Artist juxtaposes beauty, violence

In an exclusive art installation on SE Campus called Ryder Richards: Pow[d]er, artist Ryder Richards displays contradiction in his pieces between violence and beauty.

Power (The Combine), Ryder Richards
Photos by Claire Weeden/The Collegian

The collection is made up of about 15 pieces of artwork that provide visual images of guns, oil pump jacks and mufflers with floral and intricate designs, using gunpowder and burnt graphite.

In a piece called, “Disruption I,” two mirrored rifles are hidden in a feminine design with gunpowder along the background.

The piece, “Fulfilling the Void,” has two gold-plated mirrored rifles with a hot pink-bordered orchid placed on top of it.

The installation also includes a room of what looks like breathing walls, giving a dramatic feel to his assortment of deeper-meaning work.

Fulfilling the Void: Orchid, Ryder Richards
Photos by Claire Weeden/The Collegian

Richards grew up in New Mexico around a family who “hunted a lot.”

This lifestyle inspired Richards in his artistry as well as his view of life.

“I had no desire to hunt,” he said. “It’s an unnecessary part of culture that supposedly teaches you how to be a man.”

Richards said he grew interested in the way people would dismiss violence when disguised by beauty and how the power that guns have make it look “cool.”

Richards explained that people disregard the fact that there is weaponry in his art just because he portrays it in a lighter fashion, seducing people into believing it’s OK.

— Dena Adi