by Andrew Crisp
Every piece in Rick Walter's new exhibit hanging at the Visual Arts Collective is labeled "Untitled."
"I don't really like giving things titles," said Walter, perched at the bar during the show's opening Aug. 3. "If I titled half of these, it'd be like, 'Rusty Gear' or 'The Skulls,' something like that."
Walter gestured to more than a dozen paintings lining the room. Recurring themes popped up throughout, including a cotton-candy-pink panda bear tumbling through goldenrod clouds, dark skulls floating in black backgrounds and haunting portraits of fire.
Walter said he added the pink pandas to lighten up the darker pieces. In the corner sat three non-canvas pieces, including a figurine of a robotic Mickey Mouse packing heat.
Walter makes a living building toys.
"I tapped into that market by accident," he said. "It actually started taking over the art; I had to stop doing it to get the art done."
Walter said there's a backlog of 26 projects waiting for him. His work sells online to collectors in America and abroad. Though the toys began as a hobby while trying to quit smoking, he said painting remains his biggest focus.
"I'll always paint," said Walter. "I'll never be able to not paint. The toughest part was waiting for the paint to dry."
Walter's series remains on display at VAC through Sunday, Sept. 30. More information on the exhibit is available at Walter's website.