Richelle Cripe is an artist, web developer and information architect who lives and works in our home town of Boulder, Colorado. She currently writes code for Medtronic/Covidien and makes paintings on the side. She loves exploring new (and old) places and will probably eat all of your ice cream, if you have any.
Moon Bath: Where are you from and in what ways is this place still a part of you?
Richelle: I grew up in southern West Virginia, in Appalachia. I feel at home in the mountains. We didn’t have much growing up, and when you can’t go out and buy things, you end up making things yourself. It made me resourceful and self-sufficient. I didn’t really think of myself as an artist until I went to college, but I’ve always been one. I can figure out how to make almost anything.
Moon Bath: When you say that you are “a citizen of two worlds,” what do you mean by this and why does it excite you?
Richelle: I’m part of the group they’re now calling ‘Xennials’ (aka the Oregon Trail Generation) — meaning we grew up playing outside, sans internet, but we were also the first generation to own iPhones. I say I’m a citizen of two worlds because I kind of hate how personal devices have changed our society, yet I make a living building websites and mobile apps. I’m also one of the last letter writers on Earth. I make my own stationery, carve my own stamps, write with a fountain pen, etc… I even have sealing wax!
Moon Bath: What is an information architect, and what was your journey to become one?
Richelle: It’s kind of hard to define because it spans so many disciplines, but there’s a growing understanding of information architecture as a fundamental part of web design and development. Some would say that web developers are information architects. It’s about semantics and organization, creating a language and system that describes itself and makes information easy to find. I like creating systems — to me that’s the overlap between the way I make art and the way I write code. If I weren’t a web developer, I’d be a metadata librarian.
Moon Bath: As an artist, your work depicts spaces where nature and man-made systems collide. Tell us more about why this subject particularly inspires you.
Richelle: I have always been fascinated by the built environment — architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering. The way humans have manipulated the earth is kind of horrifying sometimes, but also incredible.
Moon Bath: In what ways do the rhythms and/or elements of nature influence you?
Richelle: I’m mainly interested in developing themes, motifs and patterns in my paintings. I feel a strong tie to nature but I’m not very interested in representation. I want to create my own language. A lot of people think abstraction is just making weird shapes, but it’s actually based on and responding to a physical reality. It’s about taking elements from nature and distilling them into their most concentrated essence.
Moon Bath: When is your favorite time to take a Moon Bath?
Richelle: My favorite time to take a Moon Bath soak is whenever I’m cold. I’m really warm-blooded, so it’s not often that I get to experience the delicious feeling of warming up in the tub.
Moon Bath: Your botanical bath tea is steeping and your tub is filling with warm water. What are you doing during this precious time in between?
Richelle: I wish I could say I’m doing something productive, but I’m probably just picking my nose!
Moon Bath: In what other ways do you create space in your life to tune in and reconnect?
Richelle: I try to spend a day alone every week, and I don’t talk to anyone or even look at a computer or my phone. I start to feel overwhelmed if I’m expected to be present and ‘on’ for extended periods of time. I need space to think and create, and finding time to completely disconnect is how I recharge. I’m also the most inventive when I’m alone — it’s where all of my original ideas are born.
Moon Bath: Where can we find your artwork?