Supporting the Arts | Featured Artist: Kyle Ragsdale

The Rogue Gondolier, Dimensions: 24” x 30”, Medium: oil on canvas | This painting was inspired by watching travel documentaries on television during quarantine. It seems like they’ve gone off course.

How are you adapting to the stay at home orders?

For the most part, we have enjoyed our time at home. I’ve loved the time spent gardening and, like many people, I have also learned a lot about baking and grilling during this quarantine. At the beginning of the pandemic, I moved some of my studio from the Harrison Center to my garage and I have enjoyed the change of scenery. I keep the garage door up, and love watching kids on bikes and families walking down our Fountain Square alley. I’ve painted a lot and I currently have a virtual show on the Harrison Center website called “​Waiting for the Storm to Pass​” that includes work created over the last few months.

What is inspiring your work during this time?

I am an intuitive painter and as I work, subconscious thoughts emerge. In recent weeks, as I paint, I have been simultaneously sorting out my feelings and in the process, a theme has emerged. I have been painting people waiting in trees, distancing, but waiting. Some wait in boats, some sport revolutionary-era costumes. I find it cathartic to “paint through” thoughts and feelings on separation and race and hope and waiting. The slower pace of my life now has allowed me great blocks of time to create. I’m grateful for my work and how it helps to keep me sane.

How can people contact you and purchase art or further support you?

People can contact me directly at​ ​kyle@harrisoncenter.org​, follow my work on Instagram​ ​@KyleRagsdale​, o​r my website​ ​www.kyleragsdale.com​ ​(although this is currently being updated). To purchase work from the current show at the Harrison Center, call (317) 396-3886 or shop online at https://www.harrisoncenter.org/waiting-for-the-storm-to-pass​. ​The Harrison Center is doing great work during this time to care for artists, work for racial justice and build community in Indy.

Whatever Makes You Happy, Dimensions: 24” x 30”, Medium: oil on canvas | This painting revisits the “bateau” theme and features people from different time periods waiting in a boat. This theme first appeared in 2012 in the ​mural I painted on the Central Canal​ in downtown Indianapolis for the “46 for XLVI” mural project. I refurbished the mural in mid-May of this year.
Soldier On, Dimensions: 9” x 12”, Medium: oil on canvas | This painting was inspired by the pageantry of military costume.
Turquoise Ruffles, Dimensions: 9” x 12”, Medium: acrylic on panel | This painting harkens back to old themes of my work which reflect a long-held fascination with costumes and abstract paint coming together.
Linked Collection, Dimensions: 4’ x 5’, Medium: oil on canvas | This painting was created as May turned to June and sirens and helicopters from distant protests were heard overhead. It relates to earlier Hamilton-inspired work. The use of metallic paints makes the shimmering colors change in the light.

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