Citizens of Concordia
Percival Gallery | November 5 – December 17, 2021
What is Concordia?
Founded in 1825, the factory City of Concordia covered an island off the Northern shore of New Brunswick. Now forgotten, it was once one of the most important cities of the world.
But the city held a dark secret, its people ruled by a government answering to no one, and free of the laws of Canada.
People lived in fear, of disappearing for questioning the government, of death in the factories, or to any of the mysterious dangers of the city.
None know how many were lost in those days, in fear and darkness.
Long lost to common knowledge, this study seeks to tell the story of these lost citizens.
While researching the 1930s for the Concordia Role Playing game, and reference material of people from the 1920’s to the 1940’s (primarily), fashion, art, hairstyles etc, some of the reference photos began to have an effect on the artist.
Black and white photos of people: actors, artists, business people, criminals.
Spending time with them they had more to say. Something hidden. Each of these people, captured in a moment in time, were meant to portray something. Actors strike poses, models show off their clothes, criminals glare at the person taking their mug shots. But a real life cannot be captured in a moment in time. Each has a hidden depth, a hidden sadness, a secret.
Each of them they began to call to have their secrets told.
I don’t know what these secrets are. I only know what they have shown me beyond their photos, something that each one wanted to show to the world, to tell of their truth.
I could only paint what I saw, beyond their expression, pose, the lighting, and the moment in time they were trapped in.
Maybe I included pieces of my past, people I have known, and lost, or part of myself in each of the pieces, to fill in the holes left by the photographer and the lost spirit of the subject of the photos.
They are all real people, with despair and joy, fighting against a world that tries to defeat us all. We are all desperate fighters together against a world that wants us all to fail.
Maybe you will see yourself in one of these portraits of the citizens of Concordia. Living in fear but fighting to survive, you fight because you must, not because you have hope of winning but because you refuse to let history remember that you did not fight.
Help out the kids
When I was young I loved to draw everything, but most of all monsters.
But classes were not a possibility for me then.
Looking back, I wish that I could have started to seriously practice my art at an earlier age, instead of just fumbling around by myself in my bedroom as a kid.
But the Saint John Art Centre does offer just the kind of classes I wish I could have taken as a kid.
So for this show, I am offering all of the paintings for $300 each, and for every painting sold I will be able to sponsor a junior high school age child to take one of the art courses at the Centre.
So help a kid to live their dreams while still young enough to do something with it, to pursue a career in art if they want to and not wait till they are an old man like me before they can live their dreams.
Ripley Stonebrook has created a lot of things under a lot of names: clothing, sculpture, props, lighting, music, albums, board games, role-playing games, magazines, and a line of plastic miniatures.
Themes are mostly horror, science fiction, and fantasy,
A study of Concordia is the Third collection of work that required a public showing in a gallery format, with a comment on the unspoken and unseen truth of despair and struggle in photo portraiture of the early 1900’s.
A foundational show in the late 90’s showcased illustration work of Cyberpunk themes in a comment on religion and personal growth.
The early 2000’s saw a show of airbrush work of mental health, dreams and nightmares.
If you want to know more, go to www.spookyroomproductions.com, or follow Ripley on instagram @ripleystonebrook.
You can find out more about this show at Ripley’s YouTube channel, check out the short documentary film here!