The striking artistic representations of the Earth’s largest mammals and its tiniest insects reflect Ryan’s desire to focus, almost fanatically, on the beauty and power of the creatures themselves; an approach that has its roots in the naturalist movement and zoology. In creating pieces of art that hint at an evolutionary scientific representation, Ryan allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the detail found within the art he creates; fine tuned to the point that they can often challenge our understanding of creatures we think ourselves familiar with.
And, though, Ryan’s drawings appear still. The creatures frozen in time. They are anything but. The drawings offer a sense of dynamism; a movement that allows the subjects to jump off the plain white card the artist favours. This minimal background is enhanced by focussing on both pencil and pen work – with a minimal shot of colour, expressing art in a form that brings to the fore a traditional style that many in the field eschew.
One look at Ryan’s work and it is clear the inspirations span the wildlife documentaries of Sir David Attenborough, the texts of evolutionary science, to the simplicity found within the drawings of animals in a child’s picture book. The product of this inspiration is art that is filled with power; a simple, yet forceful energy that although without motion, reflects the phenomenal beauty of the world around us and the creatures that inhabit it. This work is important. We live on a planet where the extinction of certain species of animal is a real threat. What Ryan’s work does is open our eyes to the magnificence of these creatures with which we share this world and how vital it is we treasure their existence for future generations to marvel and enjoy.