#FOURArt | Art talks with Jill Ricci

11 Oct 2015
4 min read
Celebrating the launch of Moniker Art Fair, the premier contemporary urban art fair, which kicks off in London on Thursday, we speak to Jill Ricci, whose colourful urban patchwork pieces will be on show

How did you become involved in art?

I first studied art in college and began doing murals and street art in Chicago soon after, which then led to the creation of Surface Art & Design, a small company which specialises in murals, decorative painting and interior design. Once I decided to pursue fine art full time, it came fairly naturally.

How would you describe your style?

Elegant and gritty, urban and earthy. My style is a mash-up of urban, decorative and global motifs and symbols created using collage, spray paint, Venetian plaster, wax and leaf. By incorporating materials that are linked to the realities of daily life, I strive to establish an immediate identification between the viewer and the work of art. I am exploring the place between ‘high art’ and popular culture, text and image, figuration and abstraction, past and present, and two and three-dimensional space.

What was the vision behind your works atthe Moniker Art Fair 2015?

I wouldn’t say I had a particular vision in mind when creating the works for Moniker. Usually I begin working without a final vision in mind; I use collected materials and allow pattern, texture, colour and structure to emerge organically. I did work closely with the gallery director, Anna Smithson, to figure out which pieces would work best with the other artists exhibiting and the overall booth design.

Where did you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everywhere: design, architecture, fashion, nature, sacred geometry, graffiti. I have a large inspiration wall in my studio filled with colours, patterns, images and photos that I reference constantly. I also take photos all the time of anything that catches my eye, so that I’ll remember [it]. The most recent specific and direct inspiration was from a squash that was the most beautiful celadon green. So I recreated that colour and texture in Venetian plaster for a new piece.

How long did it take to bring this project from concept to completion?

It’s hard to answer this question, because I work on about five to ten pieces at any given time. There are so many layers that need to cure in my work, that I don’t really pay attention to the amount of time involved in specific pieces/projects.

Why do you think it is important tochampioncontemporaryart and its artists?

Aside from being an artist, I also own and curate a contemporary art gallery, Parlor Gallery, in Asbury Park, NJ. The reasons to champion and support contemporary, living artists are too many to list, but I think one of the most important is that I’ve seen art change lives and affect people in ways I could have never imagined.

It’s always amazing to me that we are all artists as children and are encouraged to make art until we get older. Why is art not nurtured beyond childhood? A simple answer would be that our world would be a sad one without art and artists.

Apart from the Moniker Art Fair, what else can be done to showcase the works of under-the-radarurbanartists?

There are so many ways to showcase the works of unknown and under-the-radar artists, especially in our age of social media. Artists and curators can do pop-up art events anywhere. I’ve always told artists seeking advice about starting an art career to exhibit your work anywhere that will have you, whether it be a coffee shop, bar, clothing store… art shouldn’t be confined to the walls of galleries and art fairs…so the options are endless. My gallery partner just finished the first phase of a project to promote street artists, while simultaneously beautifying the abandoned buildings on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ. We invited both well known and under-the-radar artists to create murals on the boarded up sections of historic buildings. We convinced the company that is developing and preserving the buildings to find the resources to pay the artists and cover their supplies and lodging. It simultaneously gave the artists fantastic exposure, the developers a reputation for being both socially conscious and arts-minded and gave the public a chance to be exposed to murals and art that they would only find in a major city, not in our small beach town.

What kind of reaction do you hope guests will have at this years Art Fair?

I would hope guests discover some amazing new artists or inspiration and I always hope people experience something new or unexpected.

Are there any artistsexhibiting at the fair that you are excited to see?

Kareem Rizk and D*Face are both artists I always like seeing new work from. Also I’d like to see the work of Ally McIntyre as I’ve never seen it live.

What’s next for you?

In my immediate future, I’m working with a Paris &and New York-based company, FavorEats on creating large-scale awnings for an exciting new restaurant in Soho, NY. The main designer on the project is under wraps right now, but let’s just say I couldn’t be more excited as it’s a dream project. [I’m] also busy getting ready to exhibit some work in SCOPE Miami Beach in December and then travelling for an artist residency in New Orleans for the month of January. It’s going to be a busy year!


Don’t miss the Moniker Art Fair, thepremier contemporary urban art fair, which takes place at The Old Truman Brewey from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 October.

Quote FOUR50 to claim 50% off the ticket price by clicking the link above.