The Ruzic Realm

On November 7, 2014 by Evan Senn

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Psychedelic mastermind Ken Ruzic creates alternate realities to bring consciousness to the masses

Ken Ruzic is a well-known painter, sculptor, illustrator and tiki god, but I believe this artist is actually the love child of creative geniuses Wayne White and Peter Max. Wild, uninhibited narratives that comes to life with the strangest details and compositions, Ruzic’s works of art are kaleidoscopic explorations through the deep seas of imagination and transcendental existence. His psychedelic creations are almost always subtly politically charged, but use a bit of whimsy and cultural iconography to set a scene of powerful narratives and wild explorations through his imagination. Ruzic has been a prolific painter for years, showing all over the indie, tiki, surf and skate cultures, and creating a name for himself in the Southern California art scene. Playing in the same creative pool as Kustom Kulture artists like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Robert Williams, Von Dutch, Coop and Margaret Keane, Ruzic’s unique style and hip, fun-loving works reference art history, narratives and masterful compositions, but also utilizes fantastical modern techniques, giving a nice balance between old world and new, whimsy and sincerity, energy and stillness.

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I got the chance to visit the studio of this crazy and prolific artist, and peer into his world just for a moment. Walking into the studio of Ken Ruzic is an LSD-laced experience of intimidation, pure creativity and focused consciousness. His studio looks like an unassuming warehouse from the outside, but inside is a paradise of books and art, music and culture around every nook and cranny. A sanctuary for anyone who enters, each space was brimming with life force and passion. I walked around the space for an hour, ooing and awing at all the work, all the knowledge, and all the meticulous attention to detail, both in the artwork hung on every surface as well as the living nooks, learning corners, and tiny safe havens of creativity and chaos—all scrupulous and fascinating.

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Hundreds upon hundreds of paintings are stored in the rafters of this insane place of creativity, while still dozens are leaned on easels or against the already covered walls in the larger studio space within the warehouse. Seeing all these paintings and sculptures not only completely caught me off my guard, impressed me to max, intimidated me with so much devotion and feeling; but, more than anything else, the somewhat linear history of his life was displayed all over the walls of his world, for me to peer into. It was a spectacular view into this artist’s life and journey.

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The paintings ranged from humorous and fun to serious and politically accusatory, to creative and emotion-based. He is a smart artist on top of talented, catering to many different kinds of audiences through different styles over the years. His most recent series of works, for the PÄS / NEIGHBORHOOD Gallery in downtown Fullerton pushes and pulls with religious ideologies and anarchical tendencies.

Rebelling angels, psychedelic ancient beasts, interpretations of paradise, personifications of seasons and creepy legends, kings and queens, battles and beloveds. “Sympathies and Antipathies” is the solo exhibition that opens November 7, 2014 at PÄS. His work transforms the space in the Colony, and creates a meaningful dialogue between what art’s purpose is for individuals as well as for the community. He pushes the boundaries of political consciousness, but in a way that not only keeps you engaged and interested, but also brings insight into a community that is ripe with political angst and swaying morals.

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“Sympathies and Antipathies”

November 7-November 30, 2014

PÄS Gallery

223 W Santa Fe Ave, Fullerton, California 92832

(714) 871-2727

theshop@2pas.org

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