WEEK 5- ARTIST CONVERSATION-

Artist: Andre Ritten

Exhibition: Fuse

Media: Metals: Aluminum

Gallery: Metals Group Show, CSULB School of Art, Gatov West, Gatov East

Website: N/A

Andre Ritten graduated last spring and was in the BFA Metals Program at CSULB. He’s interested in volleyball and enjoys spending most of his time at art galleries. He doesn’t have a job related to the field and is trying to be a pilot. He has 2 sons in elementary school and has even sold some of his art pieces. His work explores the idea of “permanence” which is why he likes metals, he likes knowing that even after he’s gone, the art will remain; he has about 75 pieces from all over the spectrum, from small rings to larger items. He’s also interested in jewelry, he said that he likes taking it apart and being able to put it back together in a new way. He gets his inspiration for his work from mystery, tropical, abstract designs, and likes to have an island theme, which might stem from him living in Hawaii for 7 years.

Ritten had 3 pieces in the show a headdress and two lamp like figures. The headdress, my favorite of the 3, was the more colorful, vibrant piece and the only piece that utilized more than just metals. Along with the abundance of similar toned blue and green feathers on it, the bottom part of it has like coins of various colors decorated along it. A few of them have different star, triangle, and cross patterns imprinted on them and the metals have more of a rustic look. Really looking at the picture, it’s such a beautiful piece that really seems to embody his idea of an island theme, with a more rustic feel; the top and bottom of the piece are very different in terms of elegance and “put togetherness” yet go very well together. The piece is very structured and the coin shaped metals are strategically placed around the headdress’s base.

His art is about exploring an idea that is meant to be explored through many different people throughout the years. He said that he likes metal because of its permanence. It’s a stationary object that cannot really be broken down and remains and survives through many conditions. The artist seemed to be trying to share his view on almost everyday objects and trying to make them look more artistic. His pieces reminded me of pieces that would fit well in a house as decorations, something people could incorporate into their everyday life yet be able to admire it for a long period of time and be able to pass on. Also, the idea of reincarnation could also be said to be a source of this, the idea of continuation and the preservation of our entity staying around, yet this piece would keep their form.

Although this artist only had a few items in the group show, I really enjoyed his pieces and appreciated where he was coming from. I like the idea of being able to live on and have your presence remain relevant even when you aren’t there, whether it be because you died or simply aren’t around. The exhibit also followed the idea of the type of art that I like, art that can be functional, two of his pieces were like lamps which I think is a subtle way of leaving your touch, which is what he was trying to do by using metal. When I was younger, I’m literally cringing at this memory, but my favorite quote was “leave a little sparkle where you go,” and it kind of took me back to that, where his metal “sparkles” and he’s trying to leave a mark and remain permanent wherever he and his art goes.

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