Artistically Speaking - Animated Ambition

Last Updated on Aug 6, 2015 at 11:13am | Arts & Culture

"Artistically Speaking" is a regular feature of The Lake-Front magazine, in cooperation with the Garrett County Arts Council, and is being reprinted here in its entirety with permission. This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.
 
 
Artist Seth Pitt of Thomas, WV will soon be featured at The Gallery Shop in downtown Oakland. The Backroom Gallery exhibit will showcase his whimsical illustrations and mixed media collages which begin as little doodles.
 
At the age of 22, Seth was employed at a cell phone accessory cart in a local mall. During his down time, he began to ‘doodle.’ That was the beginning of his visual art career. “At that time, I considered myself a writer and the environment of a mall didn’t really lend itself to that form of expression. Drawing little cartoons however worked great as a way to pass the time,” he says. It was upon moving to West Virginia that Seth began to take his ‘little cartoons’ more seriously. He had more time to work on them and see them as artwork.
 
Seth began to grow in his new found craft, preferring practice as a way of enhancement rather than taking classes and workshops. “It (formal training) runs me into a LOT of limitations but finding ways around them has a certain sort of way of cultivating a particular style. Maybe one of these days I’ll be interested in actually learning some technical skills, but for now I appreciate this way of growing.”
 
When asked to describe his artwork, Seth replied “Illustrations that are a sort of meeting place for a children’s story and a good book of poetry. At once profound and silly, I now see them as attempts at illuminating the magic in seemingly commonplace ideas and things.”
 
Not only does Seth create hand drawn illustrations and mixed media collages, he also does “abstract, highly time intensive large format melted crayon pieces, small found object assemblages, a much more untethered form of figurative line drawings, poetry and prose.” A collection of his melted crayon pieces is currently being exhibited at TipTop in Thomas, West Virginia. When creating these pieces, he seeks inspiration from an array of places, though he is mostly intrigued by the world of imagination and how we can create things that were never there before.
 
When asked what he would like others to know about his artwork and himself, Seth solemnly replied “I think the most important thing I have to impart is that I grew up believing I couldn’t make art. I had this idea of what art was and that I wasn’t capable of creating it. But everyone is capable of creating art, you only have to understand that it’s about self expression not about adhering to some sort of idea or style. Everything you see in this show evolved from really elementary drawings. I began, literally, drawing stickmen doing things. They were drawings created for personal pleasure and while I’m awfully glad that folks have come to like them as much as I do, it’s still all about being personally happy with the act of creation. I think if I ever stray from that, making art will lose its value to me.”
 
From a young man doodling at a cell phone accessory cart, to an artist selling his work throughout the country, Seth is truly making a name for himself wherever his artwork takes him. Primarily selling at The White Room Art Gallery in Thomas, WV, his work can be found in many locations around West Virginia, in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and even Texas.
 
He also participates in festivals as a vendor. This year he participated in Festivall in Charleston, will be at the Augusta Art and Craft Fair in Elkins, WV, and the Accidental Music Festival in Accident, MD. His work will be featured alongside several West Virginian artists in Morgantown for a show curated by Ian Bode, who designed the show to exhibit the new and rising artists of West Virginia.
 
His latest exhibition space will be The Gallery Shop operated by Garrett County Arts Council. The show will hang from August 17 – September 18. Seth stated that he found GCAC through “Heidi Haldeen, manager of The Buxton Landstreet Gallery, who sent an email about a call for submissions for artists.”
 
Though Seth has had so many achievements, he says that one of the biggest honors is when people stop and take the time out of their day just to look and find some resonance with his work. “There’s so much in this world that’s perpetually asking for our attention so when someone, on their own volition, decided to dedicate a few moments to look at my work, well that’s no small thing at all.”
 
Seth is not only passionate about his art, but community growth as well. In a world where it is easy for an artist to become self absorbed, Seth says that it is important to remember that we are part of a community and to try to dedicate a portion of our time to service the places we live in.
 
As stated before, Seth calls Thomas, WV home, saying that he could not imagine a community more ‘perfectly nurturing’ for an artist like himself. “I’m surrounded by so many staggeringly talented, hardworking, and inspiring artists on a daily basis, as well as incredibly supportive art appreciators. I feel that I owe a lot to that community and I couldn’t get through this interview without mentioning that.”
 
Seth Pitt, a man who went through the first part of his life believing he could not make art, has emerged into a successful artist. As an artist, he is not afraid to push the boundaries of what others see as ‘real art.’ He began where most of us usually do, drawing stick figured doodles, and those have evolved into unique and recognizable artworks. Seth says, “There’s only one way that what you make will ever exist and that’s if you make it.”
 
To see Seth Pitt’s one-man show, visit The Gallery Shop located at 206 East Alder Street, Oakland. A project of Garrett County Arts Council, hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Funding is provided by Garrett County Government, Maryland State Arts Council, and through membership support. For more information or to become a member, contact GCAC at (301) 334-6580 or visit www.garrettarts.com.