Ripley admires Park Ridge native’s work
Artist Kate Askegaard stands next to her painting "True Love" at the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in Baltimore, Md. The image was created entirely out of dots of ink. | Contributed photo
NAME: Kate Askegaard
BEST KNOWN AS: Ripley’s Believe it Or Not stippling artist
HOMETOWN: Park Ridge
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:04AM
PARK RIDGE —Believe it or not, but Park Ridge native Kate Ristau Askegaard’s eye-opening adaptation of Michelangelo’s Pieta — created with millions of tiny ink dots — has gotten the attention of an organization dedicated to celebrating the shocking and unusual: Ripley’s.
Askegaard’s “True Love,” a 5-foot by 5-foot painting of the classic sculpture using an artistic method called stippling, was purchased by Ripley’s Entertainment and is now seen by thousands of visitors daily at the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Baltimore, Md.
Askegaard said she was contacted by a Ripley’s curator who expressed interest in purchasing “True Love” for public display. Askegaard, eager for more people to see her piece, agreed.
“He said that my art piece is one of the most technically-advanced pieces in the whole Ripley’s collection, which was a huge compliment,” Askegaard recounted. “I was just so honored by that.”
The Park Ridge Herald-Advocate profiled Askegaard and “True Love” last year as the artist prepared to exhibit the piece in the annual ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich. Unfortunately, Askegaard said, her artwork was seen by fewer people than she had hoped.
That’s why, when Ripley’s came calling, it wasn’t difficult to part with the piece that had become part of Askegaard’s world for the last 10 months.
“The fact that it’s in a museum and they get 1,200 people through a day and it’s open seven days a week, 365 days a year, that’s an artist’s dream. That’s what you want — your work to be seen,” Askegaard said.
Askegaard, who lives and works in Dixon, was paid $7,500 for “True Love” which she estimates took more than 1,500 hours to complete.
“It was more a trade-off for the exposure,” she said.
It also meant attending the grand opening of the new Ripley’s museum in June and seeing her art on permanent display.
“It’s really a good launching point for my career as an artist,” she said.
Meanwhile, the 1998 Maine South High School graduate is showcasing more work, also created using stippling, during this year’s ArtPrize competition. Called “A Moment In Time,” the piece consists of a series of portraits of Princess Diana, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bruce Lee, Houdini and Abraham Lincoln. Like “True Love,” each is an image created entirely of ink dots.
“It’s all people who died before their time but did the most with their lives while they had the chance to,” Askegaard said of the series.
“A Moment of Time” will be on display at ArtPrize through Oct. 7 at the Water’s Building, 161 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids, Mich. The competition’s top prize is $200,000.