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Multi-talented artist of canvas and blues.

by Robin Waters

They say that everyone has a talent. Rick Rudd is exceptional, and has found success in two. He is the lead singer and bass player in a favorite local band, Vatos Locos, and he is also a skilled painter.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in southern California, Rick began drawing and painting at the age of 3. By high school he had become very serious about his art. He attended the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute in the late 60’s. But under the parental complaint of “when are you going to get a real job?” he let 15 years elapse before he picked up the brushes again.

Since 1997 Rick has made San Felipe, Baja, his permanent home. He felt that he needed to simplify to focus. When he arrived, he wanted to get back to his art, but says he was going through an “artist’s block”. He decided to “just drive” one day, and ended up on the dump road. When he got out to stretch, he noticed a scruffy copy of an archeology magazine. The only legible pages were on the history of the Mayans. An idea just hit him, he relates, and he’s been producing the Mayan series, his unique paintings on canvas and wood, ever since in his local studio. They are all based on authentic Mayan carvings.

Inspiration comes to him from the amazing Sea of Cortez, the desert, and this strange stark land; in ways that are difficult for him to describe, but are obvious in his art. His canvases display a combination of paintbrush and air brush, and even a cement trowel on occasion. The style is not easy to define, possibly abstract realism, but however you define it, it is definitely Rick’s own.

He explains “I start by applying colors in broad sweeping motions and look for the layers of possibilities; some will be relevant, others meaningless. I want depth and movement, organic and geometric shapes, familiar and enigmatic allusions.”

“This tension adds visual interest. The result is always new to me and gives me a sense of completion and resolves the unknown. I’m still learning to trust the process of painting; to be willing to disappear into it, into the search, and have something to show for it afterward. It is amazing and enlightening for me.”

When asked what he would like to see happen in the San Felipe art world, he says he wishes people would be more open-minded about art, and buy it because you like it and it “speaks to you”, not because it matches your carpet.

When he’s not painting he is “bringing the Blues to Baja”. Watch for the Vatos Locos band spotlighted at many of the fun places in town. You can see a good sampling of his art at the Tattoo Rose Café and Gallery restaurant on Mar de Cortez #162, in downtown San Felipe. Or give him a call at 576-0106 for a tour of his homes/studio.

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