Utah Tech University Student Wins Third Place in National Art Competition

By Jake Harber

One of Utah Tech University’s recent graduates as well as one of the first to be accepted and participate in Utah Tech’s Master of Fine Arts Program, Brandon Raabe, was recently awarded third place in a national student art competition held by Oil Painters of America.

Raabe is a 23-year-old St. George native who has recently found his passion for art, especially oil painting. Starting at Utah Tech University participating in STEM classes and pursuing a career in animation, Raabe was impressed by the instructors of art classes he was taking so he changed direction.

“I think that the instructors here are really solid people,” Raabe said. “There are some very strong personalities and they stand for something and carry traditions that mean something. They show it through their actions and their artwork as well, and I wanted to honor that.”

The oil painting Raabe submitted, titled “Portrait of Ilaiasi,” was a portrait of Raabe’s brother, who has also recently found a passion for art in the field of ceramics.

“McGarren always pushes students to enter into national and international shows, so my goal moving forward was to produce work and put not only my name out there but also the program’s name,” Raabe said. “I really believe in the program, and I want to make sure it’s getting recognition.”

Raabe plans to study in Utah Tech’s Master of Fine Arts Program, which will take another three years to complete. His future plans are to become a business owner, holding his own oil painting practice and selling his artwork professionally. He later wants to teach and pass the traditions on.

“I really believe in the program, and I want to make sure it’s getting recognition.”

“Raabe immerses himself in understanding the craft of painting and becoming a professional artist,” Flack said. “I have no doubt he will make it happen.”

“To me, oil painting gives me a way to practice and develop as a person. I utilize it to become better and to translate the discipline I have with oil painting and apply it elsewhere in my life,” Raabe said. “It’s a way to grow, and I could spend my time elsewhere, but I choose to oil paint because I believe in it, it’s a skill that’s very old and special and I hold it very dear to me.”

For more about Utah Tech’s Art Department, please visit art.utahtech.edu.