Robert Ryan originally started out his career as a metal worker. His first job in a Clyde shipyard made him question his path in life, thinking to himself, on his first day on the job “This is not for me”. He confesses he had no interest from day one and says in his own words that he was the worst metal worker on the Clyde!
Moving on from metals work, he started a business buying and selling cars, improving them and spray painting. He did this for around 20 years before opening a business with his brother Martin.
Robert’s new business was a step closer to his creative nature, designing making and selling mirrors and stained glass pieces with his brother. This led to a successful 15 years supplying large jewellers and gift shops with their collaborative work. After his brother passed away he started to work on small decorative metal panels stepping even closer to the work he produces now.
Robert travelled to Australia on many occasions and has lived there on an off for years. Travelling there led him through many colourful places such as Thailand and Bali which is reflected in his work. When living in Australia he worked for a special effects company which gave him opportunities and ideas to try out new and different types of decorative work, eventually leading to his glass ’canvases’. His jewel-like glass works have been an amalgamation of travels, experiences and memories.
Each piece is totally unique with Robert painstakingly applying copper, brass, crushed minerals and shells onto each piece of glass. He calls them “jewellery for the walls”
‘Textured, enchanting, magical…
I could tell you about Ryan’s work, but really it’s up to you to see it, but in the interim here’s a brief introduction to a much longer tale…
Robert Ryan has developed a unique art, the results of which are truly stunning. In a crucible of light, translucent colours and vibrant shape shifting the art breathes a life of its own and constantly changes. The precise method of his craft is a well guarded secret but the process starts not with a blank canvas but with clear, blank glass and a shard of an idea. Ryan uses sheet glass as a canvas doing everything the artists would normally do in reverse. Instead of painting the images then framing it in glass, the glass front is the canvas. Multiple layers of minerals, crushed gem stones, metal work, paint and a great deal of imagination are applied, the idea of which is only evident in Ryan’s head – the result of which is often not all that it seems. Each piece is absolutely unique and presents the owner with a challenge to make up his own mind as to the story, if any, trapped in the pane.
In Ryan’s own words ‘Like an old memory it starts in the back of my mind. I make no attempt to catch the idea, rather, it flits back and forth over days and weeks, an anxiety builds slowly… then the work becomes a pleasure which in turn is felt by you the viewer completing the
connection between us’.
The colours of Ryan’s art work come from distant memories of Thailand, Bali and the Pacific coastlines. The joy of Ryan’s work is twofold. Firstly, the interaction with light and how that dances in his ‘paintings’. The second is the interaction with the reader’s imagination. Although Ryan has created a masterpiece in each of his pieces, the enchantment is in your interpretation.
Ryan sells out year on year at London’s Affordable Art Fair amongst other events, with customers being drawn to specific pieces then returning to snap up more of his work.’