Creating portraits of people is an art form that goes back nearly as far back as the very notion of art. Countless artists have attempted to give their own approach to the portrait creation process. A modern day example of an artist infusing their individuality and creativity in the portrait design is Dru Ritger from Montvale, New Jersey.
Ritger was surround by an art-loving family and started demonstrating his creative eye as early as age 3. His progression started with simple drawings and developed through multiple mediums, including painting and sculpture. He has always found creating art to be therapeutic in his life. Ritger’s current favorite medium is portraits.
In His Own Words
Ritger explains that “my favorite thing about art is the way that you can connect and affect other people, and it’s true for all art.”
Ritger adds “One of the reasons I paint so many portraits is because as people we have a connection with seeing another human faces and having that eye contact, so it’s serious every time you see a portrait. I love making that connection with the viewer and I find that a powerful image.”
Ritger graduated from Rutgers University and applied his graphic design interest by working at the town of Ramsey’s All Things Media store. He follows in his father’s footsteps, who also focused on graphic design. He could secure regular compensation rather than feeling the pressure to consistently sell his artwork or heavily promote his work at a gallery show.
His style incorporates mixed media and combining many unrelated everyday objects that one wouldn’t initially imagine being included in a portrait. Their creative color and texture inclusions combine to give a powerful texture and weight to this young mans’ self-portrait. Up close, the individual images of the the Buddha, a pizza, sunglasses, a gun, flower and stuffed animal may seem disjointed and unrelated, but stepping back from the canvas allows one to see the sublime synthesis of color and shape to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Ritger appreciates the problem solving aspect of each graphic design project. He enjoys using a computer to assist and facilitate both his work projects and personal artwork. While he really enjoys graphic design, his true passion is for drawing and painting.
“When you do art yourself it’s more open, with design you’re working with a criteria and you have to act creatively in those bounds,” Ritger detailed. “So you get something out of it as well.”
“Graphic design is not for you as an artist at all, so when you do personal work it’s a much different experience.”
Ritger’s intention is to build a portfolio and confidence in his work so that he can sell pieces regularly and put on larger shows in the future. His current show is titled “17 Years of Portraiture” and features his senior art thesis from Rutgers, his large digital self-portrait. Some of the other eight pieces in the exhibit feature portraits of Ritger’s father, Ghandi and several other well known personalities. The styles of his various works range from the very traditional to the very unconventional as demonstrated by his self-portrait.
“It’s about self-definition as an artist, with Internet, and how you react and handle that experience,” Ritger concluded. “The goal was to bridge this modern technology with century-old painting techniques using each image as its own brush stroke and the pixels, and learn about that relationship.”