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About Stuart Ratcliff by William Hugel
I met Stuart Ratcliff at an art fair. It was raining, and as I had not brought a shelter for my books he invited me to share his canopy. Immediately we began talking... about just about everything. By noon we had covered much of what was happening in the world. After lunch we moved on to ancient history, philosophy and the Soul of the World.
I was continually struck by Stuart's broad knowledge of things, but even more so by the passion, sensitivity and intimacy with which he not so much saw Life, but was immersed in it. I was also struck by the fact that we never talked about Art.
As one of the many brilliant thinkers we discussed that rainy afternoon points out, a true artist isn't preoccupied with Art. A true artist is preoccupied by Life, inspired by Life to the point of bursting.
This is what makes Stuart a great artist. His passion for and utter immersion in Life, and the sense of intimacy with which he lives every day. In his work you can feel the passion, the exuberance, the effulgence with which he lives.
You would also probably like to know that Stuart grew up and lives in Sacramento (though he spends a great deal of time in the Far East, too much time, in the opinions of his friends here), and that he graduated from St. John's College in New Mexico. His only art training consists of one class in high school, which he describes as something of a debacle. This absence of formal training may go a long way in explaining the originality of his vision, and perhaps even more importantly why the relationship between the art and the artist remains so intimately in tact.
If you'd like to know more about Stuart than I have said here, you'll have to look at his artwork. Or invite him to chat over a cup of tea. You won't be disappointed. Just don't expect him to talk about Art.
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