Colson III

Visual artist obsessed with American history, old steam trains, clocks, childhood nostalgia, and Star Trek. Part cat whisperer, part big kid.

My Story

I‘m pretty sure my career goal as a kid was to be a cartoonist or an architect. It looks like I didn’t stray too far.

After years of playing with crayons, markers, and colored pencils, I began my professional life as an artist by attending college at the University of Texas. Following graduation, I worked for an online print company building frames in Austin. Later on while living in Philadelphia, I not only started my miniature series, but I also worked for a 150 year old art gallery as well as a local art supply shop.

A brief return to Texas gave me the great opportunity to work with elementary kids as a mentor for AmeriCorps for a year. Together, with teachers, coworkers, local residents and students, the entire community was able to build an outdoor mural and fix up an overgrown garden area where students could learn and enjoy the fresh air.

Charlottesville, Virginia welcomed me in 2011 into one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Here, I started my Zooettes and opened my original online shop. My heart will always be in the Blue Ridge Mountains which is why I created Welcome to Autumn.

Ricky Colson drawing mural profile portrait

Next up was a fantastic short stay in El Paso, Texas then back home to Houston, Texas—close to friends, family, and my beloved Tex-Mex food.

So far on my journey, I’ve painted murals, designed cakes, and been lucky enough to receive international awards for my work. The greatest feeling has been hearing the stories from people who have enjoyed my art and were able to relate to it.

why little people?

Children view their future by its potential – we believe, growing up, that life will improve because people learn from the past, help others, and build on success. Human civilization is constantly moving forward, getting better with each generation.

However, after three decades into my life, I felt the need to express the conflict between that childhood ideal and the bitter realities of adulthood. Our lives are defined by survival. What do we need, and how do we get it? All of those desires come with just as many opinions about how to obtain them.

Suddenly, we’re much older, and the optimism of childhood becomes washed away by competition, doubt, and struggle. The lack of a natural landscape in my paintings is not coincidental. The figures in my work remind me that I may be small, but I still live in a world that I help build. I want to make sure that I improve it and make it one in which I enjoy living.

A person can feel insignificant, but history reveals that the human race can be both innovative and destructive. Playing with toys and action figures is a way for kids to act out their desires and design their own rules and circumstances. I personally enjoyed playing with Legos, Lincoln Logs, and toy trains. I even loved rearranging the furniture in my sister’s dollhouse. But what happens to those desires later on?

Well, we grow up and finally get to determine what our future will look like, except most of us submit to the established circumstances. We lose sight of the fact that we can still design everything everything around us, on a much grander scale than just playing with toys.

The term sandbox is used to explain open-ended games without a right way of playing. That is essentially what life is.

We, as designers, politicians, engineers, and citizens, have to embrace the creativity we have to shape the world around us. We are all small figures just trying to survive. Despite all of the constant, and sometimes repetitive, obstacles, I genuinely still see our future by its potential.

I was continuing to shrink, to become…what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being?

– The Incredible Shrinking Man
let’s see the people

why animal silhouettes?

Yellow owls wall art

Istarted my own online business to provide affordable art, market my work to a wider public, and expand my style using a technique that I love – silhouettes.

The series actually started because of the need to put something decorative over a bed. Following a suggestion by my wife to try something with a silhouette, we tried a simple drawing with owls on a branch.

After that, the idea really took off. I got a chance to play with bright colors, simple shapes, and fun ideas. My Zooettes have provided an opportunity for a more modern way of designing that I hope will lead to other creative projects in the future.

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