Artist: Andre Ritter
Exhibition: Fuse: Join to Form A Single Entity
Media: Mixed Metals
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery
This Thursday I had the pleasure of having a conversation with artist Andre Ritter. Andre is a recent graduate in the spring of 2015 of the CSULB School of Art Metals Program. Andre had three pieces of art in the Fuse exhibition. This exhibition was particularly interesting because it was comprised of a variety of different pieces from several artists working in the Metals and Jewelry department. Andre had three pieces of his work displayed in the exhibit: a triangular light piece, a vibrant headdress, and an intricate wall decor.
Since Andre is a graduate of the Metals department, he primarily worked with different forms of mixed metals. The lighted piece was comprised of aluminum metal, which he said was quite unexpected for an artist to use for that particular work of art. Andre explained that aluminum is among the easier metals to work with because you don’t have to get it as hot in order to shape it. His headdress, “Persistence”, was crafted using leather, feathers, copper, and brass. The base of the headdress had intricate designs using different geometric cut-outs of metals, giving a platform for the vibrant green and blue feathers. His last piece, “Idol Hands”, was constructed with brass, copper, and steel, containing the same geometric pattern and cut-outs of the metals.
During my conversation with Andre, it was clear to me that he is very passionate about his artwork. When I asked him what his inspiration was, he communicated that he loves mysterious and tropical motifs. He used to live in Hawaii, which had a large influence on his abstract designs. I then asked him why he chose to use metals as him main type of media. His answer really resonated with me. Andre explained that he loves the permanence of metal and the idea that it lasts longer than anything else, and that his work will be around long after he’s gone so that people can still enjoy it. In “Idol Hands,” Andre mentioned that it is constructed of elements and scraps from his previous projects all put together into one piece. He also said that this was the last piece that he created before he graduated from CSULB. This could be symbolic of wrapping up his time in his program into one uniform piece. This idea of re-purposing also appears in some of Andre’s older works. He said that he used to take old necklaces and break them apart to turn them into something new.
Personally, I think the idea of re-purposing is a really interesting and important concept. The act of taking something old that was once beautiful and returning its beauty is an amazing thing, not only in art, but in other aspects of life. I am a huge fan of vintage clothing and scavenging around thrift stores for unique finds, so I think what Andre is doing with his metals is fascinating. I like the idea of a retro-future: taking items and ideas from the past and turning them into something new and modern in today’s society. If I were to create some art of my own, I would definitely employ the usage of vintage mediums and turn them into something new.
Overall, the Fuse exhibit was very enlightening and it was interesting to explore the various different artists combined into one space. My conversation with artist Andre Ritter was intriguing and I am happy to have had the time to hear and see what he had to share with us.