Rita Greiman’s artistic style is detailed; she tends toward realism. Her husband Keith’s work is looser and more energetic, bringing to mind illustrations in children’s books. So when they’re collaborating on a piece, they’re never quite sure how it will wind up.
“One of us will start, and we’ll flow back and forth. There’s a point where it’s like ‘OK, this is how they’re going to connect,’” says Rita, a California native. “We let the little vignettes of painting tell the story, then we see where it’s connecting and continue on that path. But it’s not planned out.”
The results are being shown at their first “solo” dual show, "Same Same," opening this weekend at Art Star.
Keith bartends on the side at Memphis Taproom in Kensington, near where they live with their 14-month-old daughter. He’s more of a full-time artist than Rita, who has a day job in marketing and communications.
For her art, Rita usually creates dioramas with found objects and sculpture; one series is of toy army men, dipped in glitter, toting utensils instead of guns and eating tiny sculptured cakes.
They started working together about two years ago, when Keith asked Rita for help with a detailed pattern for one of his paintings. “I put her to work,” he laughs.
“I probably interjected with ‘you should do this,’” Rita chimes in, “And he probably said, ‘Why don’t you just do it?’”
They each do individual pieces, but have also found a new rhythm in working together. “We’re making a conscious decision to be a little bit more on top of each other,” says Keith, who’s originally from Bucks County. “I’ll put in a space for a face and then Rita will draw the eyes. We’re layering.”
“I try so hard to achieve sort of that naive style, that art of the insane — the homeless guy drawing with charcoal is usually way better than anyone else,” Keith says. “I work hard at that. Whereas Rita — don’t take this the wrong way, it’s about the best compliment I can pay — but Rita’s stuff just has that. It’s insane, it’s that weird stuff. Mine is more contrived, trying to get there. Rita just arrives there.”
Keith and Rita Greiman will be showing individual and collaborative pieces in a show titled "Same Same" at Art Star, 623 N. Second St. The opening reception is Saturday.