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A creative muse born in childhood

Brenda HimelfarbDaily CorrespondentVail CO Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Artist Ravi Zupa is known as a master of mimicry and illusion. He creates work that plays tricks on the eyes. Like a magician who uses sleight of hand, Zupa meticulously hand renders each piece with a intricate techniques and detail that leave viewers awestruck.At one time, Zupa worked in the animation and film industry in San Francisco doing commercial work for KFC, Nike and Ritz crackers. He also worked on the development of the Rocky & Bullwinkle film. No surprise, as Zupa delights in the imagination of children. “I started doing art at the same time everybody else did,” he said. “I just kept going. Every little kid is an artist. Every kid’s a dancer and a singer and everything, but then at some point along the way, we lose it.”Fortunately for art-lovers, Zupa never lost it. He creates paintings, drawings and videography.”I just try to craft something that hits people with an immediate experience,” Zupa said. “I just like art so much, and I get such a visceral, immediate experience from looking at books of art or looking at art on the street or whatever it is, and I just want other people to have the same experience that I have and feel the same neediness and vibrance that I feel when I look at art.”Zupa, who created the artwork being used to publicize “Art on the Rockies,” makes the viewers question the work. What is hidden? What is the historical meaning of the painting? Zupa asks the viewers to evaluate their own interpretation, their own symbolism.In Denver, Zupa works as a community educator with Deproduction/Denver Open Media and collaborates on art and video projects for the Parts and Labor Union with Mat Reichardt. “We’re trying to blend everything that we’re interested in, like music and video, live performance and narrative,” Zupa said. “There are so many opportunities, now, to combine those things.”Over the years, Zupa has held fast to his childhood “creative muse.” “Whenever I’m working on art, it’s always like I’m going back and forth between a lot of things,” he said. “I feel a profound resentment when art tries to shut me out or seeks to relegate me to passive observer, non participant. My hope is that I can generate the same optimism and empowerment that I feel when I look at beautiful art or listen to people thinking through the complexities of life.”


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