Riley J. Fichter was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin on March 19th, 1995 to a working-class family. Raised in a Catholic setting, Riley found value in discourse and doubt, and, coupled with a vivid imagination, would gear himself towards a need for self-expression. He was eventually accepted into the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where, amidst many transformative experiences, he was inspired to create sculpture out of wood, metal, clay, and plaster. Riley continues to make sculpture prior to graduating from UWSP with a BFA in Fine Arts- 3D Emphasis and BA Philosophy minor. He has recently completed an Intern Artist position at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minnesota.
I believed that I created art to escape. Now, this idea seems foolhardy. Escapism in my life has been destructive, it kept me at a standstill. By making artwork I propel myself forward, I progress. In delving headfirst into my dreams and memories, the sculptures I create become a catalyst for my experience. My work tests the malleability of metals and wood, as combating the rigidity of these materials to create organic, abstracted forms is a worthy challenge. The sculptures I create take on mixes of figurative and biomorphic shapes that incorporate elements of violence, movement, and tension. I gravitate towards these motifs for their ability to elicit strong physical, mental, and emotional reactions. Spears piercing a body, genitalia formed from steel, displaying the metamorphosis of a body: all of these are my past solutions for representing my state of being, reactions, and dreams in a physical state. Bringing these inner presences of my mind to the surface and revealing them to an audience brings both anxiety and relief, it’s like taking a gut punch with a smile. Through gritted teeth and blooded hands, I brush aside the want to escape and find validation through producing.