from the comments on the piece from those that were there, it is a positive new exploration in the elements I’m beginning to use. 

And with the new studio in full operation, there is more and more exploring to do!

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Thanx for viewing…
k!