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I began drawing at a very early age, using pencils and pens as my weapons of choice. It wasn't until my senior year of college that I really "discovered" painting. Now I can't imagine my life without it. I wake up every single day with the urge to make something with my hands.
I like to experiment in a wide variety of materials, tools, techniques and surfaces.  I incorporate a lot of realism in my work, but I also enjoy being very loose and gestural as a way to be more expressive. Oil on wood is my preferred method for detailed brush work and fine detail, but I also like dabbling with stenciling and spray paint, big and loose strokes with acrylics, smears and splatters with a palette knife, and painting on found objects. Not always, but usually the juxtaposition of several of these applications show up  in my work.
I'm interested in how various materials interact together, but I'm even more interested in how I can take those materials and use them along with different elements and subject matters  to create one unified composition. I call these compositions "Mash-ups". I have been influenced by so many different types of art and artists of the years, so this is my way to tell a story as well as a way and celebrate those influences.
I like to explore different themes and subject matters, but animals and nature have been huge influences in my life, so some form of the natural world usually show up as the subject itself, or some kind of symbol. I've been fascinated with nature since before I could walk and to this day I still have a child like wonder and curiosity about animals. My goal is to hopefully inspire others with my artwork in the same way that nature has inspired me.
 
I am also inspired by humans. I am curious about their physical features, their journeys, their imperfections and flaws. Humans are both beautiful and tragic, and I want to try and help tell their stories as well as how they have impacted me in some way.
Thirdly, I am inspired by food. Not necessarily about how it nourishes the body, but how it connects us. I love how food connects cultures, fosters relationships and ultimately brings us all closer together. 
To sum it all up, painting has been the most honest form of self expression that I could ever hope to broadcast to my tiny corner of the universe. I have so many influences and so many stories that I would like to tell, it can sometimes be overwhelming. But I'm going to keeping on telling these stories, figuring it out as I go, one stroke at a time, and hopefully inspiring one or two folks along the way.
Ryan Wagner

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