MVR Artist Biography
MVR, Artist Michael Victor Ruggiero
Art & Landscape 'Tap' Roots
Born in 1961 in Kent, Ohio, MVR was a rare Honors student in high school that took Drawing & Painting electives. While excelling in them, teachers admired his portraits and collage works the most.
During high school he worked for landscape installation companies. This route was ‘in the family’, as his Italian grandfather and uncles had successful landscaping companies. His genuine, personal passion for landscape, plants and gardens, however, took root during Spring 1980 as he finished high school. The landscape industry, in varied capacities, has been a source of livelihood ever since.
Ohio State U. | Harvard University Decisions
When deciding upon a major at OSU, he wrestled first with Fine Arts, but decided that a career in a landscape industry was in his best interest. Eventually he graduated with Honors in Landscape Horticulture with a minor in Landscape Architecture (LA) design| graphics. In earning a MLA at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1991, he excelled in graphic presentations of studio work. To help fund both degrees, he painted scenic murals and architectural, textured finishes (right) on a freelance basis -- evidence that the will to be a painter never waned.
New York's Hudson Valley Continuing Education
In 1992 a move to the Hudson Valley for Estate Landscape work allowed formal Life Drawing and Pastel coursework in New York City. In 1997, he began a formal internship in LA practice, and from the start absorbed CADD and digital printing processing readily. As a result since 1997, he lets computers do as much mechanical, repetitive work for design drawings as possible, leaving hand-rendering for fine details.
In Spring 2003, he moved to Manhattan to practice urban LA and to become a skilled painter. By the Fall, at nights and weekends he was at the Art Students League and learning art techniques through books. By 2005 he saw underlying his best work was superior drawing; further if one could draw portraits and figures rapidly, one could draw anything well, landscapes included.
In late 2005, he moved to a Chelsea studio apartment, which influenced the 8” x 10” (average) size of Pastel works. Thereafter in weekly group model sessions, he used bold, complimentary pastel colors to build convincing form & structure and attain provocative results quickest. After many of these Pastels, he recognized his unique identity as a painter and felt secure that he could call upon developed skills readily at any point in the future. Because eventually by 2008, complex LA projects dominated attention and time.
To keep building skills, he turned to the flexibility of Landscape Pastels with nearby Hudson River Park scenes as a regular subject matter. The Pastels were executed hypothetically as finished ‘thumbnails’ for larger oil paintings; in like vein at the time, were his ‘thumbnail’ LA renderings that enlarged routinely with exceptional results for clients. This design activity certainly strengthened the integrity of the Pastels, but amid the parallel efforts MVR says, "they felt completely distinct from each other, like distant relatives who never met, and, never would."
Web Site & Digital Togetherness
For exhibitions in 2012, he finished and scanned his Pastel works. While he knew cataloguing them for sale was important, organizing 15-year LA project portfolio for web site view became priority. He was resigned to focus again on the Pastels when he retired -- near 2028! But providence wouldn't have it; web design capability by 2015 equipped him to organize, in sequence with the LA portfolio, his Pastel works as well.
In the process of learning web site mechanics and developing 3 professional web sites, he became more adept in Photoshop and digital ‘pixel painting’. Most importantly during this process, he discovered that exponential, yet simple, plain digital enlargements of Pastel works create dynamic, striking renditions, which just in themselves have unbelievably exciting prospects for him and like artists, present and future.
Beyond enlarged works for direction in fine art, pixel painting to advance select works integrates digital skills mastered in LA into his fine art processes. Via this integration, he has managed to unify very diverse capabilities as a contemporary artist -- a unity entirely unforeseen -- with a backstory hard to believe or fabricate, but is unification of identity that -- as MVR says, "is nonetheless, truly exhilarating."