Richard “Ricky” Watts
Ricky Watts’ love for art was prevalent from an early age. At 3-years-old, his mother would draw bubble letters on paper for Ricky to color in. A relatively normal suburban childhood, Watts collected comic books, rode BMX bikes, explored creeks and construction sites. He often created his own comic strips involving epic battles between nuclear dinosaurs and the U.S. Army.
In an 8th grade math class, Ricky fell in love for the first time. A classmate shared a copy of Can Control magazine, a graffiti publication from Seattle. He became obsessed, experimenting with spray paint under bridges around town. These early years were all trial & error experimentation, as the “how-to” internet boom hadn’t developed yet.
Fascinated with aerosol art, by 1995 he was fully engaged, painting elaborate works often under the cover of night. A year later, Watts developed HelmetHeds, a black and white graffiti zine, made from photos and articles of the Northern California graffiti scene. Created as a way to inspire and share with others, HelmetHeds grew to a cult-like following over 13 issues in eight years.
HelmetHeds was Watts’ first experience in print design. In 2000, “seeking a career”, Watts enrolled at the Art Institute of California, San Diego campus with an emphasis in graphic design. Ricky left AI in 2002 and returned to the bay area the following year. It was then he realized his true calling as a fine artist and focused on exhibitions while working a day job as a graphic designer in the print industry.
Watts’ debut solo show in 2004, “Spontaneous Combustion” received rave reviews and nearly sold out opening night. Watts has gone on to exhibit in San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego and through out Northern California.
Ricky Watts’ art has been featured in numerous international print and web publications;Juxtapoz.com, Herman Miller, X-Funs (Taiwan), Refused,
In 2013, Watts painted the largest mural in Sonoma County, a five-story monster on the side of the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
A member of the ZeroFriends collective, Ricky currently works out of his Sebastopol, California studio. He can be contacted through the contact section.