MEET BERWYN’S CREATIVES: ANTONIA RUPPERT
Name: Antonia Ruppert
Current Residence: Lyons
All about Antonia
I’m the oldest of six and a proud Chi-town girl -from Chicago’s Austin and Humboldt Park communities. As a child growing up in Humboldt Park, I use to draw on discarded pantyhose paper inserts my mother had. My family did not have extra money for art supplies. From these humble beginnings, I went on to become Jesuit educated–a fine arts alum from Loyola University Chicago.
Fast forward to today, I’m married with children and my full-time job is to be creative! I’m a self-described optimist and ambitious hopeful.
The Business Side: Antonia Ruppert Fine Art began after a burning desire to use my lifelong gift of visual art. For many years, I was an administrative assistant and office assistant. My artwork took a backseat. With my project support experience, I learned what successful projects looked like from listening to meetings, taking notes and working with great people.
In 2008, I decided not to pursue another full-time job and instead pursue my artistry with all of my might. Though a rank amateur, I utilized my skill, relationships and my location to create. My first client was my local library. Although I felt horribly inept at many things, God was with me and we created a mural, five paintings and a welcome bench for the Bradford Anderson Oglesby Public Library in Markham, IL. I am forever grateful to the library for giving me this first opportunity.
Today, my art work can be found in numerous regional venues including: The University of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago Public Library, Acorn Public Library, Austin Childcare Network, Forest Park Park District, Berwyn North School District 98, Elmwood Park Public Library, Grand Prairie Services, Living Springs Community Church, Oak Forest Park District and Oak Park (along the Green Line).
Describe yourself using 3 words.
Encouraging: Being encouraging is a natural tendency for me. I like to have gatherings at my house for no other reason than to have people encouraged.
Non-conforming: As my mother might say -stubborn. I believe that positive things will happen if I just keep creating. I refuse to believe anything else.
Relentless: I keep praying. I keep dreaming. I keep creating -until something magical happens. I believe these traits have served me well.
What inspires you?
I am inspired and I know I’m on the right track when I help others revisit their creativity. At one of my community art gatherings last year, several people approached the painting table to paint with me. I sensed that the matriarch of the group – a small woman – really enjoyed her time painting. At the end of our time together, I was told that she had not painted since coming to the United States. It was such an honor to provide the tool for this creative soul to rediscover art. Further, another client – recently divorced – commissioned me to paint her a picture to symbolize freedom. I created a piece that spoke to the love she felt for herself. These encounters continually inspire me. It is from these experiences that I seek to uplift my community and connect people with artistic expression. I am in the middle of my best year – I have high hopes for the future.
Tell us something that people might not know about you.
People might not know that at heart, I am old school! This means that I take it back to the basics and prefer to write with a pen and paper. Soul and Gospel music make my heart happy, walnut ice cream is my favorite and teal is by far my favorite color!
I like to say that Berwyn chose us. Mike, my husband found a great job very far from Southland Chicago where we lived. We looked at a map when we were choosing where we’d land. Berwyn was centrally located. It also helped that Mike’s parents were long time Berwyn residents. I have found my Berwyn friends to be hardworking – just like me. They have been progressively open to the arts – which is great for me.
One of my most amazing projects in Berwyn was the one I completed for Berwyn School District 98. During fine arts week, my assistant artist Carolyn and I worked with the entire second grade class to produce four large paintings for the district. The staff was not only extremely helpful, but the young people were so grateful and receptive to creating with us.
Further, with the Berwyn Development Corporation’s Women In Business group, I have formed many beautiful business associations. We help each other rise.
Where is one of the most interesting places you’ve been?
Italy in 2017. I visited Civita Castellana for a painting residency. This place was magical. There were cobblestone streets, amazing cuisine and amazing views all around. This trip was 25 years in the making!
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter from the seventeenth century is who I’d most like to meet. When I first encountered her work and her life history, I was like “Wow.” During a time when there were not many accomplished women painters, she overcame abuse to become an amazing artist with international acclaim.
What risks are worth taking?
God given dreams are worth risking for. They are worth journaling and documenting. I recently talked to two young ladies about their future. I encouraged one to write it down and make it a plan. Much of what is happening in my career at this very moment, was prayed over and written about years ago.