"So what's it gonna take? Silver shadow believer..." -Shiny Toy Guns

Monday, June 1, 2009

Story of Graphic Designer and Fine Arts Creator, Richard “Ricky” Watts

“Completing pieces is like growing limbs, you cut one off and a new one grows.” –Ricky Watts

Ricky Watts is a freelance graphic designer and artist based in Northern California. He is proficient in all aspects of graphic design from concept, to production, to completion. A skilled painter and illustrator, exploring many mediums--brush, pen, mouse, pencil, and can–-he feeds his passion for fine art on canvases shown in galleries and commissioned surfaces up and down the west coast.

Ricky Watts has been an artist his whole life, but it wasn’t until his early teens that he got serious about his true passion. He was born in San Francisco and soon after, moved north to Sonoma County. With the encouragement of his family, it was here that he made the decision to do what he loved for the rest of his life. Ricky’s dad was always supportive, “I think it was mostly because of his love for art, he was a painter too, and never seriously pursued it,” Ricky said. Not only just a contributor to Ricky’s pursuit in fine art, his dad also paved the way for his interest in graphic design, “When I was in high school, my dad brought home an old Apple computer from work as a birthday present–-it had Photoshop 3.0 on it--so I started messing around with it and really enjoyed working with the program.”

Growing up, Ricky spent a lot of time drawing and studying typography. Through peers in junior high, he was introduced to graffiti art, which would later become an important aspect of his career. “In eighth grade my friend Jared brought the magazine Can Control, out of Seattle, to math class and after seeing it, I knew I wanted to do it.” Always interested in bending letters, style writing came naturally to him, “Sneaking out in the middle of the night to go paint; it was rebellious and exciting.” He decided he wanted to pursue the art form, both personally and professionally. Into adulthood, his love for aerosol lead to the creation of pieces on paper and canvas, where he turned “rebellious graffiti” into sophisticated works of art.

He went on to complete advanced placement art classes in high school and after graduation, went to college. “I thought to myself, how can I turn art into making money? I’ll go to art school.” He accepted many jobs to get him by while in school–-Blockbuster, Safeway, even a doctor’s office, “I was dead broke, so I took a job at Safeway, where they promoted me to the meat department. It was the worst promotion of my life! I had the cleanup shift--it was disgusting. I lasted 3 months.” He received a degree in graphic design at the Art Institute of California in San Diego and got a job at a print shop where he did just about everything. Designing logos and marketing elements came naturally coming from his background and so did his promotions, as Ricky moved up in his career. But after two and half years in San Diego, a degree, and numerous completed pieces, Ricky decided to come home. He moved back to Petaluma experienced and with an impressive portfolio to show for it.

Ricky continued working for print shops, carried out his passion for painting and drawing, and did freelance anywhere and everywhere in between. “I worked at design during the day and painted at night. I was doing a lot of canvases and exploring other fine art elements.” Being in the industry for the last 8 years, Ricky has developed a very unique skill set. He’s covered all aspects of print media–-designing as well as preflighting and production. He’s designed numerous event flyers, marketing materials and worked on collaborative projects with other artists and designers.

Ricky has finished hundreds of fine art pieces, in multiple mediums, having had his work displayed in many shows and galleries. “The first show I actually ever did was at Sonoma State University, in the Student Union. It brought about a lot of visibility to my work.” Ricky has since done shows as far south as San Diego to as far north as Portland. “I have put paintings in shows and after taking them down, have added to them, only for them to go up in shows again. I have a lot of unfinished projects.” That’s ok, Ricky Watts in himself is a constant work in progress, always reinventing and emerging with new innovations for design and art works.

If you are in need of a fresh new perspective, Ricky is currently taking on new freelance design projects. He also has beautiful prints available for sale in limited amounts, each signed and numbered. For more information, please visit: www.rickywatts.com

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