As the daughter of the late Roosevelt “Rip” Woods, I want to pay homage to one of the most creative geniuses that Arizona’s art community has experienced. Rip Woods was born in 1933 in Idabel, Oklahoma and moved to Phoenix, AZ as a child. His strong passion for art led him to a unique special interest program at Carver High School (all Black high school). There he flourished under the wings of Dr. Eugene Grigsby. His education and experiences ultimately led him to ASU’s School of Art where he taught painting and drawing for 27 years, culminating as Professor Emeritus. His honors, commissions and exhibitions are countless.
Deeply inspired by and rooted in African folklore, my dad’s work is easily recognized by his signature, satirical nature and abstract use of animals and masks. Many of his silk screens and paintings deal with paradoxes like restriction and freedom, which he represented visually as color and shape. Once Rip was asked, “What is the purpose of your art?” He responded, “To justy living, to extend living to remind others they are living” * – Senina Woods Harris