Associate Arts and Culture Editor
Sarita Ricchiuto is welcoming Millersville peers into her creative process. Her senior art gallery (on display in Breidenstine on the third floor) is all about conveying to her audience what crafting a piece feels like. She does this articulately through painting, drawing, and photography. “I use art to teach everyone what it is like to be me,” she says. Her muse is the human figure. As I look around the room at her work, it is clear that this is where her fascination lies. Much of the work is investigating the concept of a mask. Some pieces have figures with physical masks covering their faces, while others cover the visage with hands, a cloth, or other physical barriers. She wants her work to ask the question, ‘how does the hand deform the face?’ By using a layering technique to reveal exactly what her art making process is like, Sarita dispels any secrets between artist and audience. Now, the illusion is gone and what’s left to contemplate is clear. She wants her art to reveal something deeper and true to human nature: that we all wear masks of some kind.
Sarita always knew she wanted to be an artist. “It was just what I always answered as a kid when anyone asked me,” she says. She didn’t, however, seriously consider it as a career until she took her first ‘real’ art class sophomore year of high school. Her passion only blossomed from there. In addition to majoring in Painting and Drawing, Sariata also picked up a BSc in Art Education. This decision, which started as job security, has led her to fall in love with teaching. “I want to teach in an urban setting. I feel like those that are growing up in urban communities have more active lives; there are more things going on and it can be easier to come up with ideas and be inspired in that kind of environment.”
Most of the work Sarita is displaying was created with paint. She describes herself as a fast painter. While some artists will spend eight plus hours on a piece, five hours is the most she has ever spent on a painting. She learned how to draw first, and is usually happier with how her drawings turn out because there is more room for variation. “Something is lost from painting to drawing,” she says. “I enjoy the process of painting and showing people what I saw first,” she explained. For me, art making is a vision, a perspective. So you’re never going to see the same thing.”
Sarita wants her work to feel familiar. She enjoys painting her family, boyfriend, and friends in addition to strangers who sit for her. She describes them as two completely different processes. “I treat the paint differently,” she says. When she explains to me the exploratory process of painting a loved one: I feel a deep sense of wisdom in her words. “You actually learn something from painting something, or someone, you really adore,” she states. Sarita’s work is profound and honest because she hides nothing. She wants her discovery and thoughts to be laid bare for her audience. She holds nothing back. She becomes unmasked.