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Feature Sun Aug 10 2008

An Interview with Ripley Worthy

Located at 3327 N. Broadway in Lakeview, and open since early July, Homeboy is a design store and art gallery that promotes only Chicago-area artists, designers, and businesses. Featured artists include photographer Barry Wolf, designer Amanda Vance and metal sculptor Beth Kamhi. Recently GB stopped by Homeboy to talk to owner Ripley Worthy about his dual role as proprietor and curator.

What are your criteria for choosing art?

My only real criterion is that it's made by someone local. I'm trying to have a broad range here, as it's a pretty mixed neighborhood -- with the elderly, young single people and families.

How did you find the artists you're currently featuring?

A lot of the people I've known for years, from my connections in the design industry. But some are in the neighborhood. That [points to a piece hanging on the wall] is by Stephen Fowler of Gemini Studios. Gemini is him and his twin brother [Ryan]. He also did that Obama poster over there.

Some of my artists I've found through word-of-mouth. I find people all different ways. Even my Website encourages people to bring something for me to consider, as long as it doesn't compete with what's already in the store.

Do you foresee your store hosting exhibitions anytime soon?

Maybe. The people I'm working with don't have representation, and most have full-time jobs. I've considered reaching out to the Center on Halsted or students. Eventually, I would like to do something to become more a part of the community. I have the wall space, right?

How do you know what art will sell?

It's kind of a gut feeling. I know what I like, of course, but it's not necessarily what will sell. So, I have to let my guard down a bit, to let things in that wouldn't be my personal preference. Sometimes artists bring things in for me to look at, and I hold onto them for a few days, look at them, and look at them again before making a decision. Sometimes I consult with friends, or I'll hang things up and then listen to hear what customers have to say.

What is one challenge of handling unrepresented and emerging artists?

Having to turn people away. I've only turned down a few artists, either because their price points have been too high, or their work just didn't fit.

Has running the store led you to attend more openings and art events?

Definitely. Going to more openings and scoping things out has kind of helped me to broaden my notion of what the store could be. It's nice to just talk to artists, find out more about their sources of inspiration, and why they do what they do.

About the Author:

A native of Johnstown, PA, Lauri Apple is a contender for the title, "world's most renowned bag lady," thanks to her somewhat popular (at times) website, FoundClothing. Lauri has a JD and doesn't know why, but it will take about 30 years for her to pay it off, and that worries her. Her favorite cities are Prague, Pittsburgh, Austin and Chicago. When she's not looking through people's trash, she's either painting, taking pictures, or making/thinking about making cartoons about her weird life.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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