Interview with Storm Ritter
Storm Ritter is one of those people who captures your attention right away. From running her eponymous studio at 14 W. 8th St. — just down the street from Hendrix’s extant Electric Lady sound studios — to petitioning to make 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues “Jimi Hendrix Way,” she’s both brilliant and driven.
She also personifies the best of both the “quirky” (which, in a sense, is just another word for someone who followers their unique interests, rather than blending into a pre-formed culture tribe) with the grounded.
As Bob Dylan sang in “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” “to live outside the law, you must be honest.” It’s a reminder that all great art is inherently both creative and destructive. In Jarry’s pre-Dada play Ubu Roi, Ubu says: “But we won’t have destroyed everything until we’ve destroyed the ruins, as well. And I can find no better way of doing so than by using these ruins to create fine, harmonious new edifices.”
In a world where matter is never destroyed, the final result of destruction is never nothingness: it’s conversion.
Storm knows how to challenge and destroy with colorful acts of creation.
Calm Before the Storm
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Q: What’s your background?
My background is that of an authentic human. Work ethic is my art form. My history is rooted in theatrical design: scenic/costume/prop, editorial fashion styling, event production, fine art acrylic painting, expressionistic illustration, sculpture, and art/fashion/retro pop culture history. If there was a creative job open, I was at the door with my portfolio and résumé.
My background is that of an authentic human
Q: How long have you been an artist, and how did you begin?
Are you born an artist or do you become one? It’s all in your mind. I argue both sides, but the moment I stopped looking for influence from outside my head, I was officially an artist, so I’d say about ten years ago I felt the self-comfort to say so. Think, and let synchronicity happen.
Q: Growing up, what was your greatest frustration and greatest joy?
My age and overzealous passion to provide funds for myself and family.
Q: What are your artistic influences?
The colors and images you see when you shut your eyelids and stare in the blackness that turns into wonderment. Otherwise great artists in the realms of Surrealism, German Expressionism, Dada and French Impressionism, and the modern day homeless/struggling artists on the street in the Village. People of passion and hardworking nature, inspire.
Q: What is your artistic process?
You are what you eat: and what I consume is all art. Everything is process: archival is the key. As an ambidextrous artist, I work very fast. If I paint a canvas, the palette becomes artwork. If I am painting, drawing, sculpting, building, or screwing up, I am photographing it!
You are what you eat: and what I consume is all art
Q: What brought you to New York, and how long have you been in the West Village?
The History. The Energy. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. My work ethic matches NYC’s vibe. I have lived in Greenwich Village specifically for six years now. I opened Storm Ritter Studio at 14 West 8th Street in January 2016 and we are still going strong.
Q: You obviously have a great love of music. What are some of your favorite musical artists, and what turned you on to them?
Cat Stevens is a prophet. The Who writes the gospel. Jimi Hendrix plays the sounds of the angels. Cher preaches the struggle of the love. Dean Martin pours the wine. Depends on the era, but my love of music from 1919-1989 is quite vast. It’s music that makes me think and feel at home in different times.
Q: How does music today compare to music of the ’60s and ’70s?
Just like Adam and Eve’s poisonous apple, Apple iPhones have changed everything and everyone.
Q: Tell us about your petition to create a Jimi Hendrix Way? Where can people sign to support?
I am working with a passionate group of local NYC business owners, residents, and outsides parties to co-name and commemorate 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues as Jimi Hendrix Way. Hendrix founded Electric Lady Studios in 1970 and left a heavy legacy.
My shop sell my logo shirts, and you can sign and learn more at www.jimihendrixway.com.
You can sign at www.jimihendrixway.com
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the West Village? What would you like to see more of / what’s your vision for the area?
Historic preservation, street art, and more creative businesses.
I would love for the City to assist small business owners in not only finding the best possible location, but help them negotiate an affordable lease and terms.
I also think that a commercial lease should be more of a partnership between the landlord and tenant – a WIN WIN situation, not one person giving it all and another taking it.
I would love for the City to assist small business owners
Q: What are your fashion influences? What do you like and not like about the business? Are there any designers you like?
Edith Head and Bob Mackie.
The fashion industry is so commercial and inauthentic. I am more interested in a personal fashion lifestyle you make on your own. Living YOUR life and wearing what YOU are attracted to is what I am about. The collections I design and make are exactly that; I used to solely thrift-shop growing up, and never had a matching outfit to my peers. I make designer clothing intended to mimic this feeling, like you are finding a rare t-shirt or dress at a thrift store that you keep forever. Mass consumption is overrated.
I am more interested in personal fashion you make on your own
Q: Are you a spiritual person? If so, what is your concept of spirituality?
I am passionate in the esoteric world of palmistry and tarot. My very close friend, Frank Andrews, has taught me wisdom through practices of self-enlightenment, which in turn influence my surrealist paintings. There’s a book entitled The Consolation of Philosophy written by Boethius around AD 523 that changed my life.
Q: Why do you think people are so obsessed with celebrities and sensationalistic news?
People love to wear a shirt with Warhol on it. People like to idolize to associate themselves with someone dubbed cool instead of following in their fashion. Don’t wear a Marilyn Monroe shirt, wear what Marilyn wore if you’re a true fan. Be obsessed with YOUR brain — it’s brilliant & crazy in there.
Be obsessed with YOUR brain
Q: What do you think is missing from modern life (if anything), and what would you like to see more of?
An app that enables your phone to just call people, and do nothing else. Human nature would readjust and increase in deeper human interaction, successful collaborations, and meaningful philanthropic work.
Q: How did you meet your cat Velvet?
Our eyes met at the 92nd & 1st ASPCA when she was 5 months old in 2014. We’ve been an inseparable pair ever since.
Q: What kinds of things can people buy from your studio, and what does it mean to own or wear “a Storm Ritter?”
All of our products are made-in-house, one-of-a-kind, and f*cking cool. Owning a STORM RITTER means you purchased a work of art and a piece of West Village history. You’re buying a collectable, and we ensure endless compliments when you wear your new piece, or your money back.
Owning a STORM RITTER means you purchased a work of art
You can shop in store, order custom clothing, and/or shop online at www.stormritter.com.