Modart magazine showcases the ever-growing creative community that is often labeled as street, urban, activist or action sport oriented. Check out their interview with Max Rippon (RIPO) from early 2011 just after the opening of his first solo exhibit in Barcelona, Don’t Get Me Wrong, at Galeria Cosmo.
Ripo’s street art is as intelligent as the artist himself, often fusing typography and sarcasm on dilapidated buildings all over the world. His typography evokes a vintage 1950’s America and is juxtaposed with modern social commentary. He has had a huge presence in street art over the last few years, and has recently enjoyed solo exhibitions as well- closing a show in Brussels last April.
Lori Zimmer: Much of your work has a very vintage Americana feel- referencing the birth of advertising and the tradition of billboard painting. How do you make this recognized style your own?
RIPO: I’m not only focusing on style but also on what messages or stories I communicate. Sarcasm and humor are a good way of talking about something more serious. And doing something absurd, like painting the word ‘Historic’ on a dilapidated and forgotten building, might say more than trying to do something too serious.
Style wise though I’m at a point now where I’m moving away from just using simple typography, although on a large scale they do work really well. I’ve been combining vintage, and not-so-vintage, lettering with more flowing calligraphy and decorative elements. Also style comes from the different techniques and materials I use. Whether it’s paintbrushes and rollers on long extension poles, combining that with paint-filled fire extinguishers, or straight spraypaint, or brushes and ink and watercolor on paper, or enamel paint on mirrors.
LZ: Do you think it is important for street artists to translate their work and style when showing in a gallery? How does your work differ from the street to the studio?
RIPO: Yeah of course. You can’t take the same exact thing you do outside in the streets, put it indoors, and expect it to have the same impact. Or vice versa. It’s all about knowing your environment and creating something that works with that.