Contemporary fine artist Dennis Ryan, Pennsylvania, USA
By order of an inner driving force, something he cannot fight, Dennis Ryan is a conceptual fine artist. He paints, draws and prints about psychological disorders (i.e. anxiety, phobias, depression, mainly focused on OCD — obsessive compulsive disorder).
Why paint about these mental disorders? The artist is raising awareness about how debilitating mental illness can be and because he finds them profoundly interesting! Don't you? For the mind controls every aspect of our bodies and without healthy minds... we are a bit screwed.
As an up and coming fine artist, Dennis creates his fine art in a studio that's located in the land where the Amish buggies roll. He finds plenty of inspiration to create art and paint from the cow filled, countryside pastures on the western outskirts of Philadelphia, PA.
He grew up on the south side of Easton, Pennsylvania. His art skills noticeably started to develop in his early childhood years. He moved away from his hometown his freshman year in high school, and with that move, consequently lost a good many of his lifelong friendships. In solitude, his focus turned central to art.
At age 18 he entered the military. Ryan chose this nontraditional path for an artist to help right his life's direction, and to get money for secondary education through the GI Bill. While in the Navy, even though his drill sergeants and Chief Petty Officers tried to strip his individuality, Ryan continued to express himself and create artwork at every opportunity. In boot camp, he was chosen to paint the company flag, and then also to paint a wall mural in the Naval Hospital on base. Once on the ship, he even graffiti stenciled his job symbol — of a Gunner Mate Missile Tech — onto the back of his military uniform jacket, surprisingly without consequence.
After the military, he went on to fine art studies from PCA&D (Pennsylvania College of Art & Design) in downtown Lancaster, PA, and then on to Millersville University in Millersville, PA where he completed his bachelors degree in the arts with honors. He now resides in a county on the outer edge of Philly. This home base affords easy striking distance to many art galleries in central Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pa.
Dennis is creative by nature and has a passion for drawing, printmaking and painting. With artworks on permanent display in Great Lakes, IL, Easton, PA, and Newport, RI, he approaches the creation of his art with a focus on line, shape and color. The art's concept is vital to his work... after all he is a conceptual artist. He likes to experiment with how line can define itself in the form of the written word, like a signature, and also how the same line can encapsulate and create form. Silhouettes are a recurring theme in Ryan's fine art as he enjoys their presence and ambiguity.
Medium of choice
This contemporary artist sometimes uses just about anything that is in reach to paint with and paint on, but prefers to use acrylics on wood as they usually take as much abuse as he can put out. In rare cases he'll pull out the old paint gun, small paint rollers, self-cut plastic stencils, vinyl, masking tape, shoe strings and he always seem to find a use for Windex® and Isopropyl alcohol. He frames some of the finished wood pieces with 1/4 - 1/2 inch industry standard white PVC; it seems to fits the OCD consistent theme.
What is conceptual fine art?
Conceptual art is a form of art in which the idea and the process by which it is made and presented take precedence over the finished piece. In fact, the artwork's idea is more important than its execution. In at nutshell, Dennis is not painting pretty pictures to make sales or to match your couch. Aesthetic attention is there, but it takes a backseat to the concepts.
Kick the faucet?
The domain name "kickthefaucet.com" comes from a story that was told many years back. The story was from a young man suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. He was in therapy, while being discharged from the military for his mental disorder, when he confessed to his therapist that he would actually kick the faucet off with his foot (in public restrooms) after he washed his hands. He did this because he was very phobic about germs getting on his hands from the faucet's handle. His therapist bursted into laughter when she heard this confession. Evidently, the therapist did apologize later to the young man and explained it just struck her funny as she imagined him jumping up and karate kicking the faucet. The name "kick the faucet" has stuck ever since.
Around the same time as this story, an artist named Dennis Ryan was taking several psychology courses while getting an art degree, at a local state university, in Millersville, PA. He was also spending several hours a month of professional learning at a nearby veterans' mental health hospital. While in what he likes to call his psychology learning stage, Dennis learned a great deal about many different psychological disorders. He learned about general anxiety disorder (GAD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and, of course, OCD. And with the knowledge gained from these studies and interactions, he feels apathetic for all those that suffer and struggle every day with these disorders constantly nagging at their brains. See, most of these conditions are serious chemical imbalances in the brain. These mental disorders are a disabling reality for millions of people. In fact these psychological disorders, or diseases, can be so severe that the sufferers need daily medication doses to control their symptoms just so they can function normally. Needless to say, the experiences with these individuals and their disorders have changed one artist's life and most importantly to this website... his artwork!
Dennis no longer volunteers at the clinic, as he found that some of the compulsive ideas seemed a bit contagious. Wondering... is it possible that a chemical imbalance disorder like OCD can be contagious? So to say, if a thought pattern can, in theory, actually induce the body and mind to increase or decrease its levels of serotonin, couldn't that become a slippery slope, sliding from a form of superstitious behavior into uncontrollable obsessive compulsive behavior?
Dennis Ryan artwork facts: conceptual art — paintings, prints & drawings
Other psychological disorders and mind diseases Dennis is currently researching
Concepts that may end up in Ryan's future fine art: Acute Stress, Agoraphobia, Alzheimer's Disease, Antisocial Personality, Anxiety, Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar, Cyclothymic, Dementia, Depression, Dissociative Identity, Drug Addiction, Dysthymic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety (GAD), Munchausen Syndrome, Narcissistic Personality, Panic, Paranoia, Parkinson's Disease, Post-Traumatic Stress, Schizophrenia, Selective Mutism, Social Anxiety Disorder.
Fine artist concepts: psychological disorders, anxiety, OCD, phobias, depression