RipOff Artists bring colour to Ansel Adams’ Warehouses

As their name suggests, the RipOff Artists are a cheeky bunch. Not content to let famous artists rest, the group chooses lesser-known works by the great masters and reinterprets them — each in their own medium.  In previous years, this multimedia collective of local artists has tackled van Gogh, Klimt, the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, Georgia O’Keeffe , and others.

In 2012 the artists took on the challenge of  “ripping off” the famous American landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, by reimagining his black and white images as colour.  The group gathered for their annual Challenge Week August 6 – 11 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre.  Working in colourful yarn, paints, threads, cloth, and digital images,  the RipOff Artists brought new energy and life to one of his little-known photographs, “San Francisco Warehouses”.  Not simply adding colour,  many of the RipOff artists added humourous touches, changed the geographical location, or even included sociological and environmental messages in their adaptations.

Their week in studio is set as a “challenge” in which each artist must complete their interpretation within a set time, before the bell rings on Saturday afternoon.

The public was invited to watch them at work throughout the week. Besides chatting with each RipOff Artist about their work, they could view displays outlining Adam’s life, work, and theories of photography, as well as the RipOffs’ own background research on colour, materials used, and artistic styles.

Enid Baker, quilter, selected warm tones that contrasted with the Depression era black and white photograph, first painting on cloth, then sewing the pieces together (top photo). Baker decided the Depression definitely needed a facewlift!

Terry Irvine, fibre artists first dyed her fibres choosing symbolic colours representing the various zodiacal signs in her family. She then wet felted the wool fibres until they formed a bright and whimsical picture. Terry envisioned a post-apocalyptic version of the San Fransisco warehouses, when  flora and fauna have taken over the dingy neighbourhood. Sheep, birds, and even honeybees cavort among the abandoned, vine-covered buildings.

Russell Work, photographer, found new inspiration at the last minute. Originally he had planned to digitally add single colours to a series of black and white reproductions of Adams’  photo, creating a panel of repeating images, each in their own hue.  During the RipOff Artist challenge week, he was suddenly inspired by the sight of Oliver’s rooftops to hunt out buildings around town with similar  architectural designs to those in the original artwork, photograph them, and digitally cut and paste them together to form a modern-day collage  with the same geometric angles in Adam’s work.

Russell spent considerable time looking for a smokestack to incorporate into the photo, but trips to the industrial area proved fruitless. He even stopped the driver of a transport truck, asking him to belch some fumes from his exhaust. he was told, by the driver and others working in the industrial area, that current practices have eliminated harmful smoke and exhaust. Russell was happy to eliminate the smoke from his digital adaptation, saying the ecological message was a profound one.

Besides printing a finished photograph, he displayed the image on computer as a “transmogrification” from Ansel’s original black and white, to Russell’s “Oliver Warehouses”. A separate photograph labels each roof and piece of corrugated siding with building names and streets for easy Oliver reference.

JoAnn Turner, painting on wood, revelled in having four “canvases” to work on. Her choice of material was a plain pine firewood box. Each side of the box was painted in a different style: a faithful reproduction of the original black and white, a sepia-toned version, a colour reproduction (pictured), and a neon-bright, cubist interpretation. JoAnn elected to leave the top bare, so she could add a seat cushion later.

Leo Pedersen, also working in wood, added a three-dimensi0nal  element.

Kurt Hutterli, working with found objects in 3-D, added a very sentimental touch to his large reproduction. All the buildings were constructed from layer upon layer of corrugated cardboard. But not just any cardboard. Kurt used cardboard from boxes he had kept since his and his wife Marianne’s move from Switzerland many years ago. That must mean you intend to stay, Kurt!

Not pictured is Kurt’s reproduction of the electrial pole, a stand-alone piece some distance from the warehouses pictured. The wires are faintly visible.

Working as an artistic collective has its advantages, both Kurt and Leo used fibre artist Tery Irvine’s wool for the smoke.

Barb Levant, weaver, experimented with various wood fibres now used in textiles, such as bamboo thread.

Marion Trimble, mixed-media collage artist, took the opportunity to study Ansel Adams’ 11-tone theory of photographing black and white images. Trimble wanted colour to be used only as an “addition” to the original photograph, not a change to the photograph.

First, Marion set herself the challenge of finding the exact shades among her collection of magazine and newspaper clippings,  for each portion of the photograph. She kept files, numbered according to Adams’ tonal chart , to store her clippings, then painstakingly glued them into the correct position.

To add to the complexity of her work, Trimble incorporated famous quotes by Adams. These appeared  in the only colourful portion of her collage: graffiti on the warehouse walls!  Part of Marion’s background research was on graffiti art, in order to faithfully represent different styles of this colourful art form.

Photo Credit: Val Friesen, Penelope Johnson

RipOff Artists bring colour to Ansel Adams' Warehouses

As their name suggests, the RipOff Artists are a cheeky bunch. Not content to let famous artists rest, the group chooses lesser-known works by the great masters and reinterprets them — each in their own medium.  In previous years, this multimedia collective of local artists has tackled van Gogh, Klimt, the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, Georgia O’Keeffe , and others.

In 2012 the artists took on the challenge of  “ripping off” the famous American landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, by reimagining his black and white images as colour.  The group gathered for their annual Challenge Week August 6 – 11 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre.  Working in colourful yarn, paints, threads, cloth, and digital images,  the RipOff Artists brought new energy and life to one of his little-known photographs, “San Francisco Warehouses”.  Not simply adding colour,  many of the RipOff artists added humourous touches, changed the geographical location, or even included sociological and environmental messages in their adaptations.

Their week in studio is set as a “challenge” in which each artist must complete their interpretation within a set time, before the bell rings on Saturday afternoon.

The public was invited to watch them at work throughout the week. Besides chatting with each RipOff Artist about their work, they could view displays outlining Adam’s life, work, and theories of photography, as well as the RipOffs’ own background research on colour, materials used, and artistic styles.

Enid Baker, quilter, selected warm tones that contrasted with the Depression era black and white photograph, first painting on cloth, then sewing the pieces together (top photo). Baker decided the Depression definitely needed a facewlift!

Terry Irvine, fibre artists first dyed her fibres choosing symbolic colours representing the various zodiacal signs in her family. She then wet felted the wool fibres until they formed a bright and whimsical picture. Terry envisioned a post-apocalyptic version of the San Fransisco warehouses, when  flora and fauna have taken over the dingy neighbourhood. Sheep, birds, and even honeybees cavort among the abandoned, vine-covered buildings.

Russell Work, photographer, found new inspiration at the last minute. Originally he had planned to digitally add single colours to a series of black and white reproductions of Adams’  photo, creating a panel of repeating images, each in their own hue.  During the RipOff Artist challenge week, he was suddenly inspired by the sight of Oliver’s rooftops to hunt out buildings around town with similar  architectural designs to those in the original artwork, photograph them, and digitally cut and paste them together to form a modern-day collage  with the same geometric angles in Adam’s work.

Russell spent considerable time looking for a smokestack to incorporate into the photo, but trips to the industrial area proved fruitless. He even stopped the driver of a transport truck, asking him to belch some fumes from his exhaust. he was told, by the driver and others working in the industrial area, that current practices have eliminated harmful smoke and exhaust. Russell was happy to eliminate the smoke from his digital adaptation, saying the ecological message was a profound one.

Besides printing a finished photograph, he displayed the image on computer as a “transmogrification” from Ansel’s original black and white, to Russell’s “Oliver Warehouses”. A separate photograph labels each roof and piece of corrugated siding with building names and streets for easy Oliver reference.

JoAnn Turner, painting on wood, revelled in having four “canvases” to work on. Her choice of material was a plain pine firewood box. Each side of the box was painted in a different style: a faithful reproduction of the original black and white, a sepia-toned version, a colour reproduction (pictured), and a neon-bright, cubist interpretation. JoAnn elected to leave the top bare, so she could add a seat cushion later.

Leo Pedersen, also working in wood, added a three-dimensi0nal  element.

Kurt Hutterli, working with found objects in 3-D, added a very sentimental touch to his large reproduction. All the buildings were constructed from layer upon layer of corrugated cardboard. But not just any cardboard. Kurt used cardboard from boxes he had kept since his and his wife Marianne’s move from Switzerland many years ago. That must mean you intend to stay, Kurt!

Not pictured is Kurt’s reproduction of the electrial pole, a stand-alone piece some distance from the warehouses pictured. The wires are faintly visible.

Working as an artistic collective has its advantages, both Kurt and Leo used fibre artist Tery Irvine’s wool for the smoke.

Barb Levant, weaver, experimented with various wood fibres now used in textiles, such as bamboo thread.

Marion Trimble, mixed-media collage artist, took the opportunity to study Ansel Adams’ 11-tone theory of photographing black and white images. Trimble wanted colour to be used only as an “addition” to the original photograph, not a change to the photograph.

First, Marion set herself the challenge of finding the exact shades among her collection of magazine and newspaper clippings,  for each portion of the photograph. She kept files, numbered according to Adams’ tonal chart , to store her clippings, then painstakingly glued them into the correct position.

To add to the complexity of her work, Trimble incorporated famous quotes by Adams. These appeared  in the only colourful portion of her collage: graffiti on the warehouse walls!  Part of Marion’s background research was on graffiti art, in order to faithfully represent different styles of this colourful art form.

Photo Credit: Val Friesen, Penelope Johnson

RipOff Artists go-go-go Gothic

The RipOff Artists fifth anniversary Challenge concluded this week with a race to the finish, a ringing bell, and a burst of applause and cheers. The multimedia collective has been hard at work since Monday July 4 creating several works of art inspired by American Gothic by Grant Wood. As an added challenge, each artist in the collective chose their own iconic artist to imitate when “ripping off” the original piece. At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday July 9 , the time ran out on this year’s Challenge, with most artists completing their work.

 

 

 

Marion Trimble followed the style of Mexican painter Freida Kahlo when recreating American Gothic in mixed media. Freida and artist husband Diego Rivera replace the farming couple. Rivera holds a set of paint brushes instead of the pitchfork. The farmhouse only partially conceals Kahlo’s famous Blue House studio. Lush palm trees stand in for Iowa fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Hutterli, a 3-D artist specializing and found objects and recycled materials, copied the bold style of Alexander Calder. Hutterli incorporates  Calder’s palette of bright primary colours for the simple wood figures, and Calder’s love of mobiles for the clouds pverhead. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JoAnn Turner, painting on a wooden cabinet, adopted the style of Byzantine iconography for a “diptych” of the farming couple, giving them the dark brown eyes and swarthy complexion more typical of  Byzantine art.    The drawer above was decorated with Byzantine architecture. Turner says she has more detail work to do, perhaps incorporating the delicate artwork of another medieval religious painter Hildegard of Bingen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encaustic artist Thea Haubrich mimicked the style of Japanese wood-block artist  Katsushika Hokusai. Hokusai is well-known for The Great Wave and several paintings of Mount Fuji. In Haubrich’s reproduction, a pagoda replaces the farmhouse in the background. In front, a Japanese lady and a grimacing samurai (in wire-frame spectacles) pose together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilter Dianne Birnie experimented in the style of Gustav Klimt. She combined two separate society portraits by Klimt. She enjoyed the contrast between Klimt’s high society models and the American dustbowl setting of the dirty 30s.

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer Russell Work adopted the style of Salvador Dali. Work took inspiration from several of Dali’s techniques: Melting timepieces were replaced with a melting  cameo brooch and eyeglasses.  Dali’s use of wire suspension and props were used for the farmhouse and the farmer’s chin. Dali’s famous waxed mustache twirls into curled and drooping pitchfork tines. Mimicking Dali’s Mae West painting, in which the actress’ face is transformed into a stage, Russell Work similarly transforms the farmwife’s face and blouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leo Pedersen admits he struggled to find an appropriate artistic style in which to reproduce American Gothic in his chosen medium: wood.  He finally settled on something very unconventional but entirely appropriate, Vancouver Sun editorial cartoonist. Len Norris. Norris was known for “skewering social mores”, much like it is supposed Grant Wood does in American Gothic. Pedersen’s work includes a typical editorial caption poking fun at the RipOff Artists, Grant Wood, and Norris himself: “…and this just when we’re through posing for that cartoonist fellow!” grumbles the farmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barb Levant took her inspiration from a 1930s textile artist to recreate the apron worn in American Gothic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In perhaps the most challenging recreation of American Gothic, fibre artist Terri Irvine knits a Picasso!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enid Baker’s painting was inspired by the style of Modigliani, whose models are often shown with elongated bodies, oddly bent necks,  and mask-like faces. Basing her design on Modigliani’s portrait Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz, she added a wine glass in Jacques hand– much more  appealing than a pitchfork! The background is based on a separate Modigliani landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enid must have had time on her hands, because she also completed this “Gothic” version of  Charles Schultz’s  Peanuts comic. “I was tempted to add some Gothic vampire teeth,” said Baker.

Missed the show? Watch for a RipOff Artists exhibit later in the year….

 Photo credit: Penelope Johnson

RipOff Artists "Stick It" to American Gothic

“All the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow,” declared Grant Wood whose American Gothic painting of the dour-faced pitchfork wielding farmer and his sister is famous worldwide.  Wood’s masterpiece became a national symbol; a vision of hope during the Depression that still resonates today. “Because American Gothic is so iconic, it was the perfect mark for this year’s RipOff challenge,” raves fiber artist, Terry Irvine.

This July the RipOff Artists stick it to American Gothic at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver, BC. This multi-media collective includes artists working in fibre (quilting, felting, weaving), photography, mixed media collage, oils and acrylics, 3-D installations, and encaustic (hot beeswax).  For the fifth year in a row, this nefarious group has dared to take on the grand masters of art. To mark such an auspicious occasion, they added a twist to the proceedings. Each artist has chosen another artist through which to interpret American Gothic. It’s double the ripoff and double the fun!

The public is welcome to watch the RipOff Artists assume the styles of  Picasso, Klimt, and Degas, along with seven other famous artists, and reinterpret Wood.  

American Gothic Challenge
Monday July 4 – Saturday July 9
Opening Reception:
Monday July 4, 
6 – 8 pm
Daily Hours:
Tuesday July 5 – Saturday July 9
9 am to 3 pm 

You are encouraged to come frequently during the week to get a true sense of how their artwork progresses from rough idea to finished creation.  Be sure to see the completed project on the Saturday! It will be left to you to decide: Is Wood’s masterpiece a celebration of America’s stoic determination during the Depression? Or is the finished product a critique of those same American values? Come view the action and decide for yourself.

Incidentally, the treasures from the four previous “RipOff raids” are currently on display at Leir House Cultural Centre in Penticton until June 23. You can view their “stolen” interpretations of Gustav Klimt’s Emilie Floge, Goergia O’Keeffe’s Pink Tulip, Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses, and Lawren Harris’ Mount Lefroy in a variety of artistic media.

For more information about the RipOff Artists, click on their link under “Member Groups” in the column at right.  Or use the search bar on our website (type in “RipOffs”) for photos and articles from their past shows.

RipOff Artists “Stick It” to American Gothic

“All the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow,” declared Grant Wood whose American Gothic painting of the dour-faced pitchfork wielding farmer and his sister is famous worldwide.  Wood’s masterpiece became a national symbol; a vision of hope during the Depression that still resonates today. “Because American Gothic is so iconic, it was the perfect mark for this year’s RipOff challenge,” raves fiber artist, Terry Irvine.

This July the RipOff Artists stick it to American Gothic at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver, BC. This multi-media collective includes artists working in fibre (quilting, felting, weaving), photography, mixed media collage, oils and acrylics, 3-D installations, and encaustic (hot beeswax).  For the fifth year in a row, this nefarious group has dared to take on the grand masters of art. To mark such an auspicious occasion, they added a twist to the proceedings. Each artist has chosen another artist through which to interpret American Gothic. It’s double the ripoff and double the fun!

The public is welcome to watch the RipOff Artists assume the styles of  Picasso, Klimt, and Degas, along with seven other famous artists, and reinterpret Wood.  

American Gothic Challenge
Monday July 4 – Saturday July 9
Opening Reception:
Monday July 4, 
6 – 8 pm
Daily Hours:
Tuesday July 5 – Saturday July 9
9 am to 3 pm 

You are encouraged to come frequently during the week to get a true sense of how their artwork progresses from rough idea to finished creation.  Be sure to see the completed project on the Saturday! It will be left to you to decide: Is Wood’s masterpiece a celebration of America’s stoic determination during the Depression? Or is the finished product a critique of those same American values? Come view the action and decide for yourself.

Incidentally, the treasures from the four previous “RipOff raids” are currently on display at Leir House Cultural Centre in Penticton until June 23. You can view their “stolen” interpretations of Gustav Klimt’s Emilie Floge, Goergia O’Keeffe’s Pink Tulip, Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses, and Lawren Harris’ Mount Lefroy in a variety of artistic media.

For more information about the RipOff Artists, click on their link under “Member Groups” in the column at right.  Or use the search bar on our website (type in “RipOffs”) for photos and articles from their past shows.

RipOff Artists Retrospective Opening May 12

The RipOff Artists are a multimedia collective who set themselves a new challenge each year to “rip off” a famous work of art, reproducing it in their own medium. Photography, fibre art (weaving, felting, and quilting), painting, 3-D, found objects, encaustic (hot wax painting), and more!   2011 is their fifth anniversary, and in celebration they are mounting  a retrospective of their previous work.

Do you need to catch up on any of the four RipOff challenges over the years? Missed any of the following exhibits: Wheatfield with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh (2007), Emilie Floge by Gustav Klimt (2008), Pink Tulip by Georgia O’Keeffe (2009), or Mount Lefroy by Lawren Harris (2010)?

Here’s a taste of their work. At left is Klimt’s Emilie Floge interpreted in mixed-media collage by Marion Trimble. Below is Harris’ Mount Lefroy reimagined as a small painted cabinet by JoAnn Turner.

You can see them all at once at the

RipOff Retrospective
May 12 – June 23, 2011
Opening reception: May 12, 7 – 9 p.m.
Leir House, 220 Manor Park Avenue, Penticton BC, V2A 2R2
Phone: (250) 492-7997  

 

RipOff Artists make it official

It’s official: the RipOff Artists are the newest group to join the Oliver Community Arts Council. In their own words, the RipOff Artists are “a group of talented artists in many media who join forces every summer to interpret a masterpiece by a famous artist in their own way, to learn new skills and have a lot of fun. ” Pictured at left, they are: Terry Irvine (fibre), Kurt Hutterli (3D, found objects), Barb Levant (weaving), Thea Haubrich (encaustic), Enid Baker (fine art, quilting), JoAnn Turner (fine art on objects), Marion Trimble (fine art, collage, mixed media),  Russell Work (photography) and — not pictured — Dianne Birnie (quilting).

Nearly all its members have also been  individual members of the council, with a few serving as executive officers of the OCAC over the years. All this had given the group a long and affectionate association with the council. Group status, however, confers added benefits to the collective.  The group is now able to apply to the OCAC for financial aid (a “contracted service agreement”) for any public event such as a workshop, performance, class, or exhibit, which reflects the mandates of the arts council.  The group also benefits from publicity (like this!).

Need to catch up on all four of the RipOff challenges over the years? Missed any of the following exhibits: Wheatfield with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh (2007), Emilie Floge by Gustav Klimt (2008), Pink Tulip by Georgia O’Keeffe (2009), or Mount Lefroy by Lawren Harris (2010)?  You can see them all at once at the

RipOff Retrospective
May 12 – June 23, 2011
Leir House, Penticton, BC
Opening reception: May 12, 7 – 9 p.m.

The RipOffs have chosen their fifth annual challenge: American Gothic by Grant Wood.  You know it: the dour looking farmer with a pitchfork and his spinster daughter in an apron (not a couple, as many assume). The title of the painting refers to the architecture of the farmhouse behind them:  a gothic style window is visible in the second storey.  The image is iconic, and much parodied, so it will indeed be a challenge for these nine creative people to really “stick it to Wood” as the RipOffs say on their website.  watch them in action during the

Fifth RipOff Challenge!
“American Gothic” by Grant Wood
July 4 – July 9, 2011
Quail’s Nest Art Centre, Oliver, BC
Opening reception: July 4, 6 – 8 PM

Take a look at the wonderful retrospective of their art at their very own website:  http://www.ripoffartists.ca/index.html