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Piece of the Week: ‘Circles’ by Ryan Humphrey

The portfolio of UK based artist Ryan Humphrey is a maddening display of raw power. Humphrey is an artist wonderfully unhinged – his work is erratic, seemingly childish, sexual, and most of all, ambitious.

Any one of Humphrey’s pieces could have been a top choice for Piece of the Week. I’m an absolute sucker for his brand of beautifully delirious pencil work. His piece “Circles” contains so many amazing ideas and details it’s staggering; a drawing that blends everything that Humphrey does on one page.

"circles" by Ryan Humphrey

“Circles” is a jagged assemblage of colors and techniques. The face is perfectly rendered, then finished with a wild man’s sense of color. The figure itself is in the midst of evolving, with Humphrey paying no mind to representing a photo-real body. He ignores basic figure drawing to put something entirely unique on the page.

Humphrey does use a soft touch in certain areas; the shaded arms, the precise strokes of color in the circles, and adds to it all rough and seemingly clumsy pods of color. Crayon-like scrawls sprout from the figure’s hands, the hair. The mouth kissed with a child’s paw of purple.

Humphrey is a brave and brazen artist willing to do something that a good number of serious fine artists won’t do – have fun. His is a look and style mostly seen in graffiti and street art, loose and reckless. A wonderfully manic expulsion of ideas spills out from his brain.

In an age where pixels can emulate paint and ink with perfection, Humphrey’s dedication to a strict set of graphite, wax, and other rudimentary tools gives his work a primal echo of animal immediacy.

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