Ri­p­ley’s odd art com­ing down­town

Orlando Sentinel - - PEOPLE & ARTS - By De­wayne Bevil Staff Writer dbevil@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com or 407-420-5477; Twit­ter: @The­meParks

A new ex­hibit in down­town Or­lando is de­signed to demon­strate that Ri­p­ley’s is not only odd, it’s artis­tic, too.

“The main goal was to show our au­di­ence that we’re not just sideshow and shrunken heads. We have a lot more to of­fer,” said Sab­rina Sieck, cre­ative con­tent man­ager for Or­lando-based Ri­p­ley En­ter­tain­ment Inc.

The “Odd Is Art” show, which de­buted Thurs­day and runs through June 15, reaches into the famed Ri­p­ley ar­chives for un­usu­ally pre­sented art. There will be a por­trait of John F. Kennedy made of but­ter­flies, pieces rep­re­sent­ing Tu­pac Shakur and Big­gie Smalls made of bro­ken records, and a draw­ing of Al­fred Hitch­cock on a match­book.

There will be a big-time pop-cul­ture cur­rent to it. “Fal­con Down,” a 7-foot by 25-foot piece, por­trays the Mil­len­nium Fal­con – an iconic “Star Wars” space­ship -- crash­ing into Stone­henge. It was cre­ated with duct tape.

“We’ve never dis­played it any­where be­cause of the sheer size of it,” Sieck said.

Non­tra­di­tional me­dia will be at home here. “Moby Dick” is typed onto six rolls of toi­let pa­per.

The show is based on Ri­p­ley’s new book, also ti­tled “Odd Is Art.” Ri­p­ley’s pub­lish­ing arm, as well as its world­wide at­trac­tions, is based in Or­lando. The pub­li­ca­tion is a de­par­ture from the com­pany’s tra­di­tional fact-packed, be­lieve-it-ornot an­nu­als. It rests squarely in the cof­fee-ta­ble book genre, with an em­pha­sis on the art it­self and a sprin­kling of type to ex­plain just what the reader is see­ing.

The down­town Or­lando show, staged at Re­de­fine Gallery in­side Ci­tyArts Fac­tory, will fea­ture about 20 works, most of which are in the “Odd” book.

Mauri­cio Murill, one of Re­de­fine’s own­ers, had art in the Ri­p­ley book called “Un­lock the Weird” two years ago. It was his re-cre­ation of Darth Vader’s hel­met – made en­tirely of Gummi Bears – that at­tracted Ri­p­ley’s at­ten­tion. (Murill’s art is done un­der the name Crummy Gummy.)

“I’m a lit­tle bit of an odd­ball, so to me it was an honor,” Murill said. Nat­u­rally, he was in fa­vor of odd­i­ties com­ing to his gallery, and he thinks it will be a hit with Ri­p­ley fans.

“When they told me the idea, it sounded like a lot of fun,” he said.

“I think that it’s kind of cool that it’s a lit­tle bit of Ri­p­ley’s and us mixed in away from the tourist crowd as well,” Murill said. “A lot of lo­cals are go­ing to be able to see it.”

That’s part of Ri­p­ley’s goals, Sieck said.

“I re­ally wanted to do some­thing lo­cal with this. We’re based in Or­lando; we have an at­trac­tion here … but there’s just some­thing more to be­ing in our com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially when try­ing to reach other au­di­ences,” she said.

The art ex­hibit is ex­pected be fun but feel “a lit­tle more el­e­vated” than the at­trac­tion, she said.

“When you walk into this gallery, it’s not go­ing to feel like you’re in the Or­lando ‘odd­i­to­rium’ … with those bright col­ors and splashes ev­ery­where,” Sieck said. “You’re go­ing to feel like you’re in a gallery en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ri­p­ley may ex­tend the idea to other cities as a trav­el­ing show.

“The con­cept would work re­ally well in Port­land or Brook­lyn or Austin,” Sieck said. “We’re go­ing to use this as a test mar­ket and move for­ward with it, hope­fully.”

RI­P­LEY EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

This por­trait of Tu­pac Shakur was made of bro­ken records and was cre­ated by Ed Chap­man of Manch­ester, Eng­land.

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