Artist in Residence: Alex Rusnak


Now a third-year graphic design student, Alex Rusnak has been expressing himself through visual art for as long as he can remember. As a child, he would draw on anything he could get his hands on, whether it be canvases, class notes, clothes or headphones. In contrast with his peers, he took his art classes seriously in secondary school, putting forth his best effort.

Though initially an economics student, Rusnak made the switch to the School of Visual Art and Design in order to follow what his passion.

Rusnak’s prefers paint of all types like oil, acrylic, spray and house. His works are generally abstract, but with sparing uses of realism.

“My style is similar to that [of] an impressionist painter, but with visual patterns rather than physical patterns, different than, say, Van Gogh," Rusnak says. "I’ll combine various patterns to capture the impression of what I’m seeing.” 

However, Rusnak is not limited to the constraints of a canvas. He is currently in the process of seeking

approval for a commissioned mural of a Carolina wren painted in his signature, intricate style. This large-scale project is to be displayed on a parking garage in the city of Columbia.

Rusnak’s artistry extends beyond the medium of paint. He describes himself as “multidimensional.” He holds interests in music, design and his minor, computer programming.

"Graphic design was a good choice because visual design encompasses everything artistically," Rusnak says. "Knowing the concepts about how to make something visually appealing and how to communicate effectively through visual design is helpful, no matter what medium I work with.”

Rusnak is currently interested in the way people relate to society and their responses to societal and cultural norms,and several of his works revolve around these matters.

He is currently in the process of developing more of a cohesive style and overarching concept for his works. Rusnak’s ultimate dream is living off his art — opening his own studio, creating works, selling prints and featuring in exhibitions.

In the meantime, he channels different kinds of inspiration from various artists. He is influenced by the visual aspects of Zio Ziegler’s and Gustav Klimt’s works, but also finds inspiration from several artists’ outlooks on life, such as Picasso, Stanley Kubrick, Alan Moore, Jim Morrison and Aldous Huxley.

Ziegler and Klimt's types of iinfluences act together to help Rusnak develop as an artist and ultimately hone his personal form of expression.

Rusnak holds the view that fine art serves as a channel for the artist to direct people’s attention to particular concepts and emotions.

"The artist is someone who brings up questions and feelings in an abstract way that causes people to expand  their vision of the world, all while sharing a littleabout himself," Rusnak says. "All forms of art, including literary and performance art, are about communication.”

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