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Paul Ryan Wild Colonial Boys

17 July – 4 August
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Paul Ryan

artsHub.com
July 16th, 2013

 

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Paul Ryan is an Illawara based painter and sculptor. Born in New Zealand, Ryan migrated to Australia in 1973. He studied at Wollongong TAFE and at the University of Wollongong. Ryan has exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. He has been a finalist in numerous art prizes including ten times in the Archiblad Prize. Ryan has won a number of art prizes including the 2010 Paddington prize, 2012 Geelong Prize, and 2013 Bay of Fires Prize.
 
 
Ryan's latest exhibition Wild Colonial Boys opens on Wednesday 17 July at Sydney's Olsen Irwin Gallery in Woollahra. In his artist statement about Wild Colonial Boys Ryan says, 'This new body of work explores and subverts ideas surrounding the representation of the colonising heroes. The show starts with images of Captain Cook and other military figures. But these portraits don't show the conquering heroes we studied at school. These figures look lost in the new land as in The Long March Home, where we see Cook wading out into the Pacific looking defeated. Other paintings see military figures posing for their portraits. They look out at the viewer with an over inflated sense of self worth, but ironically at the same time look ridiculously over dressed for the Australian bush. One suspects they would be far more comfortable in a men’s club back in London.'
 
Below, Paul chats about his career to artsHub.
 
What did you want to be when you grew up?

”An artist.”

When did you know you would work in the arts?

”During my years of study at Wollongong University 1988.”
 

How would you describe your work to a complete stranger?

“My work explores notions of colonisation. The work often subverts cultural and historical narratives.”
 
What's your background – what did you study to get to where you are?
“
Fine art.”

What's the first thing career related you usually do each day?

”Put on music and look at the previous days work.”
Can you describe an “average” working day for you?
“
Drop kids at school. Surf. Paint. Pick kids up from school. Paint. Cook. Eat. Tv. Read. Sleep.”
 
What's the one thing – piece of equipment, toy, security blanket, – you can't work without?

“Music.”
 
What gets you fired up?

”Music, natural environment, the weather, politics, great film and literature.”
 
Who in the industry most inspires you?
“No one in particular. Other artists I see who pour their whole being into their work.”
What in the industry do you despair about?
“
It's a long hard road for most. It does damage some.”
 
What is the best thing about your job?
“
Total freedom.”
 
What’s the most challenging aspect?

“Making new interesting and challenging work.”
 
What are the top three skills you need in this industry?

“Skill, luck, tenacity.”
 
What advice would you give anyone looking to break into your field?

“Grow a very thick skin. Be so passionate and driven that you can’t see how difficult this life can be.”
 
How do you know when you missed the mark?

“When the work does not make you happy.”
 
When do you know you’ve made it?
“
When you are making good works consistently.”