Artist Profile: Kyle Ringquist
Living and working as a graphic designer in a corporate environment in downtown Chicago, Kyle Ringquist just wasn’t happy. With a giant leap of faith and a powerful, internal desire to paint, he moved to New York and opened a studio at an art house in Tribeca. That experience of meeting and interacting with the public and other artists, gave him the opportunity to discuss his artwork, which infused him the confidence he would need to ultimately pursue his passion. He was introduced to the thriving artistic community of Provincetown soon after 9/11 where he found its beauty captivating. When a space became available for him to display his own pieces, he jumped at the chance to open his own gallery and now, 22 years later, the artist says, “I really feel fortunate and I feel like my life turned into a dream.”
Originally interested in pursuing graduate school for medical illustration, Ringquist believes, “When you leave art school is really when you start discovering who you are as an artist. I met an artist who painted in reverse on plexiglas who inspired me, and I felt the medium was a natural progression for me and I began to adapt it into my work. I felt like it was part of my nature.” Ringquist’s unique style is called reverse painting or painting in verso, a discipline not taught in schools. Using acrylic paint, he paints in reverse on plexiglass, so what we see on one side has been layered on by Ringquist on the opposite side. “It’s painted on the backside of plexiglas, foreground to background in layers, in verso.” This art form, though rare, has existed since the Middle Ages and all but fell out of practice in the early 1900s.
Ringquist says, “Something that hasn’t been seen before is what inspires his painting.” Living in New York he began to realize he was intrigued by motion, and dancers became his first subjects. This fascination with movement would soon translate in his work to the natural beauty of Cape Cod. The artist, whose gallery has an ocean view, says “I love movement. The movement of clouds and water and nature. It’s fascinating how colors run into each other and how light influences color reflection.”
His work, like the elements in nature he paints, is complicated. “It takes not just painting in reverse, but thinking in reverse. I will take a single flower and paint it in a way to captivate the viewer and make it irresistible.” Ringquist uses acrylic paint but depending on what he envisions, he will use anything from water bubbles, cotton swabs, rubber tips, brushes or his fingers in order to bring an image to life on the clear surface.
The luxury of being able to travel, he says, “Opens inspiration wide for me. I’ve had the good fortune to visit New Zealand in the past several years and to experience its jaw-dropping beauty. It has had a definite influence on my nature as an artist.” Always coming up with new ideas, Ringquist wishes, as a true creative would, for more time to see them to fruition. Painting he says, “Is when I’m happiest. When I’m painting, I just feel like nothing can touch me. It’s such a good feeling.”
Life often has a way of changing the path we originally intend for ourselves, and for Kyle Ringquist, he couldn’t be happier with how his life veered off course.