Drawing in the Dark: the art of Ryan Keith is set to debut at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre.
An independent artist who has lived in South Delta for the past four years, Keith will show his work from Dec. 5 to 14 with a reception on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 4 to 6 p.m.
A former sculptor, designer and painter for film, television and stage, Keith has been drawing his whole life.
“When I was a kid I would copy Disney cartoons, then as a teenager it became copying comic book art,” Keith recalled. “Then at some point in my very early 20s, I decided I would no longer copy work and that everything I drew had to come directly from my head, with absolutely no reference.
“When I would be working on a piece it would be great, but the times between those pieces were agony. Attempting to exclusively work purely from my brain was exhausting, and often failed me.”
He worked in film and TV for 17 years, but had to step away due to health reasons. He said he also lost his passion. Art simply wasn’t fun anymore.
Then a few years ago he went back to copying Disney cartoons the way he did as a kid.
“That made the times between my more serious art far more enjoyable, and I think has greatly improved my work overall,” he said.
Keith does a lot of pop art while also draws inspiration from musical influences. The bands Ministry, Mindless Self Indulgence, Dog Fashion Disco and Ramallah carry a special place in his mind and soul.
A piece he did for Dog Fashion Disco will be part of the Tsawwassen Arts Centre show, while he just finished a piece for Ramallah.
He said 20 to 25 pieces will be on display, including some of his earlier work as well as a sculpture.
“It’s interesting to see some of my early work as compared to now,” he said. “I feel I have really grown as an artist.”
He said his show will be unique to the community.
“I find that I mostly see landscapes, herons and sailboats. There is nothing wrong with that and I appreciate a lot of it, especially the watercolours, which are beautiful, but I just don’t see a lot of what I do around town,” he said.
“Some of my work you could describe as a bit controversial, but I think that’s good in art because if you are not causing waves, I guess, and just stagnant, then it’s just going to disappear and no one is going to care.”
He also hopes his work will be of a broad interest and might inspire some younger artists.
“I see my work as an outlet for youth to enjoy and maybe get inspired,” Keith said. “It was an outlet for me growing up. I think more youth need to be creative and need an outlet to express that creativity, so hopefully they will see something they like and think maybe I could do that.”
Learn more about Keith’s work at: https://ryankeithgeneralaudience.myportfolio.com/work or https://ryankeithgeneralaudience.myportfolio.com/work.