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 Ric Sweitzer  (1952 - )

About: Ric Sweitzer
 

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Lived/Active: Georgia      Known for: allegory-visionary

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist and his website:
Http://parallaxviewgallery.com

Ric has always enjoyed doing art. His mother, also an artist, knew that she could keep the young boy quiet for extended periods of time by simply giving him a pencil and piece of paper. But even without her encouragement, Ric would lock himself away in his room and draw for hours on end. As the years passed, the art he did took on more meaning as he began to question the world around him. This of course was fueled by the turbulent era he was growing up into.

Ric's quest for understanding began while still quite young with experimentation using certain psychotropic drugs. This was back in the late sixties, during the era of the "hippie movement" when such things were fashionable. During this time, he was greatly impressed with the artists of the day, those who's work appeared on the posters and album covers he admired and purchased. For days at a time he would lose himself in the "head shops" where their art literally covered the walls and ceilings. He not only enjoyed the tremendous artwork, but the message of peace and love they touted, believing it enough to move to Old Town, Chicago, the Midwest's answer to the west coast Haight-Ashbury scene.

In 1968, he was unwittingly involved in the Democratic National convention riots from which he barely escaped with his skin intact. Realizing that the "peace movement" of the hippie era was not quite all it was cracked up to be, his search for true peace continued with the study of both eastern and western mysticism as well as a myriad of other belief systems and persuasions.

In 1977, he moved to Colorado and joined the United Pentecostal Church International based in Hazelwood, Mo., and began an in-depth study of the Bible. Ever ready to give of himself according to his beliefs, within the space of a few years, he became a licensed, ordained minister. After studying under the tutelage of elder ministers, he founded and pastored for seven years his own church on the virtually untamed western slope of Colorado.

In 1987, becoming greatly dismayed over the religious intolerance evident within the Christian community, he turned his pastorate over to another minister, and moved to Maryland. There he acquired a top-secret security clearance and went to work for a certain government agency that for many years did not even officially exist. Employed for 10 years as a computer designer, highlights of his career include implementing the first 3-D perspective working shop drawings for practical construction use. Initially, these works were hand-drawn using the standard vellum and Mylar mediums, but in later years, when the government entered the computer age, utilizing the first CAD (Computer-Aided-Drafting) systems, he developed the first "library " of computer -generated drawings which included his successful 3-D renditions.

In 1997 his contract with the government ended. Because he had been deeply involved in developing an art career in the years preceding this, and being of a mind to make a major vocational change in his life once again, he turned his attention completely to developing a successful art career. This mid-life turn of events did nothing if not fuel Ric's artistic passions. Though no longer active in any organized church, during these most recent years, he has redoubled his quest for spiritual understanding. The outgrowth of these efforts is represented by the body of artwork called the "Parallax View."

The collection of works done by this completely self-taught artist now numbers in the hundreds and ranges in style and content from early works where the artist utilized mostly graphite and ink on paper, gradually adding color with soft and oil pastels, to later works done with oil and acrylics on canvas or board.

Artist's Statement:

"The conflicts that continually blossom in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Africa and many of the third world countries, the constant racial and ethnic wars and pogroms around the globe, and even the raging debates over such moral issues as simple as basic human rights and dignity testifies over and over again that mankind is not yet ready to meet the rest of creation. We are still unable to tolerate more than one, accepted policy on any subject considered vital. Perhaps that is why our political systems are so unstable, our politicians so blatantly dishonest, and our lawyers so rich. But it is the constant use of violence to eradicate any less popular views that is perhaps the most damning testimony that we have not advanced as a species within the universal community. At this late hour, violence, hatred and blatant disrespect for life are things we should have long ago outgrown.

Therefore, it is the belief of this artist that mankind must come to the realization that the constant warring and killing over which ideology in ANY given situation is ultimately correct and therefore enforceable, is an exercise in futility. It is just such self-centered, unevolved dark-age mentality that has been the cause of all wars, religious persecutions, ethnic 'cleansings,' and general inhumanity of mankind towards his own on this planet, and remains so until this very hour. We can no longer afford to think in parts, pieces and groups anymore.

As humbling as it is, we must consider and respect the whole... of which we are but a very small part. We really have no choice. The arrogant continuation of these self destructive life-styles and belief systems along with the mindless deterioration of our environment are escalating at an alarming rate, to the degree that they now threaten to bring the world within reach of such destruction as can only be considered biblical in proportion. We are so intent on ruling our own little world, that we are literally choking the life from it and ourselves in the process.

We exist in an incomprehensible vastness of space and stuff we call the universe, the sheer size of which is beyond our ability to grasp. When one looks up into the heavens at night and beholds the billions upon billions of stars that we can see, the idea that we are alone in all of this seems ridiculously self-centered. Man's recent discovery of solar systems nearby that are very much like our own continues to testify that our "local" universe is almost certainly teeming with life we know nothing about. It is therefore entirely possible that the rest of the universe is just as busy. The fact that we do not know about it or accept it when we do changes nothing, but it does amplify our own ignorance.

Universal vastness notwithstanding, we have had our share of visitors-- perhaps stepping in from some other time/space dimension, perhaps from pure spirit or another planet, it doesn't really matter. I am sure they are aware of our fear and distrust. Whether they are angels or UFO's, it is apparent that they prefer to keep themselves from us directly. It almost feels like we are living in a kind of 'cosmic quarantine' on this planet earth, and it is this artist's opinion that a such a thing is entirely understandable. Because of our own ignorance and insecurities, it seems fairly apparent that we cannot be trusted yet in the cosmic community. Hell, we don't even trust us! While there are many decent and kind people in this world today, the fact remains that we still have locks on our doors, clubs on our steering wheels and guns under our beds. Until these things are no longer needed in our society, it is doubtful we will be allowed to join the much larger one beyond our planet and physical realm."



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