Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why do I create Mats for my paintings out of Cardboard??

It came about as an accidental inspiration from viewing the original  painting 'The Scream" by Evard Munch at an Art Exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta back in 1996 when the city hosted the Summer Olympics. You ALL know this painting. You have seen it and more than likely never gave it much thought. I know I did.
That is, until I saw it the original hanging in this art exhibit. It really wasn't that big AT all. It was a significantly small piece next to all the other 'more eye catching, monumentally larger' works that demanded to be seen. I just happened to be standing near to it and I saw it and said 'Hey, I know that one!" to no one but myself. But really, no. I didn't *know* it at all.
I read the placement card for it and found myself amazed. It was painted around the mid 1890's by this artist, Evard Munch. It mentioned that it was painted on cardboard to depict the artist's despair as he was so destitute at the time, he could not afford canvas to paint his images.

What?? on cardboard in the 1890's?? Cardboard existed back then?? I took a closer look at it...and sure could see the corigation under the painting...and it has survived all this time. The paint survived and,  unless it was restored, the colors were still very bright. I was amazed. I also found myself respecting this artist more, because I understood his situation very well. That and he didn't let 'not being able to afford supplies' stop him from creating and doing what came natural to him. To create and express himself by any means neccessary.

So...coming to my own story, I found I was in the same boat. Only, it was to create mats for my artwork. I couldn't afford the price of a matboard- OR to have it cut down to the sizes I needed it cut at. I was on the bus and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a huge sheet home safely. I also knew my own matcutter was too small to accomodate the sheet as well....what to do??
I bought 'precut' mats and they were so thin that it took NOTHING to crinkle an edge. Just pitiful...

Then one day, at my job, I spied a stack of soon-to-be-crushed cardboard boxes and it made me think of that painting. I also started thinking that if that painting survived since the 1890's..then what were the chances my own paintings on cardboard would survive as well??....hhhmmmm....

Needless to say, I asked for a few of the boxes. Got them home in trashbags on the train (you gotta do what you gotta do) and got to measuring and cutting and painting...and today, thanks to Mr. Munch, he was my total inspiration for how that started...
This is how a few of my paintings look with my handpainted cardboard mats:
1st one is called 'Decatur Cemetery Gate'.
2nd is 'Large Cross from Decatur Cemetery'. Yes, truly an original title.
3rd is 'Bat Folkie Art' I painted the mat to be like the painting so it is an *extention* of the art.

This one was one of my first attempts- before I knew what the heck I was doing! The piece is called 'Destiny'. I have to say, I really liked how the fire looked, but I don't really *feature* is painting anymore. It was the result of one of my own crisis in my life.

This below is the painting by Edvard Munch that you know you know, that inspired the way I do mats today. Thank you Mr. Munch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How I Became Myself...


Let me start out by introducing myself.
My name is Angela Ryer and I am an artist. I have been creative all my life and more than likely, like most artists, I am influenced by the things I love.

I grew up in a normal home with a normal mom and dad. I loved horses like any normal 5-6 year old girl. I had a play vanity in my room and fake makeup to play dress up with, not to mention a play stove and oven so I could do all those gender related playhouse roll playing games that was suppose to influence me in how I was *suppose* to be one day, ha. Joke was on all of them. ;-)

Actually, my true love was, what is now known as, Classic Horror Movies.
Barbie was not my idol. Fay Wray was. Elsa Lanchester. Not to mention Boris Karloff, Bella Lugosi, Lon Chaney Sr AND Jr., Peter Cushing, Peter Lorre and the irrestistable elegance of Vincent Price!

I also discovered the joys of Japanese Monster movies as a youngster too. My 1st love was the flying blue turtle known as Gamera. Then later I discovered Godzilla...and that was it. I was done.

Growing up, for reasons I'll never understand, my family seemed to nurture these interests. I say that, only because I've heard stories of people my age being taken to therapists for loving things like this back in those times. My family provided me with Original Aurora models (this WAS back in the '70's) of The Phantom of the Opera, Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare and Godzilla.
I recieved lots of old books on the subjects too. Anything on the subject of Horror Movies as all the above mentioned *loves* would be incorporated in one way or another...although, I don't think my dad really bothered to look at the books before buying them. I say that after finding them again. Looking through them, I found myself laughing. They were riddled with Female Nudity!!! As a kid, I never noticed such stuff. It just was what it was. Books loaded with Horror Movie Images and Japanese Monsters!

It really amazes me, now that I'm thinking about it...for all these interests, how the hell did I become an Osmond Brothers Fan???...stranger things have happened I suppose.

I guess this is where my love of art came in. Because of my love of Japanese Movie Monsters, I found myself attempting to draw these creatures. I loved them. Trying to recreate my favorite battles, or using my own imagination to do them myself. I was also obsessed with the spooky images of horror presented in my old classics.  Here I was 6-8 years old, drawing horse drawn hearses, scary trees, iron fences and old cemeteries. Again, one wonders how I didn't end up on a therapist's couch.
These things made me HAPPY. Scary things rocked my world. There's just no other way to put it...Needless to say, I LIVED for Halloween and everything it represented! Candy was just an added bonus to the deal!

But then, something happened.
I grew up. Got a job. Got involved in the real world. My old life faded away. Halloween was 'just another day'. My job made me numb.

I remember, back when I was around 28, just a few days before Halloween I was riding the train home from work. I had really just been...*blllaahh* the whole day. I had been thinking about what Halloween had been like as a kid and what it meant to me. I wanted to feel that way again. I really wasn't drawing much anymore at this point in my life. I had become very boring...dead inside. Riding the train that night, I got it in my head that I was going to get off a stop earlier and walk over to the local historic cemetery. There is a Gazebo just inside the old part and it was always a pleasant place to sit and think-- to take in the beauty of the area. I wanted to sit there and *just be*. Mind you, when I've normally done this it was always in the daylight. This was evening and it was dark out and it never occured to me that my sitting area might *feel* a little different this particular time of day.

Standing outside the huge gates, as I had said earlier, it was a late October evening very close to Halloween. There was a decent breeze that night and a slight coolness in the air. I stood there thinking 'Gee. Looks more omnious in the dark' (REALLY????? lol). But I didn't let that stop me. I started in. I told myself I could do this. and I headed for that Gazebo. I passed a clearing of trees and right before me was this HUGE bright Full Moon. It was so close to the treeline that I couldn't help but notice that it made the old headstones seemingly glow in it's light. A breeze kicked up and a tornado of dead leaves whooshed around and up into the air. This scene had all the hallmarks of what I loved as a child. The mystery, the beauty, the scense of forboding and I found myself feeling rather trepidatious in my simple quest to reach that Gazebo.
Again, I told myself, That I was ok, I'm fine. I can do this. It's just right over th... and THEN it happened.

This HORRIBLE mournful ghostly wail just wafted across the cemetery grounds and I stopped DEAD (no pun intended) in my tracks! I felt every ounce of color in my body drain out my feet and suddenly my thoughts went from ' I'm ok' to 'Gee, HOW fast can they REALLY dig out of the ground??'

I yelled to myself "STUPID ANGIE!!!! STUPID!!"

The next thing I knew, my feet turned around and left the rest of me standing there!! I ran like my hair was on fire and the devil was after me!

When I reached the safety of the outside of those forboding gates, I stood there panting my fool head off saying, "Wow...that was interesting..." lol

I had just scared the FOOL out of myself and that was all I had to say! One thing was for certain, I didn't feel *numb* anymore! I felt more alive than I had in years...
It made me feel like I always did watching my old classic horror movies. That night had all the right elements. I never forgot that.

You'll never guess what the ghostly wail ended up being. If you want to will have to ask me! ;-)
When I realized what it was a few days later, I was so embarrassed. But in that made all the difference in making that night more exciting and scary!

But I digress.

As you can see. I have a sincere love for the dark. It has always been a part of who I am as a is also a huge part of who I am as an Artist.

Today, in my life, I celebrate that part of my being. I incorporate it into my work. I created my own line of Halloween Themed Christmas Ornaments. I call them X-Mas Ornaments. I created them because I could never find the kinds of ornaments I wanted for my tree. Everything that I found in stores was too cute or a ghost skiing down a hill. Boring.

I wanted something that celebrated images from those old movies I used to watch. So I created Spider Web Ornaments, Toe Pincher Coffin Orns, Old Tombstones, Black Cat on a Tombstone in front of a Full Moon, various ghost images, not to mention a couple with Skulls. My hope is to reach more people like myself. That may want these images on thier trees too. I figure I can't be the only person out there that loves things like this. My goal is to keep creating these ornaments and to find others out there that might not know this is something they HAVE to have!

I KNOW you are out there and you are waiting for me!

To find me directly, you can visit my Website:
Or if you feel inclined to adorn your own Halloween/Christmas Tree with some creepy cool Sculpted, Handpainted Ornaments, then go no further than my Etsy Store at:

To read an article about my wares (and my then pending venture as a first {and apparently only} time vendor at DragonCon) by the incredibly awesome Zombie Cat Productions, you can click here!:

Besides creating my Ornaments, I am also a photographer. I walk through cemeteries, therefore I shoot photos. I print out photos, I create paintings of my photos.
What can I say?? It's a vicious circle of love for me!
I take discarded cardboard. I cut out a mat. I paint the mat. My prints of my paintings become art with original work attached to it.

Later, I will talk more about the cardboard mats and *why* I do this.

But I suppose that is it for right now! I sincerely hope I have not bored you to death. I hope I have entertained you a little. I hope you came  away with a little bit more about what makes me tick as an artist. I hope to find more of you likeminded people out there. I know if I exist, so do you!