Ravi Zupa is an American multi-disciplinary artist working on paper, canvas and sculpture, with an astounding command of a broad range of techniques and aesthetics.
He was born in Colorado. With artists for parents, the house he grew up in was “full of supplies everywhere, just piles of stuff!” Even so, his mother didn’t sit him down and give lessons, but she really encouraged him to explore his own artistic self, just by letting it happen. “Art was really like breakfast in my home. We just all did it because it was part of life.”
Ravi Zupa’s art education started with his family and continued on at his local library. He has spent decades studying art from cultures and movements that span history and originate from nearly all geographical regions. He considers books the best way to experience art. Being entirely self-taught, he looks for inspiration in works by German Renaissance printmakers, Flemish primitives, abstract expressionists, Japanese woodblock artists, Mughal paintings, religious iconography from Europe, Asia and pre-Columbian Latin America, and revolutionary propaganda the world over. With a distaste for ironic art or the thoughtless appropriation of culture, Zupa seeks to integrate these disparate elements in search of some universal experience that explains, at least in part, “what our incredibly fortunate historical position might mean”.
Ravi demonstrates mastery in a wide range of media including painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramic and assemblage sculpture, and collage. He employs recycled materials such as “blueprints, envelopes and old letters salvaged from dumpsters”. His media is as varied as his subjects, “graphite, colored pencil, India ink, latex and acrylic paint, oil paint and pastel, chalk pastel, relief, block print cut from traffic cones, silk screen and collage – whatever is required.”
Zupa also worked as a music video creator for the Music collective / Label, Anticon. All of the pieces were written, filmed animated and edited by him.
But, probably the most important fact about him is this: all of Ravi Zupa’s images are drawn and painted by his hand!
He lives in Denver.
“I love art so much. People throughout history have made such incredible, moving things and when I see these things I want to be part of it. It gives me an urge to participate. I don’t think of the images as referring to sinister times. In some ways maybe, it is heavy but art of all cultures is heavy and shows a lot of violence and hardship. I do use modern weapons in my art but to me that’s just a way of staying aware of my own time.” – Ravi Zupa (Hi-Fructose)