“I would hate to tell the world that I am really interested in just painting horses and sunsets, and look back only to realize that I had doing that for the last twenty years.” ~ Billy Ritter
Billy Ritter, originally from Elwood City, Pa., is a Master of Fine Arts student at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. He is often found within his Lake-Olson Hall studio. For the past year and a half while in the MFA program, it is at the studio where Billy creates drawing, painting, multimedia and sculpture. His ideas for art are based on his experiences, his environment and his history. He has been working with language and imagery. Ritter says, “It’s really an age-old concept that we are exposed to from birth, and it never subsides until we die. Although it has been said a billion times that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I often believe the cliché is currently more applicable if reversed.
A recent set of textual and dimensional paintings incorporate notes and relics found within mementos left behind by his father and grandparents. This incorporation reveals a concept common to all people. This creative use of what remains re-purposes the notes and effects that would normally be seen as junk. The personal items, though, carry great sentiment and are often hard to throw away. His paintings allow the individual to live on in a very personal and creative way.
He spends time video taping his creative processes on a found VHS tape recorder destined for the dumpster. He says it is appropriate that his ‘found object works’ are documented with another found object. “I say this, as we exist now in an age where hyper technology resides at the reigns of communication, and we as respective participants or bystanders are subject to make sense of the informational influx that consumes our existence.”
All things considered, his ultimate intention and focus is to relay the banality and mediocrity of what society believes our incredibly important lives actually looks like in the eyes of others. He often illustrates the complexities of situations or scenarios in a map like system of correlations and networks, while other encounters or statements can be best portrayed as dark and satirical one-liners. Regardless of depiction or subjective application, Ritter always intend his work to be accessible and universally inclusive on the human level. “Things are always changing for me, and I hope more than anything it always stays that way…fresh.”