Ryan Hoffmann is a self-professed ‘art kid’. He was 17 when he started his fine arts degree at the National Art School, where he earned a scholarship that took him to the Glasgow School of Art, where he completed his masters.
He’s been working as a full-time artist since 2015, has featured in local and international exhibitions, and spent time living in Sydney, Berlin, and Melbourne. On a professor’s suggestion, he recently spent a year living and working in his studio with ‘no social media, no exhibitions and no art books – I just made what I felt’ Ryan says.
What he emerged with is his current series of intriguing circular artworks. The works are somewhere between sculpture and paintings, thanks to Ryan’s unique technique building layered brush strokes onto disks he ‘casts out of paint’, using a mixture of synthetic polymers and minerals. Ranging from 100-200cm tall, they take almost eight weeks to create!
‘My aim has always been to look at traditional materials and practices and manipulate them a little,’ Ryan says.
Colour is a big part of his work too. Nature inspires many of his choices, with the artist drawing on references from the changing sky, to leaves blowing in the wind. ‘I play with them a bit, make little samples, and try to push something in a direction,’ Ryan adds.
Ryan’s chosen titles for his artworks feature time stamps and locations, derived from the specific moments and feelings he’s capturing. ‘To look is to find. Mount Martha, 3:25pm, 04/02/2022’ showcases a gradient of ocean blue tones, while other works offer more abstract insights behind the blurring gradients of pastel or vibrant colours.
To us, these captivating circles feel almost like portals into another space and time. But for Ryan, they serve as a glimpse into memories drawn from his own experiences. ‘The real subject is me, exploring what’s happening in my life’ he explains, somewhat cryptically. Consider us intrigued!