Ryan Paige exceeds expectations as an artist: even her own. She attended Art Con events for about four years before taking the plunge and showcasing her work. “I admit there was a part of me that had always wanted to, but I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone.” The painter, graphic designer, illustrator and printmaker was one of 150 artists who made last year’s Art Con 13 a huge success.
The Dallas native left the great state to attend art school in Baltimore, returned in 2012 and currently freelances and is a commissioned artist. From art school to now, Ryan would tell you Art Con has become a catalyst in her growth as an artist.
“Working alongside so many other artists in the community was something I didn’t think could ever happen past my art school days.”
Looking back, Ryan began immersing herself in art at a tender age with the people who matter most. “My grandmother and I would often paint landscapes at her house when I was young. Working with her oils and vintage brushes left me feeling quite special and more mature in comparison to the tempera primaries we played with at school. As we mixed richer pigments and layered strokes to build texture, painting with Grandma Shirley made me feel like an artist.” However, she feels persistence is what truly makes an artist. “When I consistently make art to express myself, I then will feel in my heart that I am an artist.” Though, her friends may tell you something different. “My friend likes to say that I speak two languages—English and Color.”
Her work is fluid: a melodic mix of color and intent. “I’m often inspired by rich earth tones and unexpected pallets, vintage aesthetics, elaborate typography, and whatever lucid dream the glass of red wine has given me.”
The local artist harnesses inspiration from real-life relationships and admiration for famous artists. “Robert Longo is my favorite artist.” A painter and sculptor well known for a series called Men in the Cities that depicts winded and emotionally weathered well-dressed men and women captured in black and white. “But, my greatest influence is my high school art teacher, ‘Coach’ Tina Walker. She is one of the most well-rounded and skilled artists I know, and I would not have gone to art school or be where I am today without her guidance. She taught me not to pigeon-hole my art-making, but to explore and utilize every creative muscle I possessed.”
Ryan recalls her first experience as an artist with Art Con as an evening of personal growth and common goodness. “Selflessly working on a piece while surrounded by such incredible artists was truly humbling, thrilling, and inspirational. The night of the auction certainly challenged my anxiety—I’m not used to displaying such personal work, but the chance to contribute to such a great cause was really rewarding.”
“Donating our time and effort allows us to reflect on why we started making art in the first place. The Dallas art community is only going to flourish if we take the time to support one another in this beautiful collaboration that is Art Con.”
Don’t miss your chance to see (and possibly own) Ryan’s latest piece at Art Con: R/EVOLUTION Saturday, June 2 at Life in Deep Ellum.
Written by: Christin Taylor Workman