Remembering 'Chuck' Ripper


Huntington’s Chuck Ripper was one of the best-
known wildlife artists in the country.

 File photo | The Herald-Dispatch


When Charles “Chuck” Ripper was going to art school, his instructors
 warned him he would never make a living painting birds and bugs.
And they told him he would have to move to New York or
some other big city if he ever hoped to
be successful as an artist.

Ripper proved them wrong on both counts. He went on to become
 one of the best-known wildlife artists in the country. His work
 appeared in dozen of books and on countless magazine
 covers, greeting cards, playing cards, jigsaw
 puzzles and even U.S. postage stamps.

 Moreover, he achieved that kind of success while working
 in a studio fashioned from the garage at his West
Huntington home, rather than in a big city.

 Ripper was born in 1929 in the Pittsburgh area. His father
was a blacksmith by trade but also an amateur landscape
painter who spent hours in the woods, with his young
 son tagging along. His mother was an elementary
 art teacher. Both parents encouraged his
 interest in nature and art.

He graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1949
and had illustrated his first children’s book before his
20th birthday. Following graduation, he worked
as an illustrator for the Carnegie Museum of
Natural History until he was drafted during
 the Korean War. He served as a U.S.
Army topographic draftsmen,
 preparing military maps.

 After completing his military service, he came to Huntington
to become art director for the former Standard Printing
 & Publishing Co. He left Standard Printing in 1965
 to begin his fruitful career as a freelance artist.

Chuck Ripper died in 2019. A trail at Huntington’s
Harris Riverfront Park is named for him
and features his illustrations.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Oct. 17, 2023.


[ Back ]