Ball State junior Braeden Raymer has been drawing his whole life. Even as a young child his parents saw his artistic talent. He started making comic strips and drawing with vivid detail. He practiced until he could draw his favorite characters from games, movies or comics. During his junior year of high school, he decided to pursue a career in art. He became serious about improving and found a home for his artistic ability at Ball State.  

The 83rd annual Ball State art show gives Raymer an opportunity to show off his skill and improvement. He says he applies to two or three shows a year. He usually only gets accepted to one or two. But he deals with rejection well. Raymer doesn’t take it personally and understands it is part of the process.

“I participate in the show because it's a great way to get professional exhibition experience and to get eyes on your work,” Raymer said. “It's also a great opportunity to win awards.”

This year Raymer will be exhibiting four pieces, an oil painting called "Pi Hole," a large-scale charcoal drawing titled "Self-Portrait (Wall-Crawling)," a large pen and ink drawing titled "Under Construction," and a color woodcut print named "The Squid."

“For me, art is about expressing yourself visually and exploring visual ideas,” said Raymer when asked what art meant to him. “It could mean something else to someone else, and I guarantee I'll change my mind a few years down the road, but right now I'm really interested in creating interesting images.”

He said he finds inspiration to create from other forms of media like television shows, movies, video games and comics. Raymer also finds inspiration in the work of other artists. He suggests that others connect online with artists whose work they admire.

One of his favorite Ball State professors is David Johnson, associate professor of art. Raymer said that Johnson has been a mentor to him in both drawing and printmaking. Raymer said Johnson is always supportive and helps him effectively carry out his creative ideas. He pushes his students to try new things and is always willing to impart his expertise with students.

“Drawing, for me, is one of the most natural, organic, human activities. It is both wonderfully primitive and endlessly sophisticated,” Johnson said. “We can ‘read it’ like we read gesture, tone of voice and attitude.”

Johnson has exhibited in over 400 shows worldwide. His work has been purchased for display in the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, Yale University Art Library and others. 

“I like an art that derives from a person’s life and experience,” Johnson said. “Something the person knows about or has had direct experience with, so they know what they’re talking about.”

Raymer believes  Ball State University is a good place to be at for an art student. He acknowledges that students get hands-on experience in elaborate studios they wouldn’t have access to elsewhere. He likes being able to work with new materials and techniques at will.

“The professors here really want you to have tried a little bit of everything before you graduate, and I think having that well-rounded knowledge of the arts can really help you discover exactly what you want to do,” Raymer said.

The art show opened on Feb. 22 and will continue through March 13. The event is open to the public and admission is free.




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