I want to share an amazing individual with you. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a young and accomplished artist, Ryan A Sobkovich. At only 20 years of age, Ryan creates artistic masterpieces that portray his great love for Muskoka and its natural beauty.
I had visited a cottage and his work was displayed everywhere. I asked the owners about him and when I learned that he was only 20 years old, I just had to find out what motivates him to paint these breathtaking paintings.
Ryan is humble, intelligent, and passionate. He shares his love for the air, nature, trees, water, Muskoka, Algonquin Park and all areas of Canada through his artwork.
I asked Ryan a variety of questions, but I'll narrow it down a bit for you so you can understand just how amazing and successful this young man is.
Me: "How did it all begin?"
Ryan: "When I was 9 years old I learned how to properly combine paint and apply it onto the canvas using a variety of methods. When the other kids were playing outside at recess, I was painting. I attended art classes in Collingwood and had my first art show in the library. I then sold my work in a small tent at a flea market when I was 10 years old.
"In grade 9, I became more focused and determined. I began to realize what I wanted to do with my life. My dream was to be an artist. I wasn't sure if this was realistic so I enrolled in architectural courses just in case my dream didn't come true or if I couldn't make a living at it. I entered two paintings in a juried art show in the Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts in Collingwood where I won 1st and 3rd. One of those paintings sold to a prominent collector.
"At 16, I was represented by my first gallery in Clarksburg, Ontario. At 17 years old, I entered my works in the Ryan Fine Art Gallery in Port Carling and have been represented by them since then. I exhibited at my first major exhibition at the Toronto Art Expo and sold twelve paintings within the first few hours in my booth. People were gathering around because they couldn't believe I was only 17.
"I then enrolled in the Advanced Fine Art program at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. At 18, I exhibited my work at The Artist Project again in Toronto, which was a great success! During the last two years, my art has been featured in galleries in Ireland, Egypt and across Canada. I was 'Best in Show' at the 25th Annual Autumn Art Sale at the McMichael Collection in Kleinburg in October 2015. This means that I sold the most paintings out of the 50 artists included in the exhibition and sale." I will be graduating in April 2016."
Me: "How do you paint?"
Ryan: "There are a few ways I like to paint. I enjoy painting 'en plein air' the way Tom Thomson and some of the Group of Seven did. I enjoy painting in nature. While I am hiking and kayaking I take numerous pictures, draw many sketches, take videos, and then go back to my studio and work on capturing what I saw or envisioned in my mind. I just bought a drone, which will help to take pictures when I can't physically be there to hold the camera."
Me: "What inspired you to start painting?"
Ryan: "I fell in love with Monet's work and Impressionistic styles. I took some tips that I could use in my own work."
Me: "Do you do other types of art?"
Ryan: "I like draw portraits, figure drawing and animals. I also create stainless steel, bronze, and stone sculptures."
Me: "Will you travel?"
Ryan: "I am taking a year off to travel when I graduate from Georgian College. I would like to visit Ireland. There may be a documentary created about me in the Arctic if I choose to paint there. I would like to paint the west coast as well. I just did an east coast series of paintings after visiting there last summer. Recently I displayed my work at the MacClaren Art Center in Barrie in a group exhibition."
Me: "Do you have any hobbies?"
Ryan: "My hobbies are just like any other 20-year-old. My hobbies and passions mesh so I am lucky. I enjoy travelling, hiking, kayaking, camping and photography."
Me: "How long does it take to do a painting?"
Ryan: "It takes approximately one or two weeks to do a small painting and a large painting can take up to a month to complete. The larger paintings tend to sell to established collectors and corporate buyers."
Me: "What are your future plans?"
Ryan: "I have exhibitions planned over the next four years that are throughout Canada. They will keep me very busy. I plan to display my work at other exhibitions throughout the world, but I do not know which locations right now."
Me: "How do you stay grounded with all of your success?"
Ryan: "I love to be in nature. It grounds me. Kayaking is my form of meditation and just being out there and breathing in the fresh air relaxes me."
Me: "Do you paint all of the time?"
Ryan: "No, that would be too mentally exhausting. I paint one day and rest the next. I need the day in between to reset and I usually get outdoors to go kayaking or hiking. I plan to purchase a property in the Parry Sound area where I can have a larger studio space."
Me: "What is your dream?"
Ryan: "I aspire to put Canada on the map and bring more recognition to this beautiful part of the world.”
I was in complete awe after meeting Ryan and learning more about him. I wanted to share my experience with all of you. Please feel free to learn more about him through his portfolio website. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him and I wish him success with every brush stroke forward.