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Brad and Sundie Ruppert are Iowa natives who share a love for arts and an eye for beauty in scraps. Brad and Sundie have lived an adventurous life starting in Iowa but dreamed of a quiet life in the countryside. But as destiny would have it, their zest for life and art lead them to a life on the road. This summer their nomadic life brings them to Bend and Desperado Boutique. Brad and Sundie will be displaying their unique artwork at Art in the High Desert August 24-26 and you can meet them here at the store for a reception on Friday evening August 24th.
We caught up with the Rupperts and they shared some of their life experiences and how those experiences influence the art they make today.
For 15 years the couple has made both 2D and 3D art. Their most recent art comes from the scraps of old, western felt-hats. The two create whimsical, lively pieces from thousands of thin felt scraps that Brad and Sundie say, “begs the viewer to fulfill their primal need to touch”. Individually hand-cutting and nailing each of the felt scraps make their art both original and unique.
Their intricate work includes a multiple step process of envisioning, drawing, cutting, salvaging and painting. Meticulously cutting and painting each layer allows for realistic features that express both the heart and soul that goes into each subject. Brad and Sundie talk about the meaning and importance of their work, “Our number one goal for the last 18 years has been to show people that if you see things for what they could be instead of just looking at things for what they ARE, the possibilities are endless”.
Like most artist, the two have struggled with making a living from their artwork. Although some days were harder than others; the two never lost their drive to want to create. As the two became well-known in the art community they began their life on the road; traveling to art festivals and showings. Their life on the road has allowed them to be inspired by many sights in the United States.
Their collections include: American Icons, Shorebirds, Feathered friends, Fantasyland and many more. The meticulous work they put in gives soul and life to what was once the fabric of the American West.