Blue Rain Gallery continually offers the best and most distinctive art to their clientele. Recently Starr Hardridge’s bold style and design elements caught our eye.
An enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Hardridge was raised in central Oklahoma and his subject matter is highly influenced by the mythology, symbolism, and extraordinary beadwork of native peoples. Trained in classical traditions, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration and painting from Savannah College of Art and Design and completed a year’s residency at France’s Nadaï Verdon Atelier of Decorative Arts. Each of these experiences helped to shape his unique artistic voice. They were, he says, “my jumping off point.”
In works such as Mvskoke Nocturn, a portrayal of a communal and ceremonial stomp dance, we see Hardridge’s detailed pointillist style fully on display. Employing his inclination to combine narrative and abstract inspirations, his paintings begin with a unique technique he’s developed to enhance the canvas’s texture and work out the composition. With infinite patience he then applies the paint, drop by drop, using a special tool to control its viscosity. “In this piece,” says the artist, “a cosmic rhythm takes place around the fire, balanced and aligned with the universe’s four cardinal directions. I have a special interest in portraying the mysterious relationship between man and environment.”
In addition to traditional scenes, wildlife is among the artist’s favorite subject matter. Living in a rural area surrounded by open country, he daily observes a multitude of creatures in their natural habitats. His keen eye for the world around him and his love of birds is revealed in his painting Grand Gesture/Wild Flight, which aptly captures the freewheeling flight of the southeastern red-tailed hawk.
Each of Hardridge’s paintings glow and refract light—their textured surfaces, audacious color, and exceptional design draw viewers for a closer look. He has participated in nationwide traveling exhibitions and garnered numerous awards. In 2015 one of his designs was selected by Pendelton Woolen Mills for their Legendary Blanket Artist series and recognition of his signature style continues to grow.