An Interview with Ryan Myers

We asked Art Star artist, Ryan Myers, to create an exclusive piece for us & I love what he came up with: Naptime Was His Kryptonite, oil on canvas (below). The original can be purchased for $350 or you can pick up an archival pigment print for just $25!

"Naptime was his Kryptonite", oil on canvas

I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight Ryan & his work! Check out my interview with him below.

What is your art background? Where did you study?
Art has always sort of been part of my life. I can’t think of a time growing up where I wasn’t at the very least drawing. I have a degree in illustration and art history from Hartford Art School in Ct..

How long have you been painting?
I started painting in college. I got serious about showing my work the way it looks now in about 2004.

Have you always painted children? How much of your own childhood inspires this imagery?
I definitely haven’t always painted children. I came out of art school content on being an editorial illustrator, so my work was focused on whatever the job required. There wasn’t a lot of personal work then. I am not sure there’s a lot of my childhood in the kids I paint now, but obviously all my experiences help inform the paintings.

"Adoration of the Snozzwanger", oil on wood

The way that you draw the children & the overall color palette is very cute & sweet, but I get a deep sense of sadness & loneliness when looking at your work. I am assuming that is intentional? Do you have back stories for these children? I am curious why they are so sad.
This is a tough question with a few parts, so I’ll do my best to tie this one up with a nice little bow. The cute and sweet colors matched against the feelings of sadness and loneliness are definitely intentional. To use a loaded art word it’s basically for the juxtaposition of the emotions. I don’t typically think of the kids as sad. There are some of the teary-eyed exceptions, more typically though I like to think they are just completely indifferent to everything going on around them. They may not be happy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are sad. I feel like much more emotion can be attached to a non-smiling face. Obviously I have some sense of a story when I begin work, but they don’t really have back stories. I like to include just enough in the paintings to hint at a back story, but leave the scene open to interpretation. The viewers are interrupting something that’s going on in the painting and it’s their job to figure out what.

How much of the work is autobiographical? I notice that your dog makes a bunch of appearances with a little boy, which makes me wonder if that little boy is supposed to be you.
I wouldn’t say that the little boys are me beyond the dark hair and eyes. I use some aspects of my daily life to inform some of the symbols and elements that reoccur in my paintings. It’s more like a familiarity that I am comfortable with, like keepsakes in a curio cabinet, than an autobiography.

"The House Call", oil on canvas

You are a father with two small children now, correct? How much is your imagery inspired by them?
Yes that’s right, I’m blessed with two beautiful children. I’m not sure that they themselves inspire my imagery, it’s more like their stuff does. The tiny clothes and toys usually give me a good jumping off point. Having two big eyed models at my disposal certainly helps though.


What is your artistic process like? Do you begin with an emotion / story & then go from there?
I’ve never been really good at explaining the process, but I can give it a go. I really always start off with an idea that makes me laugh – it’s sort of strange to say that though considering people so often speak of the sadness or haunting feelings of the paintings. For a long time I came up with the titles for paintings first and then worked out an image to suit. Occasionally I still do that, but more typically now I’ll get myself in the mood to work with music and depending what I am working on I’ll either start a drawing on paper or work things out right on the canvas.

Are there any particular artists that you are inspired by?
Inspiration is a funny thing… I feel like I am probably more inspired by Pee Wee Herman or something than another artist, but there are a few artists I really enjoy who have probably helped me towards my style. Artists like Giorgio de Chirico and Magritte really did a lot for the weird stillness I use in my paintings. I have got a few others, but I can’t give away all my secrets. Contemporarily though, I really like artists who work graphically, Toki Doki (Simone Legno) comes to mind first.

Do you paint full time? If not, what do you do for a day job?
I don’t actually paint full time. I work for the Post Office and am one of those rare people who really enjoys their job.

Any upcoming shows on the horizon?
I do have a few things lined up for the future – some I can’t talk about yet, but coming up soon I’m going to have a few pieces in a group show in Santa Fe.

What are you working on right now?
It always feels like I am juggling a few things. Right now I am working on some new types of images, but I’ve got a backlog of canvases that I’ve been working on in my studio for a while that I will try and wrap up soon. I also have some private commissions as well as some fun give away plans in the works.

Check out our collection of Ryan’s paintings & drawings
visit his website

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