‘Yep, that’s what I am doing’: Student artist discusses inspiration


MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – Many kids create art for the joy of it and even some adults still feel this way as they find a new meaningful purpose behind it . 

Rivers Ashton who is now pursuing a degree in Art at Western Illinois University. Ashton’s love for art began at a very young age.  When Ashton’s grandmother complimented the drawing he did in middle school, it opened an realization that Rivers should pursue art.

“So in sixth grade we had to do this project where you had to draw superhero character,” Aston said. “So I did Iron Man, and we had to do the project in Sharpie, but I did it in pencil because I want to shade and I presented it to my grandma. And she was like, ‘Rivers, you are so good at this.’ I was like, ‘Yep, that’s what I am doing,’ and I kept pushing since sixth grad. Now, I’m here.”

Not only grandma,  families, and friends were part of Ashton’s art journey but also one special high school teacher also inspired Ashton heavily.  She decribed Ashton as someone who pushed her to keep going and develop skills.

“Not only was my high school teacher, Mr. H, my inspiration, but a lot of my family and friend influenced me. So like a lot of my work, I want to capture my friends’ and families’ island memories I have with them. But Mr. H will always have a place in my heart because he was someone who pushed me to keep going and develop skills so honestly. I love Mr. H and I miss him. He was something else. He’s a funny guy.

Many artists find themselves in many stages to go through in order to find their skill and style. Western Illinois University professor Susan Czechowski, whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in public and private collections, talked about Ashton’s artistic talent and the strength she sees in Ashton. 

“Rivers is still young in her art-making career but what Ashton really has a nice handle on is drawing and rendering the human figure as well as animal, and Ashton does a really nice job creating volume using value and line work,” Czechowski said. “So in my printmaking course right now, I see how much how the work really incorporates that and trying to pull more of that into their work.”

The young artist talks about the creative process and out of all the materials Ashton uses to make her work however one stood out more. 

“Very, very chaotic,” Ashton said. “If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit of a mess, so if you ever went down to my studio, there are things scattered everywhere, working on multiple things as always, very sporadic very at the moment.”

To learn more about the Western Illinois University Art program, go online at www.wiu.edu/COFAC.

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