Meet the Artist: Rick Sargent

Rick is a professional illustrator whose art tries to capture both the detail and motion of a moment. He specializes in portraiture and subjects in nature. He earned a Bachelor Degree in Art from the University of Georgia and a Master of Science degree in Medical Illustration from the Medical College of Georgia. He has studied painting at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Academy DuCret in New Jersey.  His work is inspired by the symbolism and significance of everyday events. His major artistic influences are Rembrandt, Ingres, Millet, John Singer Sargent, and Bo Bartlett. He was honored to win the 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run Poster competition and picked by the Town of Mt Pleasant to participate in a beautification project.
TSS:  What is your background in art and what inspired you to become an artist?
RS:  I have always loved to draw.  Like most kids, I would draw my favorite cartoons and in high school I would draw Calvin and Hobbes in my friends yearbooks.  I worked at drawing and felt natural in most creative environments.  That being said I did not think I would ever have a career as an artist.  I also love science and how the body works, so at University of Georgia I started out Premed.  It was my high school art teacher who I ran into my sophomore year at UGA who asked me to consider medical illustration. That summer I met a medical illustrator and was fascinated with the work he was creating.  I changed my major to Art and the rest is history.
TSS:  How would you describe your personal artistic style?
RS:  As an illustrator it is my goal to communicate a specific message clearly. I try to stay focused on a message but I work in a looser style in my fine art.  I want to have areas that are incomplete, broken lines and a touch of abstraction while showing the beauty of the moment or scene I am depicting.

TSS:  How long does the average piece take you to create?
RS: I get asked how long a piece typically takes often.  I had one professor tell me that  his answer to "How long did this painting take you?" was "Thirty years."  I see his point in that fluidity of a line drawn took 50 tries before it.  I research and take a ton of pictures and adjust the images to fit composition or add drama.  I will make 3 or 4 preliminary sketches and then set to making a final piece.  I would say each piece is several hours involving decision making and execution.

TSS:  What inspired the ideas behind your Bike series?
RS: Bikes to me are freedom.  They are our first taste of motion, cruising, trust and independence.  I do ride but am not an avid cyclist.  I feel energized every time I make it out on my bike whether cruising or exercise.  I wanted to capture our lowcountry relationship with bikes. 

TSS:  Which do you decide first, the medium or the subject?
RS:  I almost always choose subject first. There are subjects that if I have to force into a medium the story is diminished.  It is a struggle to walk into Artist and Craftsman and see so many wonderful supplies and not fill my basket.  Besides Jesus, exploration and possibility feed my soul.  So, from time to time I find something new and will see what subject fits that medium.

TSS: Do you have the subject of your art in front of you when you draw?
RS:  Generally, yes.  I like having my eyes take in full detail and then let my mind decide what leave out.  

TSS:  What is your favorite thing to draw?
RS:  Very tough question.  Things that are organic and textured are fun to depict.  I have the freedom to edit and interpret. I also love to draw the human form, so challenging to do it well.
TSS:   What are you inspired to create next?
RS: I think I will work with nature. Nests, flowers and organic textures and who knows maybe a landscape or two might pop up.  
You can see Rick's entire collection of artwork, including the Play series, Nature series and Bike series here. Join us Tuesday, October 16 from 5-8 pm at The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Rd, Charleston, SC for a reception featuring the work of Shana Grugan and Rick Sargent.  

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