‘Clever, lewd, crude and undesirable’ art

Kevin Reed | Entertainment Editor

Auston Ricks’s artwork is centered around the viewer thinking in a different way than they are used to and interpreting his art in their own way. Ricks is a criminal justice student in his junior year here at Western. In his spare time, he puts together message-based art pieces using a mixture of photography and drawing. Recently, some of his pieces have been showcased in a display on the second floor of the Werner University Center, across from the Wolf Grill. I got to sit down with Ricks this past week and ask him about his art process.

“I want to go for something different but that still expresses something,” said Ricks. He explained that the most important part of his art is the expression and messages in his art. “I try to do something I wouldn’t say more complex because some of these drawings are super simple but something that’s different.” His artwork truly does reflect this because looking at each piece you can tell they all have a specific emotion or message around them.

The process Ricks goes through to put his artwork together is quite unique.

“A lot of these are actually pictures I take, some are not. What I’ll do is draw a picture and use free software to put the two together.” Usually he will take his photographs and his drawings and use several online programs such as Burner Bonanza, and LunaPic to crop and fill the images and an app called Pic Collage to place the drawn image into the photo. Art sometimes runs the risk of becoming too crowded or over complicated because of the medium it’s portrayed in. The process he goes through is intentionally straightforward in style so the viewers can focus on what the art piece means to them. He mentioned how the art pieces start as an idea, in his head or a random drawing and that each is done in one sitting.

“Almost all of these, once I start it, it’s all the way through. Whether it’s sitting down and working for three to four hours or not.” Though art pieces that have been worked on for months are beautiful and spectacular, some lose their message and the creator’s original feeling. This style of art is without any distractions for the viewer and just gives them a peek straight into the artist’s mind. There really is no room for distraction and leaves nothing but raw and pure creativity on the page.

Many times ideas will come to Ricks just from him drawing and or taking pictures of something he finds interesting and putting the two together. In his piece “Sex” the background of the print is actually a picture of dried coconut milk. He also takes inspiration from plenty of other artists.

“Top three definitely are Ralph Steadman, Salvador Dali and Doctor Seuss.” When talking about one of his more colorful pieces he mentioned Andy Warhol inspired him. “The color scheme is based around Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe which actually goes into a lot of these.”

Sometimes, the message or feelings Ricks has behind a piece can be heavier for him and viewers. Whether it’s the overall message of the art or the emotions he was going through, some of his works hold a heavier message than others. Describing his print “Finger Jam.” “That’s a car I crashed … So I took a picture of it. That’s on the road I had just crashed. I had it on my phone for a long time. Then one day I drew that, and they both came together so well.”

A comment on his art display read “Your art is very clever also very lewd, crude, and undesirable,” to which Ricks responded: “What a good description in art in general.” Ricks thinks about art in very new and different way than some other artists do. Ricks is a fantastic artist who is able to create such thought-provoking art in such a simple medium. He doesn’t distract the viewer from his message through the art and puts it right there on the page. A large part of his art comes straight from his heart and on a whim what he puts out is untouched creativity. Ricks posts new pieces of art on his Instagram @ricks_pressionism.

Contact the author at kreed17@wou.edu

Photo by: Paul F. Davis