Ricky Mujica

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“Multitasking” Ricky Mujica

Below are some excerpts from an email exchange I had with an artist named Ricky Mujica.  He recently won “Best Solo Artist” award from the NYC Art Expo.  I loved the way he so eloquently described the current and past realism movements.

I also LOVED his painting called “Multitasking”.


.  LOL! I totally don’t mind if you quote me at all.

I don’t belong to any of those institutions. When I got out of college in the early 80’s, I was gung-ho to make my mark as a young realist. But the anti-realist rhetoric was so strong at that time and not coming from a family of means, I went into illustration and had almost immediate success doing book covers. …

Recently at the urging of my wife, and because of the changing tides regarding realism in the art world and the rise of young realist, I’ve decided to come back and give realism another try. That is why I entered the Expo. I just wanted to test the waters. I feel great and I’m very excited, it’s a good time to be a realist.

There’s a terrific attitude toward traditional realism these days. People are actually looking at the work and saying, “wow!”. They used to say, “that looks dated”. As you know, the acceptable realism from the late 70’s early 80’s was Photo-Realism, or a stinted, crude, ugly realism like Pearlstein. Bouguereaus went for $6000 dollars tops, Sargents were practically given away, and Alma Tadema paintings were laying in Museum storage rooms. Today Bouguereaus are going for a million dollars, Sargent is back to being a god, and Alma Tadema’s are on display again. Best of all, there are people like you and Steve Ross from ARC lovingly writing about realism. It’s very exciting, and inspiring. I love it. Thank you!

There is a growing community out there and personally, I’m glad for the changing tide, (seriously, how many quartered cows, stuffed sharks, and outsourced metal balloon sculptures do we need?). Damien Hirsh’s six million dollar skull has a place in the art world, and maybe, so do his outsourced “Dot Paintings”.  But i get such a kick out of the honesty that Jeremy Lipking or Aaron Westerberg (whose sublime painting you posted) , convey.


Hi Shelli,

Thank you so much, I’m glad you liked my “Multitasking” Painting. I think “Multitasking” help me win the “Best Solo Artist” award at the Expo, and that was cool and totally unexpected. 🙂

That painting is very special to me and a lot of love went into it because it’s of my wife and daughter and their morning ritual until my daughter was about two years old. My wife got really upset with me when I sold it! So yes, I did sell the original 🙁

Btw, I took a look at your blog. I love the idea of it and I enjoyed reading a couple of the posts and the one about “Really Learning to Paint” really struck a cord with me. I went to college in the 80’s and encountered opposition toward traditional painting the whole time.

Currently I have a friend who, now in his 30’s, has decided to go to art school and got accepted to the Art Institute of Chicago. He’s having a hard time, though his teachers love him, because he really wants to learn to paint realistically. But their idea of realism and what they are teaching him is a kind of very naive 20th century type of realism, that I’m sure with your college background, you know quite well. I got nothing against modern painting, I love it all, Van Gogh to Motherwell and I get a kick out of Damien Hirsh. It’s all valid. I just wish the Art Colleges would be more open minded toward traditional realism and treat it with the same validity. Anyway, thanks for posting that 🙂



Shelli Alford is an artist and author, who enjoys learning from master oil painters from around the world and reviewing their classes, workshops and demonstrations.

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