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Study Guide for

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Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling,” published by Breakthrough Communications, 2009.


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Study Guide for Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling

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Chapter One Background: Family Values That Shaped the Artist 1. Look at the photograph of the Negro men who were employed as laborers at L & N Railroad (ca. October 1931). Discuss the barriers that may have been a part of Negro life during the 1930’s in America. (page 2) 2. How did the Greg’s father seek to rise above those conditions? What did he believe to be the key to success for his children? (pages 2-5) 3. What family values did Greg’s family espouse? (pages 2-5) 4. What additional experiences broadened Greg’s horizons as a child? (pages 2-5) 5. While travelling through the Cincinnati Train Terminal, Greg viewed the murals on the terminal walls. Which famous German artist painted these murals? (page 29) 6. What art did Greg view on the walls of his grandmother? (page 10) 7. Think About It: What is the connection between Aaron Douglas, the German artist indicated in Question 5 above, and Greg Ridley?

Chapter Two Playful Expression 1. List the art forms Greg experimented with from childhood, in high school, and through his early adulthood in the U.S. Navy. (pages 8, 10) 2. What other art forms did his mother Lucille engage in? (pages 8-10) 3. Name the reasons that the artist gave for deciding to attend Fisk University. (page 11) 4. Think about it: Greg’s mother, Lucille, had a profound influence on what would later become his art-making using metal as a medium. During his early childhood, Greg enjoyed artmaking with his mother, Lucille. They made figures out of foil (chewing gum wrappers). Tell how this early form of art-making relates to repoussé, the form of art-making for which Greg became most famous. This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling,” published by Breakthrough Communications, 2009.


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Chapter Three The Early Years: Artistic Frustration

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1. How did Aaron Douglas influence Greg’s direction in art-making? Regarding Aaron Douglas’s work, which type did Greg admire most? (Page 14-15 and Appendix 2) 2.Compare the sketches found in Appendix 4 with other works of Aaron Douglas’s on the internet. a. What was the usual subject matter for these works? (Appendices 3 &5) b. How did Aaron Douglas mark the focal point in these works? Appendix 4) 3.What was the significance of the addition of African Sculpture to the Fisk University curriculum? (page 18) 4. According to Journalist Robert Churchwell, Aaron Douglas discussed the concept of “Art from Within.” What does that mean? (page 17) 5. Aaron Douglas contrasted the world of concrete things from the things of man’s inner world. According to Douglas, how is each portrayed? (page 17) 6.Greg yearned to create more dramatic appeal in his works. How did he achieve it? (18, 20, 31) 7. What medium and methods brought Greg closer to the dramatic appeal that he sought? (page 38) 8. What influence did the work of these artists have on Greg’s art-making--Hale Woodruff, Cézanne? Monet? Picasso? Modigliani? O’Keeffe? (pages 18, 24, 25, 34-37) 9. What was Greg’s personal philosophy about art-making? (page 30) 10. Think About it: Sometimes an artist’s work depicts the social conditions that are present in society or in the world. This is called social realism. Sometimes artists depict historical scenes. Then again, they may choose themes that are related to their own personal experience. Complete the chart below, showing how each of the three artists below used these themes. You may use this text or any other sources, including your own personal art collection. AARON DOUGLAS

HALE WOODRUFF

GREG RIDLEY

Social Realism Historical Series Personal Experience

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling,” published by Breakthrough Communications, 2009.


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11. Are there any examples of social realism today? Consider an artist like Brenda Joysmith. What themes are present in her work? 6 12. Extend: Use the column on the right to insert the works of another African-American artist of your choice.

Chapter Four The Middle Years: The Search for Meaning 1.Why did Greg become frustrated at Tennessee State University? (page 28) 2.What treasure did Greg find at TSU’s library? (page 28) 3.What happened when Greg focused on technique rather than aesthetics? (page 29) 4.What questions did his students at Alabama State College pose to him? (page 30) How did this question resonate within Greg? How did it lead him in finding his own “Golden Mean?” 5.How many years did it take before Greg could appreciate the exposure that Aaron Douglas gave him to primitive African art? (page 33) How did Greg’s appreciation of primitive African art broaden while he was studying for his master’s degree at the University of Louisville (Kentucky)? (pages 32-34) 6.How did Greg use African elements? What did he intend to achieve with the African Mask? Did he succeed? (page 38) 7. Think about it: A professional artist makes art for a living. This often puts the artist and his family in a precarious situation. The artist likes to create, but also must make a living. Therefore the artist wrestles with aesthetics vs. creating something the public will buy. Throughout his career of making art, Greg was concerned with the concept of aesthetics. Aesthetics is the artist’s ability to get us to buy into his concept of beauty. Tell why aesthetics can be valuable in the appreciation of primitive African art or African-American art Discuss why aesthetics is important also in a different art form like repoussé.

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling,” published by Breakthrough Communications, 2009.


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Chapter Five Years of Purpose: Meaning Discovered

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1. How did the social change in the 1960s have an effect on Greg’s focus on African art. (pages 62-69) What was Greg’s world view during this time? What effect did these have on his art-making? 2.What was the significance of the African Mask to Greg? (page 38, 62, 65) 3.What was Greg’s first known work in repoussé? (page 65) 4.What was Greg able to achieve with repoussé that he wasn’t able to achieve with painting? (Compare the art work on page xx and Greg’s Masterpiece on pages xxii-xxvii with the paintings beginning on page 39). 5.Describe the effect that the “Black is Beautiful” movement had on Black Americans. (page 70) 6.How did Greg express the “Black is Beautiful” movement through his art-making?(pages 92-93) 7.Think about it: In 1969, Greg signed the back of a work with the title, “ Master of Copper Tooling- Gregory Ridley.” (See page 73) .What value does the author believe this self-proclaimed title had on Greg’s success in copper tooling (repoussé)? Do you agree or disagree with the author? **************** To Do: Study the technique of repoussé as described on page by Journalist Anne Paine (See pages xix and 7273). Then try your hand at it: 1.Get a piece of Heavy Aluminum Foil, about the size 8.5 x 11 inches. 2. On the front side of it, lightly draw a design or an image. 3.On the reverse side of it, using a rounded handle of a spoon, trace the edges of the design or image. 4. Experiment with other tools to create stippling and other designs in the background.

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley, Master of Copper Tooling,” published by Breakthrough Communications, 2009.

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Greg Ridley - Study Guide  

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley: Master of Copper Tooling,” publishe...

Greg Ridley - Study Guide  

This study guide was prepared by Constance Ridley Smith as a study companion for the book, “Greg Ridley: Master of Copper Tooling,” publishe...

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