"We, as artists, need spaces like this as outlets for expression, and I felt the need to kickstart some momentum by spraying some color on the walls. "Read More
Acrylic, aerosol, house paint, marker
30" x 44"
2016 - 2017
Original painting is available. Please contact for sale inquires.
The piece was designed to be flipped or hung either way, depending on the mood of the viewer or of the artist. During the process, I would switch the piece around to work on either side, as a compliment to whatever I was feeling in that moment. The piece is themed around the concept of duality, a persistent underlying entanglement of synchronicity which affects all phenomena in our immediate universe, whether we are aware of it or not. Despite how disproportionate things may seem at times, there is always a delicate balance of good and evil, positive and negative, black and white, yin and yang, ebb and flow that is present amongst all matter.
I began this piece at a very turbulent time in my life, where I was seeking self introspection and analysis, through creative expression. For the better part of a decade, I've experienced a consistent yet subtle form of the bi-polar spectrum, most notably characterized by a manic episode that put me in a psychiatric ward at the age of 19. Basically, my mood fluctuates from two extremes, either being deeply depressed, emotional, irrationally bleak, hopeless and reclusive. On the other end of the spectrum, I am manic, excitable, idealistic, super energetic, flooded with ideas, non-stop productive and extroverted. The two moods are very much interconnected. If I allow mania to persist, eventually I burn out, my energy crashes, my drained neurochemistry plummets me into despair and emptiness. If I dwell in sadness for too long, I am inclined to make up for lost time, to push forward harder than before, to strive toward a renewed sense of happiness. Sometimes I shoot too far, my mania takes hold, and the cycle continues.
While creating Split Personalities, I pondered about the interconnectedness of nature, our brains, our environment, our emotions, and our behaviors or choices that influence our overall biochemistry. The red, manic, dilated face, though smiling, has a crazy look in his eyes, as he swallows a mysterious green tablet. The bright red is for the inflammation response in the body that results from high stress/high adrenaline mind states, which can also lead to anger. The festival party in his head, symbolizes the racing, loud thoughts bouncing around in his mind. This version acts upon impulse, he chases the fun and excitement in life, and wants to soak up every last drop of experience to be had. To him, the highs will never end.
The blue, depressed, weary face reflects the darker side of the coin, the one that we would all rather ignore and forget about. The blue reflects the coldness of being alone, of having no hope of repressing your inner feelings. The lurking city spews smoke and pollution, a decaying metropolis, where everyone is separated and disconnected in concrete boxes. A train hurtles toward a broken off track, ready to plummet to its doom. A leaky pipe floods toxins into the ocean, dripping into the characters psyche and polluting his mind. A cigarette burns away the few cares that are left, a quick fix that only further clouds his world. A lone shadowy figure, paddles a small wooden boat, turning his back on this urban prison as he floats into the unknown. The character glances off into the distance, wondering if the lows will ever disappear, though doubtful.
The truth is, neither version of this character is right or wrong, one would not exist without the other. They can only function as polar opposites, whereas the true balance is the middle path: to recognize these states as separate from the Self, temporary in nature, as to not become attached or invested in either one of them, or allowing them to define your real personality. The goal is to increase self awareness, to realize when one state is taking control before it happens, and to return to center, through various tools, practices and disciplines.
Over the years I've explored many remedies and solutions to this condition, most of them offering nothing more than temporary relief of symptoms. I found early on that pharmaceutical medications altered my brain in ways I really didn't enjoy, I felt numbed and spaced out. Eventually I gave up despite what doctors told me, and have self medicated with cannabis ever since, treating depession, anxiety, and general mood swings. Its not a cure all by any means but helps keep my emotions regulated and less rapid fluctuation. Another extremely beneficial ally has been microdosing of psilocbyin, which I have found to provide enormous relief in lowering anxiety, improving mood, increasing focus, energy and sociability, while allowing space for peace of mind and calm introspection. I found microdosing to also have amazing creative advantages, which I utilized several times during the creation of this piece. Once again, there is no magic button to cure this ailment. But when you combine these plant medicines with intention, meditation, yoga/exercise, a clean healthy diet, and writing or creative expression, the results are astounding.
Creating Split Personalities greatly helped me overcome many issues that were holding me back from pursing Art as my true purpose and calling in life, making sense of who I am and why I'm here. The process provided me with enormous benefits, simply by examining my mental states, contemplating them, and expressing them onto canvas, as a therapeutic practice. Art has the power to heal, either through observance or engagement, it allows us a platform in which to express very challenging, abstract feelings or ideas, and to purge them from our system, into something tangible. This can be done by anyone, at any skill level, with any type of creative outlet or medium in which you choose. For me, mixed media painting gives me the happiest feeling, so that's what I choose to do most. The hardest part is overcoming fear, facing one's true Self, and asking, what is it that I'm really trying to say here?
One Love - Ryan
The Harvest Cup was an amazing weekend of painting, vending, sharing new art and meeting rad people. Along with fellow artists Canman (canmancreations.com) and Heilig (heiligart.com) we held down a big section at the DCU Center to showcase our live painting and display original works. We had a great response from patrons, guests, organizers, and vendors alike, helping to strengthen our connection as the visual art wizards amongst the New England cannabis community.
As our first official booth under Artifakt Studios, we released a bunch of new merchandise, including hat pins, t-shirts, mood mats, laser cuts, our 3D sign, as well as a few new prints and originals. To see these products out in the wild, interacted with and collected by people, was very enjoyable. It allows for feedback, to see what resonates with people the most, so we can continue to improve our creative offerings in 2018.
I chose to create a piece from scratch this weekend, something I rarely do, but felt like I needed a new challenge. A sketch was drawn Thursday, the background was made on Friday, and the character was painted Saturday & Sunday during the Cup, and also Saturday night during the Palladium afterparty, joined by Canman, Heilig and Kai Grizzwald. Sets by William Thompson Funk Experiment, DJ Logic and Kong! really blew the doors off the building and had our brushes moving non-stop. What a surreal night it was, to be live painting again at the first gig I ever painted at in 2013 and first met Canman, several epic Disc Jam New Years Eve parties, where I saw my first concert at age 12, to once again be standing here enjoying art & entertainment in a legalized cannabis celebration spent with a few of my favorite artists.
Photos by Angela Cannistraro
Before the end of Saturday night, the "Stoned Gnome" had already found a home.
Great end to a really productive, busy year of projects & exhibitions. I am stoked and ready to continue building Artifakt Studios into its fullest potential during 2018. Aligning with cannabis community has been a blessing to my work and given me an enormous outlet which to inspire new creations. The economic green rush will slowly begin to ripple outward from cultivation and medicine, to arts and culture, and influence the next wave of heady artists to grow and flourish, just the way it has in states like Colorado and California. As a cannabis user for the past 13 years, I have found many benefits to my personal well-being, my health, creativity and overall happiness. I have overcome many cases of depression, anxiety, and physical illness with the help of Mary Jane in all her various forms, and millions of people feel the same way. I feel its important to spread this message, to shed away the trauma of prohibition, of feeling ashamed or guilty for using what nature provides us. The stigma of potheads being lazy, unintelligent, passive hippie losers who contribute nothing to society, is simply false. It is our responsibility, as productive working-class cannabis consuming adults, to express our beliefs and spread the message of the positive healing benefits that cannabis can offer. The world needs as much healing as it can get right now. All Love - Ryan
I'm happy to announce the launch of Artifakt Studios, which will now host all of my freelance graphic design and commission jobs for all clients. My personal artwork will still be featured under my own name, but the website and other social media presences will share the Artifakt Studios moniker. This rebranding has been long overdue, and since I engage in a wide variety of creative pursuits, I need a brand to properly represent my diverse skill set under one umbrella.
Artifakt Studios is a full service creative agency offering custom artwork, outdoor/indoor murals, logos/branding, product design, gallery curation, event deco & more. Over the next few months, we hope to expand into custom framing, laser cutting, vinyl graphics, sign design & other installation projects. We also plan to launch a series of Open Studios sessions, where friends and artists can visit and share creative projects in my personal studio space. Paint workshops are also on the horizon, offering instructional assistance for acrylics and brush work on canvas. Artifakt Studios will host a slew of new media content, including live painting on Facebook and Instagram, more video and photo content, bigger and better online stores, consistent blogging and maybe even a podcast in the future. A whole bunch of new merchandise will be dropping over the next few months, as well as a few new original paintings, and maybe a few collaborations with fellow artists, so keep your eyes peeled for the freshness!
If you have a project in mind, and want to talk about making the vision a reality, drop us a message! Contact Us to get the ball rolling, and subscribe below for updates.
"Temple of Sound and Light"
Acrylics, Aerosol, marker on custom triangle canvas.
2016 - 2017
Started at Fractalfest 2016. The temple is inspired by stage builds, lighting designs and concert production at music festivals all over the world. This piece pays homage to the ancient ritual of human beings gathering for ecstatic dance over rhythmic beats, around some type of sacred altar, edifice or diety, during holy days or periods of celebration.
"Temple of Sound and Light" represents the stage of the future, where the DJ / head vibe controller, levitates in a glowing chamber, using mind waves and meditation to alter the frequencies emitting from the temple. He/she is in tune with the atmosphere surrounding the temple, and harnesses the organic energy sources of water and earth to power the booming soundsystem. A path of fire leads up the temple steps, inviting the viewer to pursue higher states of being, through trials and tribulations.
Bright colorful bursts of light radiate from the core of the temple, creating a dazzling light show that attracts attention from all directions. Mostly notably, the Beacon erupting in flames from the temple's peak, signals to a flying saucer, an extraterrestrial being which has made contact to the powerful frequency channeled below. Or another possibility, the spaceship has launched from the temple below, the collective force has accelerated this new technology into orbit. Either way, the presence of a higher source above the heavens is known, which the temple pilot aspires to reach.
Though this temple possesses a very futuristic sound and lighting system, it's roots are very old and rich in tradition and mystery. Built on rubble, stone, and earthy jungle, the foundation dates back thousands of years. Waterfalls flow through cracks and vegetation covers much of the surface. There is a harmony of elements, as lava flows down the steps, and cloud vapor disperses above the temples lights. The pure plasma energy, which glows bright green, illuminates much of the scene, and synchronizes with the stars amongst background sky.
Through the unification of sound, light, earth, water, fire, air, energy, and space, an alchemical miracle has emerged: a vessel which can allow the being to experience interdimensional travel. This formula, though seemingly novel in nature, derives from the shamanic wisdom of cultures who have passed long ago. We now bear the torch, to continue spreading this knowledge through engaging in tribal dance rituals, temple building, psychedelic plant sacraments, and creative expression, as a catalyst for the healing, liberation, and evolution of our species.
Prints, stickers and other forms of "Temple of Sound and Light" will be available soon.
Recently exhibited my art the 2017 New England Cannabis Convention in Boston MA over the weekend of April 22-23. Huge turnout of activists, enthusiasts, growers, entrepreneurs and patients with a shared love and appreciation for this magical plant.
It's also no secret that the cannabis community shares a love for art as well, of course cannabis enhances the senses and thus makes viewing art more enjoyable. I find it fascinating how diverse the crowd at this event was, people from all walks of life, all ages, genders, races, with a common appreciation for the culture that surrounds the ritual of the herb.
The feedback from attendees was astounding, and resulted in my most successful art vending endeavor to date. The economic boom that this industry is experiencing with legalization has begun to trickle down to the creative fields, and fuel the progression of visionary arts culture here in the Northeast United States. I'm excited to continue supporting this community through my art, connecting with the greater message, and watching the movement grow organically and sustainably.
One Love! - Ryan
“The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman;
he is a sick man who has healed himself.”
- Terrence McKenna
"The Witch Doctor"
2015 - 2016
Acrylic, Spray Paint, House Paint on Canvas
40" x 30"
Many shapes and forms of this art available soon.
This painting began January of 2015, in my home studio. The idea was to create a large sized painting with as much detail as possible. I started by creating layers of the background using spray paint and house paint. A large stencil was hand drawn and cut to fill the void with patterns. Next, I rendered the shape in pencil and slowly filled in layers and layers of acrylic. Half of this piece was sketched out beforehand, but many elements and colors were added or changed as the piece progressed.
The Witch Doctor has traveled and been painted on at many gatherings and locations, it has absorbed inspiration from many perspectives, and been observed by many eyeballs during its evolution. Although a majority of the work was completed in the studio, overall around 200+ hours of painting took place from start to finish. Needless to say it is the most time I have spent on one piece of art in my life.
The concept behind the Witch Doctor, is the depiction of a tribal medicine man, one of universal nature, belonging to no singular origin or creed. He is the archetype of a psychedelic warrior, voyaging and exploring vast dimensions to uncover hidden knowledge. His connection with plants, herbs and fungi opens new doors of healing and awakening. He ceremoniously offers the viewer a cup of his mysterious concoction, as it pulses with the dualistic energy of swirling galaxy waterfalls of abundance. The smoke that arises from the sacraments slowly morphs into colored snakes, two halves of the caduceus, whose venom drips toward the Doctor. His third eye is a blooming explosion, birthing a universe of alchemical infinity, unlocking ancient secrets. Vibrations flow through his ears as he tunes to a higher frequency. The spores and seeds drip from his hands into an endless ocean of stars. All is one.
Acrylics and Spray Paint on a Custom Made Canvas.
The Hive Mind began in May 2016. I built and stretched this canvas as a custom hexagon shape and size. The stencils and background were applied using spray paint and latex house paint. Next, the character was rendered with acrylics, the details refined and finally a layer of glazing to add a glow effect to the bees and hive.
I painted this piece to depict a personification of the "hive mind", or the idea that some organisms, such as honey bees, possess a shared collective consciousness, by communication through frequencies similar to wireless internet. The character here is shown in a state of meditation, tuning into the source and transmitting a unified message to the swarm. The bees, like thoughts flowing in and out of the mind, charged with intention, move swiftly to complete their orders. They search and harvest the sweet nectar of flowers and buds, replenishing the mind of their leader, who bathes in the light of his own inner bliss. His veins grow down into the earth like roots, he exists as one, in harmony with the plants and insects.
Things are starting to come together with the design and build of this new studio. Located at The WorcShop, the largest makerspace in central MA, I am renting a section of a warehouse shop that I have converted into an art studio. Basically everything was designed and cconstructed by myself for about $500 (some supplies and tools I already had or sourced for free). I'm about 50 hours into the project so now seemed like a good time to share some progress.
Since the floor space is only 8' x 12', I have to maximze functionality of this garage bay. I do this by creating accessible storage. Paints, tools, art materials are kept on the ground level. Canvas, frames, vending gear, and other gear is stored up top. The bottom shelf consists of flat files, which store paper, prints and canvas.
The next and final phase will include building a work table on wheels, adding colored and UV lighting, built in ladders for reaching upper shelves, and adding a curtain for 'closing and opening' the shop.
Really loving the layout and flow of the space of far. The project so far has been extremely fun and challenging, forcing me to analyze my approach to making art. I'm excited to see how this atmosphere will influence the creative process. Finally time to break this studio in!
Acrylics on skateboard
2015 - 2016
Available for sale
After 11 months and roughly 70 hours of work, this piece is finally complete. It was started at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, an artist retreat center in Wappinger Falls, New York. The skateboard painting workshop was taught by Chris Dyer, an accomplished visionary artist based out of Montreal, CA. The piece was completed at my studio in Worcester, MA, and will now be exhibited in several shows throughout the year.
The amount of planning, research, sketching, re-sketching, painting and re-painting that went into this piece was very extensive. From start to finish this project was met with heavy attention to detail. Its rare for me to paint a piece entirely in one medium, in this case acrylics. Usually my approach is mixed media, this was a challenge in the sense that it was more of a purist approach.
The Tempest has many hidden concepts and interpretations. The small boat, which glides along the river, symbolizes a person, the viewer, on their personal path of life. The hovering, intimidating skull, is an apparition, an illusion, representing the obstacles of fear, danger and death, that become present along the path. The crown of the skull, sitting tall and out of reach, stands for the pursuit of wealth, fame and power, a desire that is met with extreme risk. The castle, guarded by the crown, is a metaphor for the walls we build around ourselves, the boundaries between the establishment and the people, the fortress of solitude standing dark and lonely. A large storm is brewing above the castle, striking it with lighting, causing the appearance of this demon spirit to emerge. The spirit itself may be a source of dark magic, used to deceive the small traveling ship and lure it astray from its journey, into the abyss. Beyond the mouth of this demon, lies the sunrise, the dawning of new life, a reward for overcoming the menacing allure of The Tempest.
We're about halfway through the busy festival season! With several solid shows under the belt, it feels good to have a few weeks off to relax and catch my breath. Much of my energy has been put into exhibiting new work, developing my vending setup and starting new live painting pieces. Also, I've been putting a lot of focus into building bonds with fellow artists, musicians, performers and friends in the scene who share similar ideals and values regarding creativity. I hope to carry this positive momentum into the next few festivals, and continue growing alongside this community of beautiful, talented human beings.
Here's a photo recap of a few recent events where my art was featured:
FractalFest 2016 - July 8-10 - Stephentown, NY
Disc Jam Music Festival - June 9-12 - Stephentown, NY
Strange Creek Music Festival - May 27-29 - Greenfield, MA
May Day Hey Day - May 1st - The Shop, Worcester, MA
New England Cannabis Convention - April 23-24 - Hynes Center, Boston MA
Summer is approaching fast and planning of festivities has begun. This year I'll be live painting, exhibiting artwork and creating deco for several events and music festivals. Catch me at one of these dates, come say hi, check out some art, and maybe even take some home with you ;) Until then I'll be working to create new pieces to share with you, and collaborating with other artists and event planners to visually enhance your experience of these events. My goal this year is to create large scale decorations/murals/blacklight artwork, create some interactive pieces, teach a few workshops and have a lot of fun. Hope you can make it.
New England Cannabis Convention
April 23-24, Hynes Center, Boston, MA
May 1, The Shop, Worcester MA
The What Collective Showcase
May 19, Electric Haze, Worcester, MA
Strange Creek Music Festival
May 27-30, Greenfield, MA
Disc Jam Music Festival
June 9-12, Stephenstown, NY
June 24-26, Saugerties, NY
Wild Woods Music & Arts Festival
July 29-31, Croydon, NH
and more TBA....
New Dawn, by Ryan Gardell
Original artwork was created using acrylics, spray paint, collage, markers and sharpie on canvas.
Made in 2016.
- Each print is 11" x 14"
- Limited Edition of 50/50
- Hand numbered and signed by the artist
- Digitally printed on Premium Luster Photo Paper using a Canon Prixma Pro-100.
- Comes in a protective sleeve with cardboard backing
- Ready to frame, hang as a poster, or add to a collection!
Each piece of art is an exploration in self-development. You are not the same person when you started the project as you are after you've finished. During the creation of something, you are faced with problems, obstacles, challenges which you must overcome. There is self-doubt, anxiety, stress, pressure, and many other emotional factors which weigh on your psyche. There are many distractions which tempt you away from focusing your attention on your art. You travel deep into the waters of inspiration to bring forth new ideas and approaches. You work tirelessly at all hours of the day and night, 7 days a week, laboring with hands, mind and heart. You sacrifice time, money, quality of life, security, and even health, to work toward your goals. You chase the wildly ambitious, highly unlikely pipe-dream of trying to make a living drawing pictures.
When you finally complete a new work of art, you are a new person, and the piece has become a part of you. It knows your story, it carries your message within its form, your feelings in its colors. You have given life to an idea, manifested a vision into reality, created something you can share with others in the hopes of inspiring them to express their own unique identities. But also, you have grown as a person. You have faced a challenge and succeeded despite the odds. You are humbled. You share authentic interactions and conversations with other humans. You brighten up the world just a little bit more than it was before you came along. And hopefully, if you're lucky, you have inspired another human being to create something new of their own. This is the ultimate reward of making art: to encourage others to discover the rewarding, therapeutic practice of creation.
We are all artists, creating our own realities through our choices, thoughts, beliefs, words, actions, and observations. "Even the business man picks out a tie in the morning". I encourage every human being on this planet to find some creative outlet of self expression, no matter what it is. The reward is in the process, to explore a craft, to dig deep and find out what it is that you truly what to say, to find meaning where words do no justice, to share a feeling through visual imagery. Through this practice of self examination, you will learn things that benefit the creation of your ultimate masterpiece: your life!
Collected here is my entire creative portfolio, all in one place, for you to enjoy and share. This website is about 5 years in the making. Countless hours of painting, drawing, creating, designing, building, photographing, traveling, socializing and collaborating. It's been quite the journey so far, lots of fun times and memories, tons of new friends, great experiences, a lot of hard work, many failures and in the process I managed to finish a few pieces here and there! To see it all come together makes me really happy.
Besides hosting a portfolio, the website also acts as a blog, so most updates, new art, events, new products, etc. will be featured here in the blog from now on, and then shared to social media. Over the next year I would like to add video content to the blog, and really enhance the photography quality as well. I think this format allows me to write more ideas and concepts that normally I wouldn't share on the internet, but for fans of the art who care, it might be interesting.
Also on the website, theres several links to my Etsy shop. Hopefully one day I can fully integrate the store section into the site itself. I recently starting producing my own prints in studio, which means the selection of listings is expanding, turnaround speed will double and print quality will increase substantially! Needless to say these are very good things!
Now please go enjoy the website! :)
P.S. Your feedback and suggestions on the new site are highly encouraged...