Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center

I did this piece for the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center, while an undergraduate student in the Site Specific Art course led by Professor Hugh ODonnell. As someone who frequents the gym myself, the walls that lined the track were empty and tiresome. It needed visual attention. I began with a question: what is the motivation for runners? The concept grew into an evolutinonary desire in each of us to keep growing, to keep moving forward.

Below is an interview from BU Today, the school news.

FitRec is a beautiful space, says Warin Dexter, executive director of physical education, recreation and dance, and art breathes the individual character of BU students into the building. It inspires, motivates, and captures the attention of our community.

And so, since 2006, the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center has combined workouts with original artwork from students in the Site Specific Art course taught by Hugh ODonnell, a College of Fine Arts professor.

The work of graphic arts major Ryoji Matsuzaki (CFA10) is the latest to adorn the walls. He credits a passion for marathon running and technology as dual inspirations for The Evolution Within, his two-dimensional, pixilated vinyl representation of a human sprinter that transforms into a cheetah, then back into human form.

Boston winters force me to run indoors, says Matsuzaki. It can get really repetitive running 30 laps around a track. And with large white walls — a blank canvas — I wanted to create an abstract representation of the personal growth of a sprinter.

The Site Specific Art class was designed by ODonnell in 1998 to instruct students in creating artwork for public and private clients, on and off campus. The first two commissioned pieces at FitRec were Emerging Swimmer (oil on canvas, 2006), by Ryan Elizabeth Kenney (COM07), and Sneaker Mountain (acrylic, 2007), by Josef Kristofoletti III (CFA07). Student artwork from the class has also been featured in Warren Towers, in the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering, and on signs for the MBTA.

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