Artist Voice/Artist Choice is a program where Minnesota artists use ArtsConnectEd.org to connect their own work with the collections and resources of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center.
As a product of America's plastic, throwaway culture, it seems prophetic that I’m best at making art from stuff that people don’t want – stuff they no longer need, but don’t quite throw away. As the world becomes more polluted with this type of refuse, I see this process as a type of alchemist pursuit. This transformative activity can also be seen as a metaphor to how we as humans interact with the earth. The residue of this process is sometimes called art.
I try not to think too much while working. The pieces sometimes resemble an aerial view of a city. I don’t think this is a coincidence. All the things that are required of a society and its inhabitants to coexist are put together in a relatively haphazard way: an electric pole here, fence post there, telephone wire over the house. And most of this infrastructure creates a grid-overlap type pattern. We are surrounded by an infinite number of overlapping rectangles: the room you’re in, the house, the window to the street, the block, and so on.
Somewhere inside every toothbrush is the memory of you brushing your teeth, the way you brush your teeth, and the way you hold your toothbrush. No matter what I try to communicate about something, I don’t think I can compete with that sponge-like quality of objects. So I don’t try to; I just put stuff together and let it speak for itself.
Erik T. Ritter received his Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and his Bachelor of Arts from South Dakota State University. He also completed undergraduate coursework for the School of Arts, Philadelphia through the Vermont Studio School, and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. His visual arts interests include assemblage, painting, drawing, sculpture and video, but he also writes and performs music under the pseudonym of P. Skunk Willy and the Post Virus Apocalypse. Ritter is currently a full time member of the General Education Faculty at Rasmussen College in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota.