Bryan Ricci not only paints in vibrant colors, he thinks about what color means in contemporary Los Angeles.
The painting instructor – who has taught at SMC Community Ed for three years and also teaches at Loyola Marymount University and gives private lessons to elementary school children – continuously explores themes of modern life in his art work.
Lately, he has been focusing on color and the application of paint in abstract forms.
“The work that I make now is about a process of application of paint, and I’m doing things with paint that maybe hasn’t been done before,” Ricci said in an interview in his West Los Angeles studio.
“Color is really important and it reflects my life,” he said. “It’s why I came to L.A. from New York.”
He explained that the vibrant colors of Los Angeles – reflected in its natural environment, architecture and diversity of people – captured his imagination when he first visited the city in the late 1990s. He moved to L.A. in 2000 to attend graduate school at Otis College of Design & Art, where he earned a Master’s of Fine Arts degree.
But to his chagrin, he has noticed that L.A. is becoming increasingly beige — reflected in recently constructed apartment buildings, McMansions and other elements of the city’s built environment. Hence, in reaction to that, he turned to a celebration of color.
Ricci has explored many styles of painting in his career. He started out as a landscape painter and is interested in going back to that.
“My landscapes will be a tribute to the environment because we’re in dangerous times,” he said. “I’m hoping the paintings will help me or others remember what is important.”
A native of upstate New York, Ricci received his BFA from Purchase College School of Art and Design SUNY in 2000. He has been exhibited widely across the United States in group and solo shows, including his 2005 solo show “A Closer Look,” held at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. In 2006 his art appeared as part of an exhibit of American painters at the Insa Art Center in Seoul, South Korea.
“I really love to teach,” he said. “I like to keep an art conversation going. And it helps my work too.”