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Rhys Farrell fills us in on his body of work in the Fall '23 exhibition, "Stellar Spirits"

1. What initially brought you to art?

Initially art was brought into my life by my grandmother. As a child I spent lots of time with her and often stayed at her house during the summers when school was out. She was always working on arts and crafts, painting, cooking and most of all creating things that were beautiful. She influenced me from a young age to create things and spend time being productive. She showed me how rewarding it was to create.

2. What imagery has historically interested you and why?

I have always been interested in color. Color plays a huge role in my art practice. The imagery in history that has always influenced me the most is architecture, design and clothing. From the selection of formal elements, colors and patterns. Once I attended art school these interests increases durastically as I was introduced to much more information and content surrounding these ideas.

3. How has your process evolved in the last 5 to 10 years?

In the last five to ten years my process has changed substantially. I was introduced to art on a more craft and hobby storyline. As I became older I was lead into music, graffiti and street art. As I went to school and got older I became fascinated with abstract art as it seemed to be more mysterious and open ended. During my undergrad I discovered optical art and my life was changed. Since then I have been rigorously researching, developing and creating work in this realm.

4. What, or who, has had the most influence on your work?

The most influential individuals on my work as of recent would be Julian Stanczak, Bridget Riley, Anoka Faruquee and a very good friend of mine Chris Cran. All of these artists work within the realm of optical art and I cherish their work, ideas and creations.

5. What has surprised you about your practice?

My practice is constantly surprising me. I am always trying to surprise myself with new decisions, endeavours, travels and experiences. Most of the surprises that happen come from within the studio or while I am travelling and creating. I tend to find surprises quite frequently.

6. What is your identity at large? Do you think about this a lot in relation to your art?

My identity is diverse. I feel like I am at a stage in my life where I am constantly growing and changing. Therefore my identity follows this path. Since I started travelling the world in 2017 my identity is constantly being challenged, influenced, changed and developed. I dont think I could specifically describe my identity at this point in time. My identity in my artwork is similar however my work does have an aesthetic that is consistent. The ideas, message and influences behind my work is in constant change.

7. What is your most precious takeaway from this exhibition?

My most precious takeaway from this exhibition is growing my audience and sharing my work in a new place and atmosphere. I am always intrigued to experience new places and new faces while working and showing my artistic practice. From this exhibition I met a handful of new people and got to experience Philadelphia for the first time. I have not spent much time on the east coast and now would like to explore it much more.


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