January 2020: “It’s Easier to be a Painter’
5 Points Gallery was pleased to celebrate the watercolor works on paper of acclaimed artist Ryan Fox. Ryan’s solo exhibit, It’s Easier to be a Painter is a whimsical reference to his former career as a travel/event photographer. Ryan’s paintings reinterpret the world he views through the lens of his camera. His exhibit featured distinctive scenes from home and abroad that colorfully pushed the boundaries of the watercolor medium using a variety of techniques and surfaces (rice paper, traditional watercolor paper, and Yupo – a synthetic plastic derived paper). Learn more about Ryan and his award-winning works by visiting 5 Points Gallery in downtown Durham.
Ryan Fox Interview 2020 Show
Favorite medium: Watercolor
Beverage of choice: Imperial Pale Ales
Favorite thing to do in Durham: Bulls Baseball Games
5PG Interviewer: You are planning for your first solo show in 5 Points Gallery; can you tell us what you are planning for the show and a bit about your new
Watercolor is a versatile medium. My art is created on many surfaces- traditional watercolor paper, Japanese rice paper, even plastic. I also work with a variety of techniques- mouth atomizing, pouring watercolor, batik paintings, etc. I get bored quickly- why limit myself as an artist? My solo show will highlight the diversity of my new and old watercolor paintings.
5PG Interviewer: You have had a full career as a photographer and a world traveler. When and what inspired you to start painting?
Technically, I have a Drawing and Painting degree. I always took drawing in school- it is the foundation for any art. I dabbled in painting briefly and thoroughly enjoyed it but fell in love with photography. My paints sat collecting dust for 12 years. After returning to painting, I had a wealth of resource material to work from. I was freed from physical conditions of photography and am only bound by my imagination.
I am inspired by many artists- contemporary watercolor artists such as Iain Stewart, Carol Carter, and others, along with masters such as Van Gogh, Turner, and Frank Stella.
I love the uniqueness of the medium and do not think I will ever be fully in control. This element of surprise is what draws me to watercolor. The paintings take on a life of their own as I paint. They never become what I imagine. The art becomes something better. This inspires me to constantly paint and continue my artistic journey.
5PG Interviewer: You have been awarded and featured in several watercolor magazines worldwide. Has this affected your career as an artist and instructor? If so, how?
I will not lie – when I started painting one of my goals was to be published in magazines (not Crime Notes!). Networking with others in my field has been a tremendous help- I have met many painters and associates in the art field at national juried exhibitions. The advice they offer on painting/business has been invaluable.
Several magazines picked up a story after I approached them first. You cannot get rejected if you do not ask.
Magazine exposure (whether online or print) has helped to establish my reputation as an artist and an instructor. I now conduct workshops nationally.
5PG Interviewer: What other artists have influenced you?
The photographer Ansel Adams influences all my work- from reference image to the artistic rendering. I use traditional darkroom techniques in my painting process such as vignetting corners as well as pushing/pulling values for maximum contrast.
5PG Interviewer: What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you like to listen to music when you work? If so, who? My musical tastes are varied. When clients come to my studio I have to turn my music off. I do not want to offend someone with punk rock & metal songs or completely embarrass myself (I won’t mention band or artist names on my iPod).
The typical day begins at home on the computer doing business work- marketing, answering emails, billing, internet, etc. Once this is done I drive to my downtown Raleigh studio to do what I truly enjoy- painting, drawing, and generating ideas for paintings.
5PG Interviewer: So, what’s the plan 5 years from now?
I would like to branch out to international workshops. I guess I would go to Italy- if I were getting paid for it. Who wouldn’t?
My goal for the future is to continue to explore watercolor. I want my work, in 5 years, to be different than what I am currently doing. I hope to learn watercolor for the rest of my life. It is a fun job and I cannot see myself doing anything other than creating art.