Sundie Ruppert & Brad Ruppert
We are a husband and wife team whose art and way of life has always been deeply connected to the past including rescuing discarded materials and giving them new life. Growing up as “city-kids” in Iowa, we always dreamed of a quiet life in the country amongst the rich texture of rusted metal and weather-worn barn wood. Although educated in graphic design, creatively salvaging pieces of the past is where our passion lives. Our work is constantly evolving based on the finds we come across while traveling the highways and byways of America. We have been working in found object/assemblage for the last 15 years creating both 2D and 3D works of a colorful and whimsical nature. With our newest body of work, we have been focused on more of a subdued pallet creating iconic images of Americana using our newest reclaimed material, hat-felt scraps salvaged by Greeley Hat Works in the process of making cowboy hats. The method of hand-cutting and individually nailing each of the skinny felt trimmings in a multitude of intricate shapes and sizes has resulted in amazing relief, texture and detail. The labor-intensive sculptural felt portraits and icons are then mounted on layers of rescued metals and woods with rich patina from years of abandon and wear. Cutting and painting layers of tin, allow us to master hauntingly realistic features that express the soul of the subject. Finally, 1000s of metallic stippled dots, orbs and loops are painted to add detail, shimmer and juxtaposition to the rough, rich texture of the wood, metal and felt. The neutral tone of the hat-felt scraps has allowed us to turn a page in our body of work and subject matter. We continue to explore how we can sculpt the felt far beyond its original purpose of keeping one’s head protected or stylish. We truly feel honored to have been blessed with the task of preserving the “fabric of the cowboy’s lives” by creating unique iconic images of America and the American West.