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Student artwork goes national

Photo project featured in New York Times Education section

February 2, 2012

BY Shanette Buford-Brazzell

Cleveland State University recently received some national attention. On Sunday, Jan. 22 photos by CSU student Ryan Upp, a senior Art and Photography major, were featured front and center in The New York Times Education Life section.

Upp was selected as one of the student photographers to represent CSU in the “Stress Survival Guide.” The “Stress Survival Guide” is a feature story capturing students from different universities across the U.S., finding resourceful ways to relieve stress during final exams.

The opportunity came about when The New York Times needed student photographers for the popular education feature story.

“I was contacted by several people on campus but didn’t know it was official until The New York Times personally emailed me,” Upp said. “I owe a big thanks to CSU Photography Professor Mark Slankard for believing in my abilities and recommending me to The Times.”

At the age of 27, the Richfield, Ohio native and Revere High school graduate took five years off from school before starting his first semester of college. He believes gaining life experience is vital to success and he has no regrets in waiting to attend college. Being a college student and local artist, Upp participates in the Cleveland art scene. He has lived in the downtown Cleveland area for three years.

ryan upp“I live in downtown Cleveland and walk everywhere I go,” Upp said, talking about the downtown Cleveland living scene. “I love to walk down Euclid Avenue [in the rain], and I find Whiskey Island to be very inspiring.”

His favorite place in Cleveland to capture different scenes is the West Side Market. The food stands offer so many colors and textures. He’s also extreme on nature’s capes. Blue Hen Falls is another favorite spot of his because he says it’s a hidden gem with a dirt driveway and parking for only five people.

“Far as subjects and topics for my creative work, I tend to focus on innocence, dreams, nostalgia, ethereal, and surreal,” Upp said.

Upp always knew he wanted to be a photographer at a very young age. He was always drawing and creative as a child, and he had supportive parents who encouraged him to do anything he felt passionate about.

“I saved $700 when I was only 14-years-old to buy my first Canon camera,” Upp said.

As an artist, Upp has had great success and understands the hunger, drive and passion that goes and comes along with a career in the creative field. His hard work, contacts, own motivation and challenging himself has led to the success he has had. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to travel to almost all 50 states.

“I love Montana. I highly recommend visiting Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. My favorite place in the world is Old San Juan, Puerto Rico; it’s as if you’ve stepped back in time,” Upp said.

After receiving this great opportunity to have his work featured in an international publication, Upp hopes and believes this will give CSU more recognition as a university. Upp plans to contribute artwork to CSU’s GLASA annual art fundraiser in March and display his photos on Feb. 4 at Arts Collinwood. His work is also featured in CSU’s Recreation Center.

“CSU’s Art Department deserves a lot more recognition that it receives. It has an amazing and supportive staff and a hard working student body,” Upp said.