Homegrown Artist Paints Tribute to Westfield
Ricardo Roig's limited edition hand-cut screen prints are available through Evalyn Dunn Gallery.
Ricardo Roig is doing what he loves in the place he knows best. The Westfield native has returned, by way of Hoboken, and has brought with him some new creations that pay homage to his hometown.
After graduating from Westfield High School in 2001, Roig studied at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore and most recently received his teaching certificate from Kean University, where he took a class that inspired his current style of work.
Roig's limited edition, hand-cut screen prints, available through Evalyn Dunn Gallery, showcase a dozen treasured Westfield landmarks including Arcanum Hall, the Rialto Theater and Mindowaskin Park. The works are a labor of love for Roig not only because of the places they represent but also because they are rendered through a unique and effort-filled process.
“First I take a photograph, from there I sketch it out," the artist explained. "Then, I use an Exacto knife to cut shapes out of the paper, which creates a stencil. It's surgical. I love it."
Next, Roig, said he attaches the stencil to something akin to freezer paper before he "squeegees" the special blend of colors onto the paper.
"It's all hand-done and hand-pulled. By layering the stencils, the puzzle is pieced together and the image or print is created. The print becomes a culmination of color shapes built upon these relationships,” he said.
While it is a painstaking and methodical process, Roig, who exudes boundless energy and enthusiasm, said he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Art makes me normal; if I weren't doing this I'd probably be off organizing a sock drawer somewhere," he joked.
The 28 year old said he is grateful to the Evalyn Dunn Gallery for framing and selling the prints, which allows him to focus solely on his craft.
"We're very excited to handle his work," said Jaclyn Civins, owner of Evalyn Dunn Gallery. "The fact that he's a Westfield High School graduate and an up-and-coming artist, plus, it's also a great way to gain exposure for our new gallery."
Roig, who intends to craft 20 prints of each of his Westfield scenes before the summer's end, believes his work appeals to everyone from home collectors to downtown Westfield business owners.
Coldwell Banker has already purchased several of Roig's paintings. Because it's a limited edition, Amy Walsh, Civins' sister and partner, said many times people are afraid to wait because they want to "get in on the ground floor."
Roig has been flattered by the broad range of interest in his work. He said a former Westfield classmate purchased one of his paintings and others have sought him out to support one of their own.
"Westfield is this great community of caring," the artist said. "I love what Westfield's done for me and I want to see the arts thriving here. Art is just a way to bring people together; it unites us."
Roig said he is inspired by those who take their talents and give back to their communities. This fall, the painter looks forward to working in Westfield in a different capacity. As much as he loves his craft, Roig said the real joy comes from sharing it. In September, the artist will step away from his canvas to teach at Jefferson Elementary School to fill in for a teacher on maternity leave.
The painter has also paid tribute to his new home and sometime-muse Hoboken and will enjoy a solo show from 2 to 5 pm. on Sunday, July 29 at Hoboken Historical Museum located at 1301 Hudson Street. On exhibit are 12 new editions of hand-cut paper screen prints available for show and for sale. An after-show party will take place down the street at the Elysian Cafe, 1001 Washington St., where Roig waited tables while earning his teaching certificate. Call Kristen at the Elysian for details 201-798- 5898
Roig is harnessing the power of social media to not only spread the word about his painting but also to offer admirers a chance to own one of his limited edition prints. By correctly answering a riddle Roig posts on his Facebook page, fans can win one of his Westfield works. A recent question he asked was: Where can you see stars during the day and night in Westfield? The answer, and the subject of his work, is the Rialto.