MSU undergraduate’s intuitive artwork

Minnesota State University, Mankato is ending the gallery year strong with a creative works exhibition that highlights the work of said undergraduate students by giving them a chance to express themselves through the raw materials and intuitive design.  

Senior Harry Ritchie is one of the artist’s who has work featured in the gallery. Ritchie’s love of art began in high school when he would draw and sketch in notebooks with colored pencils and has since grown as an artist. 

“In the fall of 2018, I started doing more art after I took a semester off and I started posting more on Instagram,” said Ritchie. “I started identifying more as an artist ever since then and I’ve been moving to different art forms.”

While he doesn’t use colored pencils anymore, Ritchie uses oil paint and acrylic ink. Ritchie’s piece in the exhibit is called “Coalescent,” a large red painting with undertones of blue that Ritchie created intuitively. 

“I started with some blue brush strokes and then I decided to cover it up with some red which is interesting because you can see the blue [undertones] and it gives it a weird vibration,” said Ritchie. “[When I create art,] there’s a lot of things that happen that I don’t particularly like and I keep going until I get to a place where I like it. I think that contrast works well and it feels finished.”

After Ritchie graduates this spring, he plans to attend grad school to get an MFA with hopes of teaching at the collegiate level after the impact of his art professors here at MSU. 

“[My] goal is to keep making, creating and exploring new things. I’ve gained a lot of respect for my college professors,” said Ritchie. “I would consider some of my professors friends and I really enjoy that relationship.”

Junior Wynter Prudhomme is another artist who has art in the exhibition. Prudhomme has been creating art since kindergarten where she found her love through arts and crafts. 

“I wouldn’t want to be done with [my projects,]” shared Prudhomme. “I used to get in trouble because I wouldn’t stop creating stuff or have temper tantrums if I couldn’t keep making art. I always had inclination towards it.”

Prudhomme gets inspiration for her art from artist Kristen Liu-Wong who focuses on femininity, sexuality and sensuality in her art. Prudhomme’s piece, titled “The Beauty of Fat” is a huge flower portrait with a plus-size body in the middle. Prudhomme creates art that focuses on underrepresented bodies and persons.

“I thought it would be interesting to put a bold plus size figure on a very large scale that you kind of have to look at because flowers are so beautiful and they just draw you in,” shared Prudhomme. “I wanted to show some representation because representation leads to acceptance in society.”

While Prudhomme isn’t graduating this year, art has still made an impact on her life. Prudhomme explained how she couldn’t live without art and how therapeutic it is for her. 

“I can’t imagine not being able to pick up a paintbrush ever again because it fills me with just a peacefulness. It’s one thing where I can get in the zone, shut my brain off and be at peace,” said Prudhomme. “It’s such a meditative and therapeutic thing for me.”

Ritchie’s advice to future art majors is to talk with other art majors and to put their work out there as much as they can. 

“When a lot of students start out, [art students] have group critiques where we talk about other people’s work and in the beginning, everyone is usually shy and they don’t like speaking up for fear of hurting someone’s feelings if they say something about someone’s art, but communication is big,” shared Ritchie. “Art doesn’t have to look pretty or realistic. It can be whatever you want.”

Prudhomme’s advice to those who are hesitant to display their art is that while it may be initially scary, the rewards are great. 

“The mantra I’ve been going by in life is ‘you never know unless you do it.’ The amount of pain you could receive from doing something and failing is nothing compared to the regret you could feel from not even trying to put yourself out there,” shared Prudhomme. 

Both Ritchie’s and Prudhomme’s pieces will be displayed in the CSU Gallery until the end of the semester.

Header Photo: MSU undergraduate’s artwork is currently being displayed in the CSU art gallery. The exhibition focuses on intuition and raw materials. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to: Emma Johnson at emma.johnson.5@mnsu.edu

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