Art is in the Details for Engineering Transfer Student

September 12, 2022 | News, Student Success, UToday, Alumni, Engineering
By Kirk Baird

Ptah Amissah-Aidoo’s career path was laid out before him. He studied visual arts for four years at an arts high school in his hometown of Dayton, and at the age of 16, he received the American Visions Award which included having his artwork hanging in Carnegie Hall.

But Amissah-Aidoo’s creative energies extend beyond the canvas, which is why he reconsidered his future and transferred to The University of Toledo to study engineering.

Ptah Amissah-Aidoo works on a portrait of Krystal Clark, a junior studying media communication and a student writer in the Office of University Marketing and Communications. A junior studying mechanical engineering, Amissah-Aidoo said engineering and art are both expressions of creativity.

“I’ve always had a knack for numbers and math,” he said. “I love learning it and everything about that because it’s another language, like with arts and language. Every artist has their own visual language … and I feel the same with numbers, you know, as with the Fibonacci sequence and the different approaches to formulas.”

The junior studying mechanical engineering has a new career goal: creating a tech startup.

“I like hydrogen fuel, clean energy, sustainable stuff,” Amissah-Aidoo said. “I also like working with my hands. That’s where art comes in.”

Engineering, he said, is just like portraiture, which is his specialty, particularly in the medium of charcoal.

“There are portions to the face. You can break the face down into thirds, and then across, where the eyes meet the nose and the lip lines and everything,” Amissah-Aidoo said. “It’s called the golden ratio, and it ties together math and nature. It’s all there. It’s very interesting and has always been appealing to me.”

Last month, while drawing portraits in downtown Maumee, Amissah-Aidoo was profiled in a WTOL 11 feature story. Even days after the segment aired, he was still surprised and humbled by the attention.

“I’m really shocked that I got interviewed by the TV news,” he said. “It was just like, ‘Wow, this is cool.’ That really was kind of a steppingstone for my portrait business.”

Amissah-Aidoo’s self-portrait in charcoal.

Amissah-Aidoo, who turned 22 on Sept. 11, transferred to UToledo along with his girlfriend, Sadie Palmer-Wilcox, 23. The pair met at the University of Dayton, where Palmer-Wilcox, of the Cleveland suburb Medina, was studying aerospace engineering. When she decided to switch to psychology as her major, they both enrolled in UToledo.

“I was just at a point where I was like, I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life,” Palmer-Wilcox said. “Then I was reading what some alumni had to say about the UT psychology department and it was all glowing reviews. And they also had a great mechanical engineering program, so we came here together.”

Palmer-Wilcox also is an artist, and the pair had an exhibit of their artwork at Heatherdowns Library in Toledo nearly a year ago.

This fall, as busy as he is with coursework, Amissah-Aidoo is already booked into early November with commissioned portraits. If interested, contact him via Instagram.

“I think people are intimidated by commissioning portraits or even buying art books,” Amissah-Aidoo said. “My message to people is don’t be intimidated by the idea of art because what you feel and get from it is priceless.

“I do the commission work because it makes the client happy,” he added. “They’re like, ‘Oh, you do portraits? Then you can capture the likeness of my daughter, my son or my family.’ And I like to think that their portrait is gonna be hanging over a fireplace, you know, just like with those classic family portraits.”

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