Simon Ripley is a Founder Director of the Double Elephant Print Workshop, based in Exeter, SW England. He comes from a family of printers and grew up in the world of multi-colour, embossed and gold blocked labels for Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky or Beefeater Gin. Inheriting an 1850’s Columbian Relief Press from a stationery printer’s factory in Perth, Scotland set him on a journey for life. He specialised in printmaking, with teachers Graham Clucas and Steve Thorpe in Fine Art at Plymouth University and became especially interested in the woodcuts of Helen Frankenthaler: in particular ‘Essence Mulberry’ and ‘Savage Breeze’; her use of surface, colour and fine Japanese papers. The simple power of Munch’s prints, the politics in Tàpies and the abstract printmaking of Ian McKeever are all important influences.
His work today is drawn from the world around him - not just the physical environment but conversations, music, politics, people and a desire to make a unique image that speaks of more than the sum of its parts, speaks of what it is to be human and reflects the fundamental questions of life back upon us.
Simon specialises in community, participatory printmaking with Double Elephant - taking print into schools, hospitals, prisons or public places, encouraging others to find their own interpretations of life through printmaking.