Art at the Barge: Cheyne Rood ’04

Elsie Denton

In college life, it seems much too easy to become trapped between your alarm clock and the blue ruled pages of a notebook. Sometimes it is hard to step back and really look at the world. Yet that is just what Cheyne Rood ’04 does so well.

“When I draw, I try to infuse what I think is important and draw away the nonessential elements,” Rood said. This leaves his drawings spare and minimalistic, yet they certainly don’t lack life. Bold, flowing lines of simple yet vivid colors intertwine on stark white fields creating images that seem to be frozen in the moment, mere seconds from bursting off the page.

“Art is about energy and movement,” Rood explained. “And creating things the way you wish they could be.”

Rood didn’t always aspire to be an artist. He actually stopped taking art classes in seventh grade because he didn’t feel that he was creating anything spectacular; but he has always loved doodling. Rood took all of his notes in unlined books because he felt that they gave him more control over the page, not to mention the extra space for doodling. It wasn’t until his senior year at Colgate, when Rood’s roommate noticed his elaborate sketches and encouraged him to devote a whole page to a single picture, that Rood began to draw in earnest.

“It was actually here, in the Barge, that I drew my first full-page picture,” Rood said.

The Barge is now hosting 17 of Rood’s most recent pieces, all of which were drawn since last March. He has also had his artwork hosted at Common Grounds Coffeehouse in Cazenovia and the Visual Arts Showcase in Liverpool, New York.

“Ever since I returned from Japan I’ve been putting together a portfolio,” Rood said. He is trying to become more involved in Syracuse’s growing art scene. In that, he seems to be doing quite well and his work will be featured at the high profile Delavan Art Gallery next summer.

Rood is currently living in New Hartford and working as a risk assessment underwriter for Hartford Insurance. He says that someday he would like to live off his artwork, but he understands just how hard that lifestyle can be.

Rood is hoping to move to a large city sometime soon, most likely New York City.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in upstate New York,” Rood said. “I want to try something new.” He enjoys the excitement and energy that surround big cities. Living in a city would also give him an excellent opportunity to pursue one of his favorite past times: people watching.

“I’ve always loved caf?e culture,” Rood said. “That’s where I do most of my drawing. I wrote most of my papers at Colgate in either the Coop or the Barge. I need that background buzz.”

Rood has many interests, such as taking brisk jogs in the morning or playing a good game of soccer, but one of his passions has always been philosophy, which he doubled majored in at Colgate along with history.

“I still read some of my books from school,” Rood said. His favorite philosophers are Plato, Aristotle, Italo Calvino and Nietzsche. It is easy to see how these philosophers have influenced his work, because they look to the essence of things, just as Rood does in his art.

Although he felt unqualified to offer advice to any aspiring artists Rood did have a few wise words to pass on: “Never allow yourself to become trapped; don’t be afraid to change. Adapt; find something you want to do.”

Rood’s art will be on display at the Barge until the end of the month.