Richard Ryan’s London silkscreen print portfolio
By Guy Sangster Adams
In Richard Ryan’s four pop art visions of the streets of London, reality coalesces with the fantastical and romanticised, as emblematic pageantry, the iconic red profusion of buses, telephone boxes, and pillar boxes, youth culture, graffiti art, and a menagerie of animals evoking Britain’s classic children literature from Lewis Carroll, to Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, and Dodie Smith, run wild in a predominant palette of bright reds, blues, and yellows, across halftone urban vistas.
Thus on the corner of Savile Row, the street in London’s Mayfair internationally famous for the finest bespoke tailoring, stands a top-hatted androgynous dandy, in the lea of a trio of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s classic telephone boxes and an unfurled Union Jack umbrella, paid homage to by a proliferation of Peter rabbits and Benjamin bunnies. Whilst across town, in the little known but evocatively named, London Street, close to Paddington Station, a debutante in a voluminous Union Jack ball gown, escorted by two of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, makes stately progress along the down-at-heel street, past the graffiti and stencil art—including a hot pink Winston Churchill with a Tommy Gun—daubed riveted steel of the railway bridge parapet.
Outside Victoria Station, a boots and braces Skinhead stalks away from a woman wearing a British policeman’s helmet, reimagined in Houndstooth check, a belted yellow Macintosh, and a parrot on her shoulder. Then, to the fore of the Houses of Parliament, a bullet belted woman on a Mod Union Jack scooter trails three Fantastic Mr Foxes on Punk collars in one hand and three Burberry shopping bags in the other, as a bowler hatted City gent walks away toward Big Ben.
Born in Santiago, Chile, Richard Ryan began working as a photographer in Stockholm, Sweden, where he continues to live and work. With a long held passion for mixed-media prints, he quickly developed a way to combine his photography with graphic and fine art techniques to create images suitable for creating silkscreen prints. He created his first portfolio of prints, Homage á Warhol, in 2005, followed by The Manhattan Art Portfolio (2007), Homage á Klein (2009), Stamp On (2010), Nikki Beach Edition (2011).
For the London portfolio he utilised not only photographs that he had taken, such as the woman in the Victoria Station print, which originated as a shot he took of a Swedish fashionista on her lunch break, but also archive images and scrapbook items. Whilst, intriguingly, his model for the woman on the scooter in the Houses of Parliament print is French actress, Audrey Tautou; a reference, he explains to the Entente Cordiale. Joie de vivre certainly abounds in the four prints, and in exploring the multiple layers of the London’s culture ‘from afar’, and in collaging and paring down styles, moments, history, and signifiers he gets under the skin of the city in a fun, fascinating, immediate and celebratory way.
The London prints measure 480x624mm and are in a limited edition of 350. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist, and cost £400 each or £1200 for the whole portfolio, and are available from www.artnowfactory.se