James Rizzi 10/5/1950-12/26/2011

Bullet Shih Dec, 2011 0
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James Rizzi is huge in the United States, huger in Japan, and hugest in Germany, but that’s just the beginning.  His cult is growing everywhere.  There is even a Rizzi on Seinfeld, broadcast in 90 countries.,  proclaims his website.  It was probably for this reason that “that guy that draws buildings with faces” was a somewhat polarizing figure in the art world.  His 3 Dimensional Pop cartoonish works with smiling buildings and birds were embraced by millions, while those in the highbrow world of art tended to dismiss him as being a bit kitschy.   His works were certainly ubiquitous in Soho poster and frame shops throughout the 80s where he maintained a studio until his death.  His trademark 3D style appears to be the result of procrastination rather than over engineering as this article in the Washington Post states,

Rizzi studied art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where his groundbreaking techniques began with three-dimensional constructions that evolved from a youthful failure.

For his classes in painting, printmaking and sculpturing, he had to hand in work for grades in all three subjects. But Rizzi had time to complete only one: a twice-printed etching, with parts of one cut out and mounted on top of the other using wire.

Rizzis latest project was working on the design of Rinderknecht’ s Rinspeed Bamboo which is a car with an inflatable canopy which according to its website, “… also offers additional practical features centered on social networking, sustainability and optimal driving behavior. In combination with the famous color-changing ‘Rizzi bird’ on the rollover bar (green = I am single; blue = I am in party mood; orange = I need a break) it creates an entirely new automotive form of communication beyond deafening noise attacks. ‘Rizzi bird’ instead of flipping the bird.”

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