Today we’d like to introduce you to Ry Beloin.
Ry, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up I didn’t plan to do this kind of work–murals, sculpture, paintings. I didn’t dream about being an artist. I just made things. I lived in my imagination, wrapped up in a safe inner world of music, dark fairy tales, and fantasy books, which I drew on for all my many projects, until, it seemed, my mind turned on me.
As a teen, I began having terrible episodes, which felt as though I was suddenly remembering something very important and vivid from a dream. My stomach would drop like I was on a rollercoaster, my mind would swell with panic, and a strange scene would play out like a memory. For a time, I kept these experiences a secret and just drew the images I saw. Worried that I was crazy, I mostly isolated myself, relying on my art to connect me to others. Always a perfectionist and driven to develop my best means of communication, I sought out teachers who could create with precision and intention, and I worked hard toward excellence. And I never stopped.
More than ten years later, I discovered my actual condition: temporal lobe epilepsy, a physical (not mental!) disorder and a very manageable one. I don’t need to isolate myself anymore. But those years of study provided me with a valuable tool. Imagery became my most natural language.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work is figurative, which means all non-abstract. Or my favorite way to put it is: I make pictures of Things in Places. Some of my work, like portrait busts, is more traditional, and some, like my odd still life painting, is surrealist. My mural work is mainly illustrative, since it’s client-driven. Although my work is traditional in materials (oils, charcoal, plaster) I find that I can’t make anything if I’m certain how it’ll turn out: in that case I hardly begin and I’ve lost interest, and it’s just as well. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.
I think all artwork is a self-portrait in some sense, so with that said I have to admit the main theme running through all my work is a sense of discomforting emotion. It’s been described as a heavy stillness, a quiet uncertainty, or even, at times, disturbing. I never deliberately apply any of these to anything I make, but I don’t avoid letting emotions show up in the work either. I believe we all need art that reflects our difficult and complex feelings, and though I didn’t exactly choose to make this kind of work, many viewers find empathy here. The best response you can ever get as an artist is when a viewer sees your feelings on the canvas or in the clay, and says ‘Yeah. That? Me too.” For me, that’s everything. We’re in this together.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
I really have no good advice about anything, but Neil Gaiman does:
“Remember that whatever discipline you are in… you have the ability to make art.
And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that’s been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art… Make it on the good days too.”
Making art for me, and for many, isn’t just a pastime. It’s not something I just skip if I am stressed or struggling. I need it more than ever on the bad days. Sometimes all I can do is one drawing. It’s enough. It keeps me going.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My portfolio website (https://rybeloin.webs.com/) has a sampling of the types of work I make, and if you like, sign up for my email newsletter. I am on Instagram (@rybeloin) with some process shots, shower thoughts, and pictures of me touching plants. I also have a Facebook page for professional announcements, and writing, and if you like to read about art, I write about it on Quora (https://www.quora.com/profile/Ry-Beloin). Truly though, my most treasured support comes from people who keep an eye on my feed for events and come see me at shows!
I participate in pop-up events which I enjoy the most, since I feel more at home in the low-key venues, and with the subtle sense of panic that comes with a same-day install. My favorite art events are organized by artists themselves, not institutions or gallerists, and I’ve created my own short-term events which were enormously fun (and sometimes dubiously legal). I teach plaster workshops around town as well. Some murals I’ve worked on, that can be seen by the public: 22nd and Broadway in Golden Hill (you can see it on google maps too) and in the main lobby at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana.
- Website: https://RyBeloin.webs.com/
- Email: RyBeloin@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/RyBeloin/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RyBeloin/
- Other: https://www.quora.com/profile/Ry-Beloin