Many Fords will remember the big portrait of Sixth Former Tyler Rippie featured near the Rounders this past fall. What some may not realize is that it was painted by Rippie himself, whose love for art started long before Sixth Form.
“Art was one of my favorite classes,” said Rippie, who has been cultivating his artistic talents since lower school. “I made a lot of the monsters that are still hanging in the [lower school] building, and I won the bookmark competition every year.”
And in middle school, Rippie embraced art as a hobby and began honing his skills.
Upon entering the Fourth Form, Rippie chose Mr. Fox’s art portfolio, though he thoroughly considered taking pottery. “I felt like that kind of art was really therapeutic, so it really didn’t feel like a class,” Rippie said.
“I always revert back to graphite pencil in a notebook because that is what starts everybody, though I have been fortunate to have been able to spread out,” Rippie said. “I enjoy returning to the simple method.”
The process of painting a self-portrait was especially fulfilling for Rippie. “I finished [the portrait] in two weeks because I was so invested in it and I liked it so much,” Rippie said. “I was trying to evoke the style of Kahinde Wiley. He is a painter who puts black people into famous nineteenth-century paintings such as the portrait of Napoleon.”
Rippie has one last big project he will be adding to his portfolio before the year is out.
“I am working on this multiple self portrait of myself and a few black friends and I am putting us all in different African clothing,” Rippie said. “It is not easy when there are six or seven people on the canvas, and I have to focus on each one. It is going to take me a long time.”
“I have to take breaks and spend time away from it. Even professionals have to take time to regroup. I’m just building my energy to knock out another big chunk,” Rippie said. “Not many people appreciate that our art studios are really high class and available to everyone.”