Street art gets a showing in Loveland

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LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) - You might never set eyes on artist Michael J. Ryan. He spends only about 20 minutes installing his pieces, but you might start to see more black-and-white artistic portraits popping up on walls of buildings around Loveland.

Ryan’s first career is as an oil painter of landscapes.

Ryan’s “for fun” hobby is designing street art.

Megan Tracy has invited him to display his designs on plywood windows of the historic Feed and Grain building.

Tracy, artistic director of art programming at the Feed and Grain, is developing creative solutions to continue to exhibit art in some fashion at or near the historic building to keep the building in people’s minds.

When Ryan moved to Loveland from Iowa City, Iowa, he noticed that no one was really doing street art.

“I started asking around and doing some fun stuff in Loveland,” he said, which is how a few black-and-white portraits have popped up around town. This includes a portrait of Bob Ross in the alley behind the Aims-Artworks building.

Ryan will put up one new work of art on a window of the Feed and Grain every week for at least the next eight weeks. He hopes to see a lot of people there taking photos.

When Ryan talks about street art, he means artistic portraits and figures of people he knows are aesthetically appealing. He gets permission or tacit agreement to place his art when he can. If he sees foul language on a wall, he will paint over it.

“I try to be as legit as possible and keep a low profile,” he said. “It’s just kind of about bringing art and the fun of it outdoors.”

Ryan has most of the art completed before he goes to place it. He takes photos of people he knows and likes, enhances the photos digitally and has them printed to a larger-than-life size.

He uses glue or wheat paste to adhere them and finishes the piece off with a final touch of white paint and varnish.

“This is just a cool way to use the space over there while they’re doing renovation to keep people’s eyes on it,” he said. “I will just put up people I like and know who deserve a little shine to their life, or who will let me photograph them.”

Ryan hopes to advance his street art in Loveland so more people will see and like what he’s doing, which means he’ll have more opportunities to do it.

Ryan grew up in Iowa City around street artists and got into it with friends in college.

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