Artist’s Corner: Artistic Visibility

Celeste Berardi, Reporter

On a surprisingly sunny day in February, I sat down with the talented Syd Ritsema. Syd, who identifies as non-binary, says that their first exposure to art came from watching cartoon animation as a child. “It really got me inspired to try my hand at my own,” Ritsema said.

Ritsema describes their personal artistic style as a fusion of different aesthetics.“You’ve got your cartoonish and you’ve got your realism, and its somewhere in between,” Ritsema said.

Syd’s mother, who is also an artist, as well as a community of online artists, encourage Syd to continue developing their artistic aptitude. “My Instagram is basically filled with artists. Whenever I see Meyoco, who does a lot in copics, or Cyarine [their art] has inspired me to continue on doing  own style of realism,” Ritsema said.

“I was starting to get really interested into witchcraft and natural embodiment of power and spirits,” Ritsema said. In this piece, Ritsema describes how they observed elements of nature’s effect on personality and tenor.

“She’s taking the energy from around her, bringing it into herself and infusing it into the things that she takes care of,” Ritsema said, “This was done in mostly watercolor because it’s a little bit more fantastical.”

“I was watching Bob Ross and I was really inspired. He was just talking about painting and I was like ‘Dang, I want to paint now!’ So I just painted along with him using some of the same colors and techniques he would,” Ritsema said.

“I did a print off of this one. It was really wanted in the school and in GSA (Gay Straight Alliance),” Ritsema said, “Everything about it screamed to me that you need to do something that surrounds sexuality, but not in a pornographic sense. Whenever people think of two women together, they think ‘porn’ but that’s not really what it is.”

Syd often finds inspiration in the female physique. “With women, there are a bunch of body shapes. For the most part, they are more exuberant and more energetic,” Ritsema said.

“I call this one my ‘acceptance piece’. (Full image of nude can be seen here) The first stage of acceptance for me was acceptance of the body. Once you accept your body, you can start accepting your mind.” Ritsema acknowledges the possible controversy of painting nudity. “Having her with clothes on seemed as though she was hiding, so I definitely wanted her to be nude. It probably shocked a lot of people in showcase, but I felt like it was the only to get my point across,” they said.

Much of Ritsema’s inspiration stems from the LGBT community.“This is my friend Drew (right). Hes trans (transgender). This is me (left), and I am non-binary, so I wanted to showcase different genders,”Ritsema said.

Ritsema also enjoys utilizing other mediums. In this portrait, Ritsema employs their skills in hard mediums such as charcoal and graphite.“This one was Maddie Thomas. She’s just so pretty, and her personality seemed to really fit what I was going for,”Ritsema said.