By Ernest Disney-Britton
|"The Next Supper" (2016) by Bill Fritsch; white pencil on black paper, 58" x 39". Courtesy of ArtPrize.|
|William Fritsch at his studio in Kalamazoo, Michigan|
A1. I am originally from the Metropolitan Detroit area and despite my age, I was born in 1954, I consider myself to be a "young artist." I have had very little formal art training, compared to most. In 2005, just by chance, I took an art class at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. My intention was to get out of the house and away from my profession career as a pharmacist to pursue something more meaningful than a "night out with the boys." An assignment in my second course led me to discover the challenge and personal fulfillment of drawing with white pencil on black paper. My third and last course was Life Drawing.
|"Sunday Crossword" by William Fritsch|
A2. I am a life-long Christian, raised in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. Because the famous art displayed by the Church is strongly tied to antiquity, it can be challenging to gain a fresh connection with the artist's message. My goal is to create connections with what is holy, not only through a portrayal of who we are but also through what we do.
|The Last Supper - by Leonardo Da Vinci|
|Over the right shoulder of Ernest Disney-Britton is displayed a print of "The Next Supper"|
A3. A few years back there was some public discourse in our local newspaper on the identity of the true religion. One writer professed that "Islam accepts the truth of all religions," while another countered with "Jesus claimed to be the Son of God." I responded to both writers by pointing out a prevailing theme among the world religions - one or the other claims to be the only way to know God. My conclusion was this, "The words describing religious unbelievers - heathen, barbarian, primitive, savage, gentile, idolater, infidel and pagan - express the relationship between strangers. Fortunately, with God no one is a stranger. Do I have a clear understanding of God’s relationship with people whose religion is not mine? No I don’t and I don’t think anyone else does, either. But my faith allows me to leave it in God’s hands."
|"Twinkle in my eye" by William Fritsch|
A4. The artistic challenge of "The Next Supper" was to capture the timeless and inclusive nature of Jesus' Passover Supper. The classical interpretations rely on a setting with Jesus and his apostles which reinforces the Christian Testament scripture and conventional religious doctrine. I wanted to offer an alternative to this patriarchal tradition by introducing children, minorities, special need individuals, and women to the table. The biggest departure I made was to not include the central figure in the drawing. This allows the viewer to complete the story on their own, under their own terms.
|2016 Artprize entry "Art for All Ages" by William Fritsch|
A5. I am attracted to a wide range of art. Some of my favorite artists are; the Chauvet Cave artists, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Dominika Kubik, Georgia O'Keefe, and Jerry Vasconcellos. I met the Hawaiian sculptor Jerry Vasconcellos almost 20 years ago. He sculpts in both wood and basalt. I have six of his pieces and in 2005 I commissioned him to create the processional cross at my church.
|Portrait of Pastor Peter M. by William Fritsch|
A6. There are only two collections of my artwork. One is a set of four portraits of my sister-in-law's family - at her home. The other is my personal collection of six drawings. The the balance of my original drawings are portrait commissions, scattered across the country.
|"The next big step" by William Fritsch|
A7. My email address will be fine. firstname.lastname@example.org