I was sad to learn that Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday at 82. Ruschenberg was a huge influence on my own growth as an artist- I was introduced to his work as a young student in art history and painting classes but it wasn't until I took in a mixed media painting class taught by Mel Katz at PSU that I fully grasped how forward thinking and radical he was as an artist. He believed anything could be art and it was evident in the way that the pushed boundaries of painting and sculpture and used everyday objects and junk in his art. Using his work as inspiration in this painting class, the quarter was spent collecting found objects, putting them into our compositions, experimenting with paint and working very hard to find our own voice in the art we were trying to create. Learning how to strike a balance with collage, objects and paint was one of the most challenging tasks for me as a budding painter but also one of the most liberating. Today I find beauty in peeling paint, old pieces of wood, drips of paint, cast out newspaper, peices of weathered fabric and basic everyday trash. I am still inspired and in awe of Rauschenberg and am sad to know that art world has lost one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.