1982 · United States
For American artist Ryan Martin, it’s all about face: choosing the profile of the male figure as his central subject matter and maintaining striking uniformity in compositional dimensions, Martin has illustrated with his work that the straightforward portrait can become so much more.
Trained as a traditional portraitist and beginning most works with source photographs of his sitters, Martin deviates from convention with his addition of fantastical elements. Imagined inclusions from sparkling crystals to massive mollusks appear as accouterments in his portraits, bringing new life to each exquisitely rendered male visage they accompany. Martin’s bold use of color only amplifies these effects to create works that tantalize the eye and invite the viewer to take a closer look. This inviting quality is perhaps owed to the fact that Martin sees art as a point of collective cultural relatability, thus Martin is not afraid to make his work both inviting and direct in its messaging.
Martin was born and raised in California and currently resides in Oakland. He studied at the California College of the Arts. His work has been showcased in a variety of acclaimed galleries, including a recent exhibition, entitled “Moxie,” at the Elizabeth Houston Gallery (2019), as well as art fairs across the country.