Written by Erika L. Block
Ryan Woolgar discovered his love for drawing at an early age. His parents encouraged him to continue the practice, and he’s never stopped. “I don’t know if it was much of a choice, art is what I feel most confident and interested in doing.” Ryan’s work is simple and playful. His primary goal is to keep working, to keep exploring, and to see where the work takes him. “The act of being at work is what inspires my work. The more I am only focused on what I am making, the more genuine whatever I make becomes.”
Ryan typically draws with ink, graphite and color pencils, all of which are fast mediums and can be applied in many different ways. “Ink has a way of communicating information. Graphite and color pencils feel good in the hand.” When he paints he usually works with acrylics, but has recently begun experimenting with casein paints. Casein paints, which are derived from milk protein, are a fast-drying, water-soluble medium with a glue-like consistency. Many artists enjoy casein paints because they are easily reworkable and dry to a matte finish.
His artistic process is fluid, it changes depending on the group of works he is creating at the time. His drawings are often based on photographs, but his paintings are usually created with very little preparatory work. All of his work carries the common theme of simplification, providing just enough information for the viewer to form a more complete image on their own. He ultimately hopes his work offers audiences a moment of reflection. “There is a lot going on in what is left out.” Ryan creates variety through repetition while building his body of work, which has grown substantially in recent years. “It’s all pretty much the same work. I try to make my next piece my favorite piece.”
In the studio, Ryan’s main goals are consistent production and a clean workspace. “Each day I wake up, eat, have a cup of coffee, and do something in art. Putting studio first is the best way to make sure something gets done.” A clean, uncluttered workspace reduces distractions and creates more space for new works. He uses minimal supplies, which contributes both to his tidy workspace as well as the simplicity of his work.
“Ultimately everything sets me apart from other artists. That’s what’s great about art. Everyone has their own handprint.” For Ryan Woolgar, the most important part of being an artist is to play, to be true to yourself, and to simply keep making.
To learn more about Ryan Woolgar and his work, please visit ryanwoolgar.com.
Portfolio of Work
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