Wednesday, February 1, 2012

INSPIRE ME! Artist, Charles Tripp

All these are about engaging God.
Garden of Eden from the Seven Jacket Messiah series
By Ernest Disney-Britton

On Saturday, April 7, 2012 (Easter Weekend), Pastor Charles Tripp, Sr, artist-in-residence at the Indiana Interchurch Center brings to triumphant close, a 3-part exhibition entitled, "Personal Journeys." His art is a reflection of his personal sojourn, as the son of a Pastor, and a current Pastor. As a husband and brother, and as a father and as a artist. With a creative foundation firmly laid with great Baptist hymns played by his mother and training at Jackson State University and Sangamon State University, he has a powerful story to share in this enlightening exhibition, "Seven Jacket Messiah: Gathering of Sentinals." 
The artist by one of his paintings
  1. What is your faith tradition, and where did you become an artist who explores religion? When I was 12 year's old, we were in the cotton fields of Mississippi when during a break I picked up a piece of shirt-cardboard from inside my father's car, Pastor B.J. Dixon, and began drawing one of the men working. In that moment, my father affirmed my work, and it has stayed with me ever since. While I have not always stayed on the Christian path he set, deviating as many do, I am a Christian today, and I believe part of being a Christian is utilizing every good and gracious gift from God. It is part of our relationship with God.
  2. The final work in the Seven Jacket Messiah series
  3. How do you describe your art? Why style or genre is it? It is probably more surrealistic which means there is a strain of mysticism in the works. There is a peeping beyond the veil quality: mystic dreamer, having seen, dare reveal, having hear, date tell, having engaged, dare to believe.
    Detail from one of the paintings in Seven Jacket Messiah
  4. Have you ever had to defend exploring religious themes? Yes, I have. Inspite of the excellence of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and others, somewhere in this Post-Renaissance era, artists have begun to get diminished affirmation of their skills, especially when they explore spiritual themes. The word "mediocre" has come to replace the word "creative" when discussing such works.
    From the Mandala series
  5. What do your feel when you create? I start with the seriousness of the idea. Everything else is about surrender to that idea. It is typically a spiritual idea trying to take form as a material manifestation. The ideas carry forward to a potent place, and it carries itself there. All these things are about engaging God. Whether he comes to me or I come to him.
  6. From Tripp's series on threads in life
  7. Who would you like to collect your work? Ordinary people. Right now I am my primary collector. I create and I keep, but that's not my desire. It's however where my energies have been focused [creating].
  8. "Crucifixon" by Salvador Dali
  9. What other artists have influenced your style, or commitment? Let's see, Charles White, a great African American artists. I have also been influenced by the work of the master surrealist Salvador Dali, especially by his work the Crucifixion (above). I also credit Mark Rothko for my interest in color. The way he used color to probe pain and spirituality has made a lasting impression on me.
  10. Self Portrait
  11. Where can A&O readers find out more about you? At is a blog site we are currently working on. I also invite anyone to come visit me at my studio at Indiana Interchurch Center. Another place to experience my work is a mural created at a school where my church, Great Light Church meets each Sunday. It is called Imagine Life Science Academy Indianapolis.
I have been blessed to share the artwork, teachings, and personal journeys of Pastor Charles Tripp, and I am grateful that he gave me this opportunity to share this with you. After all, Religious Art is for Believers, but Skeptics too. "Seven Jacket Messiah: Gathering of Sentinals," at Indiana Interchurch Center Gallery, 1100 W.42nd Street, Indianapolis, IN, April 7 through April 30, 2012.