Rivers of Steel Arts is excited to launch the 2020 Mon Valley Featured Artist Series. Showcasing some of the exciting creative professionals working across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, this monthly blog highlights an artist each month—from a variety of boroughs—to provide a snapshot of the region’s growing cultural vitality.
About Ryan Keene
Our featured artist for the month of October is no stranger to Rivers of Steel. Artist Ryan Keene (RakArt) was part of the inaugural Alloy Pittsburgh project in 2013 and has in the years since, continued to be a vital creative force in the Mon Valley Creative Corridor. Making his home in Mt. Oliver, Keene’s work has evolved into a focus on angler art that has led to his paintings, illustrations and apparel gaining recognition across the country.
A Message from Ryan
About My Work
I approach art like walking into the dark forest, ripe with the smells of nature’s rot. You can find serenity as the light breaks through the overhead canopy or the action of a bird exploding from brush as you walk by filling you with both shock and awe at the power and beauty of nature. I work mostly in watercolor , its nature matching my own with it’s both meditative and explosive impatient characteristics. Washes mix and play as swipes of the ink nib leaves splatters and hard lines providing energetic reminders that nature is anything but a sterile world.
I have lived in my studio/house In Mount Oliver with my family for the past four years following a long stint in Oakland. The most intriguing aspect of Pittsburgh is its constant push and pull it has with nature. Trees and tall grass will take over a once fire breathing blast furnace or the many other abandoned structures sprinkled along the city limits.
Pittsburgh has always been so supportive of my art career ever since I arrived here almost 20 years ago. This was much different from the area I had left prior to here. Massachusetts and Maine both had great art scenes but their support of the struggling young contemporary minded community was limited. It was not long after moving I was already showing with the Society of Sculptors and a wide variety of other Art organizations. When I was an installation artist I would have never thought I would ever get the opportunities I had to create my body of work. In both the painting and sculptural time lines of my artistic career I feel like there was always this play of nature vs man, the natural and the synthetic. This city has definitely had its impact.
Find Me Online
Facebook: RAKart flies