Max Ryan first picked up a paintbrush at the tender age
of five, and at 34 years old, he still hasn't put it down. The New Orleans native dabbled in art classes for
several years, but is mostly self-taught. His mixed media abstracts are
influenced by a diverse set of artists from Renoir to Rothko.
"I began admiring the Impressionists and folk artists
back in elementary school," says Ryan. "Naturally, I'm drawn to Abstract
Expressionists such as Pollock, de Kooning, and Kline, but some of my favorites
are lesser known emerging artists from New
Orleans and throughout the South who are out
there doing their thing. Frankly, I just like art."
An artist at heart and contractor by trade, Ryan's
company, Ryan Renovations, has specialized in projects encompassing historic
properties and contemporary design since 1996. From the wall of his office he
sold his first painting that ironically wasn't even for sale. Part of his
personal collection, the piece had no name or price tag. But at the request of
a client, Ryan sold the painting. Subsequently, this transaction led to many
more, and ultimately spawned the birth of Max Ryan Studio.
Today, more than 50 paintings grace the walls of Ryan's
2,000-square-foot gallery tucked discreetly away at the end of a dead-end
street in Old Metairie. Ryan's
work can also be found in galleries on the Northshore,
and in Lafayette and Atlanta.
Ryan's preferred palette literally stretches from one end
of the rainbow to another- from the most muted pastels to the deepest jewel
tones-yet his work is easily identified through its complex textures created
from layers of glazing and gold leaf. What makes Ryan's work even more distinct
are the shapes and symmetry that infiltrate his paintings, which can be
attributed to his background in building and design.
"I find inspiration for my art all around me," says Ryan. "Sometimes I find it in architecture, sometimes in nature, and sometimes in
people. Sometimes I am simply inspired by my own emotions. For me, painting is
a therapeutic journey-a process that carries me on a tranquil excursion back
and forth across the canvas."
The article above was published in the September, 2007 issue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles Magazine Copyright 2007 Renaissance Publishing, LLC.