- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
In artist’s show, creation merges with destruction
Question of the Day
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - It took Ryan Travis Christian four days to fill the paper sheet stretching 6 1/2-by-30 feet and push-pinned to the white museum wall. Spreading charcoal with a chamois and Latex-gloved hand, he conjured a dreamy cloudscape of reclining, mouthless ghosts, zigzag patterns and disembodied duck heads.
Then, on the fifth day of the two-week installation at the Contemporary Art Museum, he began blacking over his original design. By day’s end, it was gone _ swallowed in the undulating coils of a gigantic black and white snake.
“That’s how it goes in my studio,” the Chicago-based artist said nonchalantly as he stood beside the re-imagined piece. “There’s a lot of pieces that I’ll work on, become unhappy with, eradicate them, come out with something completely different. It’s all very responsive. But yeah. People were nervous about it _ and surprised.”
CAM Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder admits she was initially taken aback when she saw Christian’s radical new direction. But that’s why she gave the 29-year-old artist this show in the first place.
“It’s like the biggest blind date, you know?” says Borowy-Reeder, who first began following Christian’s career while working at the Art Institute of Chicago. “I always believe in the artist’s intent. … You want to fuel that creativity and that freedom.”
Christian was a tad nervous himself. After all, the installation is his first museum exhibition.
“That’s a really frustrating thing to feel when you’re kind of in a high-pressure situation _ which I’d consider this,” he says. But it’s also exhilarating.
“His imagery is inventive. It’s memorable,” she says. “He has all this new text … He juxtaposes it against older cartoons from the Dust Bowl era. He has this nice tension between what’s old and what’s new.”
And that is why she gave him free rein in the museum’s “emerging artist” gallery, housed on the lower level of this converted downtown warehouse.
Christian, who studied graphic design and painting at Northern Illinois University, says his “all-time biggest inspiration and favorite artist all around” is Ub Iwerks, the Oscar-winning Disney animator who created Mickey Mouse. Christian adapted the sinister, phantom-like figures that populate many of his recent works from the late cartoonist’s famous dancing ghosts.
“I just love them, how they’re adorable, but they’re menacing,” Christian says of the characters, which vaguely resemble condoms.
Christian, who normally works in graphite, also integrates `80s pop patterns and video game imagery into his pieces.
He says his works are “a metaphysical diary, plugged in through, like, a throwback cartoon language and patterns. And it’s slowly changing always.”
In the finished work, the snake stretches in an accordion pattern across the entire wall as a bug-eyed frowny face, grinning banana and one of his ghost heads pop from the black background. In addition to charcoal, Christian used spray paint, car finish and gesso _ a mixture of white paint, chalk and gypsum.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world