Week 5 – Artist Conversation – André Ritter

Artist: André Ritter
Exhibition: Fuse
Media: Metalwork/Jewelry
Gallery: Gatov-West
Website: None

André is a graduate from CSULB’s Metal and Jewelry department. He’s been working with metal and jewelry for about four years now, but he said he had worked with many other types of visual art mediums. Working with metal, he prefers to utilize small pieces on a large canvas rather than large pieces that take up too much space.

At the gallery on Thursday, I spoke to André about his tiki headwear (shown below on the right). He calls it Persistence. It is a beautifully crafted headdress that utilizes cool colors such as blue, green, and a sea-foam greenish color for the feathers. The base of the headdress is leather that has been carefully sewn together. It is embroidered with stamped metal coins made of copper and brass. At the center of the leather base is a ceramic mold of a tiki face (crafted by applying an acid solution). Underneath the embroidery, you can see that he has made some detailed cuts on the leather that have this tribal design.

According to André, he chose to create this because he was very interested in tribal cultures – specifically the tiki cultures in the pacific. He chose cool colors because he just likes the feeling of refreshment and being cool rather than hot. He showed me the process of the production of the headdress. He wet the leather and cut his designs, stained it, and sewed it together in a matter of months. He calculates he spend approximately over a hundred hours on the project.

I really was intrigued by the headdress, which is why I approached him about it in the first place. André was a nice guy that really opened my eyes to the fusion of different art forms (metalwork/jewelry/leather). I really liked the tiki concept as well because I’m pretty in tune with my cultural background. I’m from Guam and I like anything that represents Polynesian culture well. I thought it was a beautiful piece.


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