Brad and Sundie Ruppert have a fascination with texture and the need to innovate by creating unique mixed media sculptures. Their most recent body of work gives new life to perhaps the oldest textile used today, fur felt, specifically , the remnants trimmed from the brims of felt hats. They have developed a process of cutting, bending and layering the intricate felt pieces over carved wood, creating incredible likenesses of their natural subject matter.
These two Iowa artists reference multiple photographic images to realistically interpret the color, movement and emotion of their nature-inspired subjects. Sundie explains, “We try to capture the soul that shines through bright eyes, soft fur and sleek feathers.” Brad adds, “Viewers are drawn in by a type of optical illusion. The soulful eyes grab them first. Next, the brain tries to comprehend if they are viewing a painting or a sculpture and then finally, they reach out and touch the soft felt to fully indulge in the experience.”
The Ruppert’s’ appreciation of nature developed over a decade as Art and Creative Directors specializing in gardening for Meredith Corporation’s Better Homes and Gardens and Home Garden magazines. Then, as pioneers in the early days of e-commerce they spearheaded the creative look and feel of garden.com and companion printed magalog, Garden Escape. In 2000, they left corporate America to become full-time artists.
Their creative innovations are part of many private and public collections that include Epic Systems Corporation in Wisconsin. They have received multiple awards at juried art shows including Best of Show Mixed Media, MMoCA Art Fair on the Square and a juror’s award from Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival. They have also had the honor of exhibiting at Denver’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Yard Dog Gallery in Austin, Texas has represented them since 2001.
Sundie (’87) and Brad (’88) both received their Bachelor of Fine Art degrees in Graphic Design from Iowa State University.
Photo Credit: Lumiere TinType
HATitude by Greeley Hatworks