The Artist's Statement
A breastfeeding mother, a parent mourning the loss of a child, a loving child, an exhausted father, a musician, a fighter, an actor, love, death, protest.… this is the drama of life and that is what the work is about.
Shakespeare said, “Life is but a poor player that struts and frets its time upon the stage, and then is heard no more...” These paintings are Poesis Muta that attempt to make a permanent record. They are a humble attempt at recording the resourcefulness of the human spirit and it’s foibles. They are the poetry of the the joys and sorrows of our day to day existence. They are visual poems about life and about death.
I’m on a campaign to express my love for humanity and I invite the viewer to take this journey with me. They are invited to be an active partner and to bring their own life experience to my work when they view it.
Zemir Zeki, the great Neuroscientist said that “the sublime is beauty on steriods”. I believe it is. The sublime is the next step after beauty. The sublime evokes a transcendent experience. It allows us to find great joy inside a great sorrow. It is a smile engulfed in tears. These are a modest attempt to capture the sublime.
Technical mastery is a goal, but not at the expense of my own personal handwriting. I work hard to find a way to make the technique transparent, yet I want it to be attractive and personal. It is my handwriting. I want the the technique to be the door that lets you into the world of my painting. I want it to serve the narrative without being the narrative.
Though a certain amount of skill is important to my work, I’m not looking for polish, I want a little roughness, and I’m looking for a raw quality that makes the work more accessible. I want to leave parts unfinished so that the viewer can fill in the blanks. If it doesn’t add to the story, it does not need to be rendered. I prefer to leave parts that are visual interest, to be nothing more than that. I also don’t mind letting the underlying structure of the painting show. I am happy to let the viewer see my path to creation and climb the scaffolding with me.
I use the language of traditional realism because of it’s extensive and diverse vocabulary. Yet I don’t feel that I need to abandon the language introduced in the twentieth century by the Modernists. Though my biggest influences are Rembrandt, Velasquez, and Kathe Kollwitz, I have also learned a lot from Monet, DeKooning, Deibenkorn, and Motherwell.
I spent some time in theater and worked as a professional actor for many years. I always strive to carry over some theatricality to my work. Color, light, and form are important components in my work and I take great pains to consider all three when I make a painting. But drama and conflict are also important to me when they serve my purposes. These paintings aren’t just every day life. They are a very specific singular moments in time. They are carefully considered.
Born and raised in New York, Ricky Mujica started painting at the age of 15 as a student at High School of Art and Design where he was a member of the legendary “The Old Hat Club”, run by Max Ginsburg and Irwin Greenberg.
Ricky won a full Presidential Scholarship and continued his art education at Parsons School of Design/ New School and Parsons in Paris.
After a few detours into the world of illustration and then show business, Ricky made his return to the world of Fine Art, where has received many awards. This includes a first place finish at the April round of The Representational Art Conference 2015 competition (TRAC2015). A signature Status from the Portrait Society of America where he has been a finalist and certificate of merit recipient in their international competitions. He has been a finalist in the OPA National, Regional and members competitions, the Salmagundi Club members and non-members competitions, the Allied Artists Competitions, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters National competitions, the Richeson Competitions, the Artist Magazine figurative art competitions, and the ARC International Salon Competitions, he won the Art Expo Solo Award, and has received an Honorable Mention in the Figurativas competition in Barcelona. Most recently, Ricky won the Florence and Ernest Thompson Memorial Award at the 103 Allied Artists Exhibition, and won Best in Show (First Place) at the Lore Degenstein Gallery of Susquehanna University Ninth Annual Figurative Drawing and Painting Competition.
He has created paintings for Harper Collins, Dell Doubleday, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Bantam, Little Brown Books, Hard Case Crime, Scholastic, New York Times Magazine, Daily News, Ebony Magazine, and Cherry 7-UP. He has painted murals for Sony and Leows theaters, and has made paintings used on clothes for fashion designer Rachel Roy. His artwork has been presented at the Museum of American Illustration on several occasions.
He has been a touring break dancer, a boxer (Golden Glove Finalist), a musical theater performer (with an Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical), a Shakespearean actor at the Avignon theater Festival, a stand-up comic culminating several appearances at Carolines in New York, a skateboarder (one of the original Zoo Yorker Skaters), a guiro player and back-up singer in a traveling Salsa Band in Europe (Los Salseros), and a touring dance roller skater. He is now a proud father and husband.
Ricky looks to Rembrandt, Velasquez, and Kathe Kollwitz for inspiration.