The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.
-Vincent Van Gogh
Donie Ryan comes across as someone whom you could talk about music and painting for hours. He also has a great sense of humor and likes the company of people with positive vibes. I am not sure if he is going to agree with all these things I write about him. Anyway, Donie has been painting for years as you will learn in this interview. He has created a lot of artworks and some he showed to me through MSN messenger.
We seemed to hit it off quite well the first time over chat. I think all music enthusiasts have this code of understanding. It is hard to explain. All I can say is, no matter what genre it maybe, one who is passionate about music is someone worth knowing and talking to. Donie knows his stuff. Like me, he loves collecting vinyl records and things no one would even bother in this world of ipods.
Photos courtesy of Mary Ryan and Donie Ryan
– What made you become so passionate about painting?
I think my passion for painting must be in my blood. One of my first memories is in Pre School trying to keep my markers from going outside the line of a teacup I was courling in. I think have another person to thank, I was about 6 or 7 on holidays in Cork and I was drawing with my two American friends. I was drawing clouds and their uncle saw what I was doing and must have seen my underlying talent. He went to the local town and spent over 100 Pounds on materials for me. That was a lot of money back then, from then on I was drawing and painting all the time.
-You have a distinctive style especially with your use of colors as well as patterns. Tell us about your influences.
I use a lot of colour , I used to think I was using too much but this seems to be my style as I keep painting very colourful, experimenting with lcd and magic mushrooms as a teen has definitely left me with a certain way of looking at things its like I want the viewer to experience it.
A friend of mine told me to look up Godfried Helnwein , an Austrian who grew up in post war Austria . He obviously had a bleak childhood. He found some American comics like Donald Duck and so on and this opened his mind to the outside world. I was blown away by his work. It is dark and a bit grim. Here are some links http://www.helnwein.com/werke/selbstportraits/bild_540.html
other Artists who I like are Chuck close
and John Shinnors
-Tell us about the place where you live. How does it impact the kind of art you are creating?
I live in a leafy suburb of Dublin. I don’t think where I live influence me in anyway
– Do you have brothers and sisters?
– I know you live near Enya’s castle. How’s it over there?(LOL I can’t resist including this)
Yes I live quite close to Enya. She lives in a beautiful place up on Dalkey hill. A short but steep walk up the hill and you get an amazing view of Dublin
-Like me you are also into vinyl records. Anything you can add about it? What’s music for you?
I have a lot of vinyl mostly hip hop, music is as important to me as painting is.
-Since we are deep into the discussion of music, what can you say about the current state of Irish music-or music in general and how it in turn influences your creativity? It’s a good time for Irish music, many new young bands are coming up, and others more established, Lisa Hannigan, Republic of Loose, Dirty Epics ,Declan O’ Rourke
-There is this one painting that you worked on and off for two years. Tell us about that one.
I do work very slow I spent 2 years on one piece, its the biggest piece I have done. I tend to work on 2 or 3 works at a time so I wasn’t working on it all the time. I usually make my own canvas. I want to have complete control. I think your surface is very important, whether I want it as smooth as I can get primiming, sanding again and again. Or with the big landscape I did I use heshin to get a thick weeve, or old style look, the one with its two views of a lake near my friends house Lough Dan,
-What’s your idea of a perfect weekend when you are not working?
A perfect weekend lots of music painting, go drinking with friends.