Museache Presents: The Art of Khari Ricks

Since we started Museache, it has become more clear how different art fields aren’t as separate as you think they are. More artists are being inspired by things outside of the realm that they exist in artistically. In this case, painter and visual artist, Khari Ricks pulls inspiration from music, anime, and a few respected creatives. It has been a minute since I’ve covered an artist with Khari’s skill set, so learn a little about him in short our interview/gallery below.

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

    My most recent work has been introspective in nature, mostly dealing with elements of ritual and spirituality through a fictional personal universe. Some of the recurring characters and motif that I use often in my work represent these half-baked truths about people and human interaction. Also I’m from West Orange, New Jersey and I’ve shown work at a bunch of places in NY and NJ including: Gateway Project in Newark, Solo(s) Project house, The Farm Soho in NYC, Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn, and Index Art Center in Newark. I have a studio at a place called Ironworks Gallery that provides awesome studio space and gallery space to young emerging artist in Orange, NJ.

Khari: “When Pigs fly” is often a thing people say in regards to something miraculous happening and flying pigs are often seen as a lucky thing. So I’ve sort of created a simplified piggy character called “piggies” that appear often in my paintings, but don’t necessarily provide any luck; in fact they’re in such abundance in a lot of my work that my characters, like the “flower head guys” or the Puppies (they look like dragons but like floppy and soft) get annoyed with them because they don’t really provide anything. This sort of leads into my own back and forth with ideas of hope, opportunity, and luck.

  • What artistic medium do you use? How do you create your pieces?

    I work with a bunch of different mediums, but most recently oil, watercolor, and ink. Also I’ve been messing around with digital collage using kitschy Tumblr photos (you know African chicks, with like glitch video game images and jewelry) etc.

    How do you create your pieces?

    I sort of do a lot of research. I watch a lot of documentaries about history and art and watch a lot of cartoons. I guess I consume a lot of information before I start some new paintings or whatever and then I distill it down to stuff that fits into my whole personal universe. I mostly look for connections and universal truths to exploit and then I exploit them.

Who and what are some of your inspirations?

I have loads of inspirations, I love James Jean, Peter Chung (I named my two person show after an episode of Æon Flux, his cartoon), Flemish flower painting, Hayao Miyazaki. All this stuff I kind of draw from as far as visual language. But most of the stuff that makes me pick up a brush is music. I’m super inspired and in love with Kelela and Shabazz Palaces right now. All of my recent paintings where pretty much painted to Kelela’s “Cut 4 You” and Shabazz Palaces “Lese Majesty”.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I kind of run through favorite artist ever few months or so. Some days I get really stoked on people like Vermeer and I’ll have to go check out the European section at the MET. Then I get really into anime and have to watch “Samurai Champloo” over again. Right now I’m really feeling Jesse Kanda (did the covers and art direction for FKA Twigs “LP1″) and Jeff Soto. And I like David Choe. Frankly there so many dope people, I can’t really pick. You can find more of my art on Instagram and Tumblr