Expression manifests itself in many forms. For some its as simple as splatters on a canvas, or subtle ambiance through the hi-fi. No matter what that form the expression takes, its usually most relatable when its raw and honest. When an artist can bring forth new vibes from familiar subject matter the art becomes that much more relatable.
This brings me to the artist we’re talking with in this volume of our artist q & a series Ryan Beserra. An up and coming artist with a unique approach to familiar subject matter. His dark comic approach to pop culture is a style I’ve seldom seen captured in the style he uses. Some of his pieces borderline silly, but maintain a dark ¡aesthetic!™ There are few artists that haven’t come from humble beginnings, and Ryan Beserra is no exception to the rule. What makes a humble artist advance is the drive to succeed and the potential to thrive in an ever changing art scene. He has both qualities and I’d like to see him go far, but enough of me talking. Lets see what he has to say….
Q: How long have you been painting?
A: ‘’painting’’? LOL, about 3 weeks now
Q: What first got you into art?
A: I think it was just a natural thing I picked up as a kid…perhaps a divine gift? I spent the last 10 years devoting myself but recently went back to art. It’s a natural gift so it wasn’t that hard to pick it back up again and develop it further.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Hmmm…that’s a tough one LOL. I’m not familiar with ‘’art lingo’’ but if I had to put a name on it I would say POP art with a dash of abstract. I pretty much just draw what’s in my head with some sort of comedic message…whatever that style is.
Q: Aside from the obvious who were your biggest influences?
A: John K, Stephen Hillenberg, Christy Karacas, Rob Zombie…yeah, I know LOL. I’m a real big fan of anything gross and wild…it’s what I grew up on as a kid. I was staying up late watching beavis and butthead and ren and stimpy before I was a teenager. At the moment though my biggest influence is Jim Mahfood…dude is a master of the controlled chaos.
Q: Is there a particular method to your style or do you just go with a mood or emotion?
A: Mood has a lot to do with it, oddly enough. I usually almost always (if I can help it) try to draw without a pencil or some kind of foundation. I like to let my mind run wild. I feel like that’s the best way I can get a piece of art that is not only genuine but intimate.
Q: Aside from paints I saw that you also sell a lot of prints. This is an aspect of the art world that a lot of artists are taking advantage of as a source of income. Do you think that this takes away from the artists original work?
A: Unfortunately, yes. There are some pieces I purposely do not make prints of because, again, it’s too intimate to share with everyone. If someone is interested in that piece then it’s the only one in existence, thus giving it more meaning…not sure if that makes sense. I feel sometimes that prints create a ‘cookie-cutter’ effect on the art scene. You lose originality when all you’re thinking about is appealing to the masses to make a buck.
Q; I honestly think there is, but is there a place in the fine art community for your art?
A: LOL thanks. I hope there is. I think that sometimes I may be too original with my art and the cookie-cutter scene of today’s art buyers isn’t interested or may not get the references in my art. If it isn’t something adventure time related or dead pool related then why buy it? I would like to think that somewhere out there, there are fans of classic 80s & 90s films and cartoons LOL. That isn’t ALL my art but that is mainly what I enjoy doing.
Q: Whats the biggest challenge for an artist in general? And whats the biggest challenge for you in particular?
A: well I would think that the biggest challenge for any artist is perfecting their craft and their style…plain and simple. I think if you truly love what you do and appreciate your gift you never stop improving…like a body builder. People can always tell where you’re at and how serious you are about something by how much you improve at it. The biggest challenge for me personally at the moment is finding that threshold where I’m taken seriously in the art community. The ultimate goal is to be able to do what you love and get paid for it so…
Q: How did you become an artist? (Question from my daughter…lol)
A: Ha – ummm…I’m not sure LOL. I guess when I sold my first original piece of art. The money aspect, although good, didn’t make me an artist. I think I considered myself one when someone really appreciated a piece of work that I did and was willing to give up something of value to them for it…or maybe when I made my first business cards LOL. No, honestly I think I became an artist when I took it seriously, when I invested time and energy into it.
Q: Where do your inspirations come from?
A: The thought of wasting a gift is a huge inspiration to me…as cheesy as that sounds. The older I get the more I realize how precious life is and you just gotta do whatever it is you’re good at. I think the thought of failure pushes me to improve…failure really isn’t an option. That mixed with struggles I’ve gone through…the same thing that pushed me to be a song writer LOL. Weird those situations in my life are the reason for most of my tapped potential.
Q: The struggle to reach the right audience is ever present no matter what area of artistic expression you present. What are your experiences in trying this?
I think you have to start very broad. Eventually you’ll find those areas that are appealing to your audience and you focus on those. It is a gamble sometimes but that’s part of being an artist I guess.
Q: Is there a comradery amongst artist in your genre or is it every man for themselves?
A: Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think for the most part there is a general foundation of respect. Respect doesn’t mean you’re NOT competing, it just means you have a mutual understanding and you’re striving for one general goal. No one is sabotaging each other LOL.
Q: In my opinion art is art, but do you think that your subject matter limits your exposure? Is that even something that you are concerned with?
A: Yes and No. I think it limits the audience that I can reach at this moment, but after I reach my audience goal I can start to branch out…it works both ways.
Q: You use a lot of comic book and/or pop culture images, but you add a darker aspect to the images that I rather enjoy. Is that intentional or is it something that just happens in the creation process?
A: Mos Def intentional LOL. I’ve lived a very dysfunctional life so I think my troubled soul seeps out into the art. Again though, this is the avenue I’ve been gifted with. Where most people with a troubled background stew in their problems, I’ve learned to turn them into something positive. Sometimes you just can’t keep a good man down.
Q:Name a few artist that you look up to.
A: Todd Mcfarlane/Sam Keith…hands down they’ve been my idols since I was like 9 LOL.
Q: Comic book based artist usually use computers and ink pen these days. What made you decide to do your pictures in acrylic paint?
A: I’m a very genuine person…I like to say it like it is. My life is an open book and anyone who knows me knows I speak the truth no matter the consequences. I think my art is a reflection of that. I like to present something that is personal and honest.
Q:Technology is definitely a vital part of an artist tool to gain exposure. How much reliability do you think people should put in that?
A: Unfortunately a lot…our society is built on social media. It’s a tool…use it. Still though, nothing beats a face to face with a smile and a handshake…don’t take that for granted.
Q: Most artists have a goal to get their art on display in galleries. Is this something you want to eventually get into or are you content pursuing exposure in other ways?
A: I’m not sure LOL…I think a part of me prefers a display in someone’s house for all to admire, but a gallery would still be very cool. I’d be content with wherever the wind takes me…exposure is good no matter what.
Q: Do you think familiar subject matter helps the artist more than more untraditional forms of expression?
A: Sometimes…but Karl Albrecht once said ‘’there are only 2 ways to establish a competitive advantage – do things better or do them different’’
Q:Any advice for other artist.
A: Be yourself. It’s simple. I think it’s harder to keep up with the joneses instead of just doing you. Art is hard no matter how you look at it, but nothing worth having was ever easy.