“Ingrid believes the spontaneous action of configuring and re-configuring collages creates an image that is closer to her own perception of consciousness than she often realizes, and is infatuated with the process. You can change a canvas in the blink of an eye, make mistakes, make things right again and figure out when your work is done. Life is never that easy!”
Ingrid Croce, widow of the late singer songwriter Jim Croce, opened Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar as a tribute to her late husband’s music and memory. But the love story of Jim and Ingrid began in 1963, when Jim was captivated by Ingrid and her voice.
The two began writing and performing together as a duo when Ingrid was just 16. While attending Rhode Island School of Design, Jim proposed, and Ingrid returned to Philadelphia and married Jim in 1966 continuing her studies at Moore College of Art, and winning a fellowship in painting ceramics to study abroad.
In the late 60’s Ingrid presented her work at the Museum of Folk Art in NYC and sold her mixed media and collages to live on. Rauschenberg, Picasso and Chagall were among her influences. But in 1969 she left her “art” behind when the couple made an album on Capitol Records, and Ingrid and Jim toured the country performing their music at college concerts, folk clubs and bars. When Ingrid became pregnant with their son Adrian James, the couple sacrificed their time together and Jim went on the road solo. Two years after Jim’s songs “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”, “Time in a Bottle” and “I Got a Name” topped the charts, Jim died in a plane crash in 1973 at only 30. Ingrid 26, fought for a decade to win back their music rights, setting precedent for other artists.
After litigation, Ingrid completed two albums; one with the Rod Stewart Group on Riva Records and one with Nik Venet for Capitol Records. Sadly, Ingrid developed a tumor on her vocal cord while on tour and was unable to sing again.
In 1987, after helping to pioneer the Gaslamp Quarter, in downtown San Diego, California, Ingrid met attorney/musician Jimmy Rock on table 21 at Croce’s. They married on Thanksgiving 1988 and together they expanded Croce’s to include two restaurants, two bars and catering venues. They also began writing the biography of Jim Croce together, but after four years of interviewing family, friends and fans, when the publisher wanted more scandal, they bought the book back.
Subsequently, Ingrid published Thyme in a Bottle, and autobiographical cookbook, The Jim Croce Anthology songbook, The San Diego Restaurant Cookbook, Photographs and Memories, Recipes from Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar.
Today Ingrid tells her narratives with “Photographs and Memories”, acrylic paint, wax, wood, words and whatever works. Her life stories are exhibited throughout her work and designed in her own unique style. Her collages and contemporary art are a process, where piece by piece, the material keeps changing until the balance and harmony feels right. Ingrid likes to tuck in her corners and cover her boxes like a quilt, warm and inviting.
“When I was eight years old, I couldn’t wait to visit Francis, who ran the alteration department at my Grandmother Mary’s dress store on South Street. Francis taught me to sew and I began my love of collage. I’d rummage through her stash of goodies; remnants of material, zippers, tapes, and packaging goods, and stitch pieces and parts together until they made art.” Today, after completing “I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story” published by Pereus/Da Capo, release July, 2012, with her husband Jimmy Rock, Ingrid is ready to return to her passion…her ART!