PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A successful young artist has emerged out of the graffiti culture of Venice Beach to become an artist in residence at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
He’s overcome many challenges.... including brain surgery.
Watching Ryan Campbell hard at work in his studio is fascinating. A blank canvas is gradually yet methodically transformed into a dazzling display of lines, colors, light and shadow, using common cans of spray paint.
Each moment is planned out in advance, with a theme in mind. The resulting works are big, bold, bright and dramatic.
"I had a natural interest and desire to learn how to make marks, draw, create things, and see things. I’d see these things in my mind and there was sensational appetite to create these things," Campbell told FOX 11's Phil Shuman.
Campbell, who grew up in the LA area, has for past several years lived and worked in the Coachella Valley where the sun, mountains and landscape all interact in a way that has been inspiring generations of artists.
He has been through a lot to get where he his. He had brain surgery in 2019 to deal with epileptic seizures, complicated by a lifelong unusual disorder you’d think would rule out a career as an artist. It's called scotopic sensitivity syndrome, which causes him to have trouble distinguishing between colors; bright whites overwhelm his senses.
"I would notice the white before anything... the white would be the predominant piece of information I would see," he said.
He starts every piece with an all black canvas, it helps him see the layers of color.
His 4 x 5 canvases can sell for up to $10,000.
We’ve spent a lot of time during reporting on the effect the pandemic had on businesses, schools, restaurants and so on but we haven’t focused much on the artistic community, which of course was hit hard when shows, galleries and museums were shut down.
Campbell is still hard at work in his studio looking forward to the return of what we think of as normal…of exhibits, shows, sales. But, isolation can and does fuel creativity….for true artists are often in a world of their own anyway. It’s about the process, it's about the work, not the money.
He and so many other creative people, have kept doing what they do under difficult circumstances, with some help from a group called Desert X which supports artists and sponsors public display of modern art in the Desert.
You can learn more about the work they do at https://www.desertx.org/
We're happy to share Ryan’s story with our FOX 11 viewers.
You can see more of his art, including locations of his murals at https://www.rmc1studio.com/