Michael Rippens


Michael Rippins Art

Tell us a bit about yourself

My multidisciplinary practice focuses on public, participatory, and socially-engaged artworks. Building from a foundation in painting and installation art, my projects employ a range of visual media including performance, sculpture, video, graphic design and web-based work.

I draw Inspiration from my personal and family history, as well as from learning the challenges faced by the communities I engage with. Each of my projects emerge from a place of deep caring and an internal call for creative action. They aim to not just highlight structural and societal issues, but also reimagine alternative ways to move forward into a more just and inclusive possible future.

My work examines issues of equity and social justice including migration, labor, health care, food accessibility, economic disparity, public safety, and environmental sustainability. I believe the best way to address immense societal challenges is through creating opportunities for people to come together—especially from across cultural and ideological divides. These personal connections, shared experiences, and storytelling, have the power to foster the empathy and understanding necessary to progress together toward positive change.

Tell us about one of your most inpiring projects

Last summer I created an interactive sculpture that also served as a public hygiene station. As visitors washed their hands, water from the tap revealed the names of fallen front line health care workers that I hand-printed on the inside of the sink basin. Since I have many family members and close friends who work in health care, I created this project as a homage to these heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a memorial to those who sacrificed their own lives to help others.

20 Seconds In Memoriam 

What are you working on at the moment?

My current project, Care Talk, utilizes a telephone voicemail system as a physically-distant platform for collecting and amplifying personal stories from caregivers working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The accompanying online archive also serves as a resource and educational hub that explores the relationship between Filipino immigrants and the U.S. healthcare system.

As part of this project, I produced a two-part radio show featuring audio from caregivers and interviews with a Filipino-American professor, historian and author, as well as the director of a local Filipino workers advocacy organization. Additionally, I set up a web-based archive and created a series of linocut prints highlighting quotes from caregiver stories and interviews.

Care Talk 

Tell us why it's important for you to have a website

My online portfolio allows me to share my work and connect with a wider audience, helping to build a following for my art. As much of my work is performance-based or temporary, my website serves as an archive where visitors can explore documentation of past projects that may have only existed for a brief moment in time.

As an artist what are your tips for building a good website?

Visitors to my site have told me that they enjoy how the design feels simple and fun, yet allows for deeper exploration. I'd suggest keeping the design simple and straightforward, allowing your work to be the main focus, not the website design. To make your site engaging and memorable, share a compelling personal story or narrative with your audience, either in your bio/about page or through your work itself.

How do you promote yourself?

Instagram, email newsletters & word of mouth.

Why do you use Portfoliobox?

The Portfoliobox platform is very easy to use (especially for a non-programmer like myself) and it offers lots of flexibility to customize the design of my site to best represent my work.

Visit Michael Rippens' website for more inspiration and don't forget to follow him on Instagram.

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