Ryan Delgado is the artist who is featured this month at the Gamber Center. The Journal asked the Kansas City born and raised artist who currently lives in Greenwood a few questions about how he got started in expressing his creative side.
What first got you interested in art?
RD: I’ve always loved art since I was a young child. The idea of creating something with my own two hands has always appealed to me. I became very interested in realism and portrait drawing when I was 14, and started doing simple landscape painting in oils when I was 15. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had learned about some of the Old Masters of the Renaissance and Baroque, and Diego Velázquez had become my favorite of all. I’ve always been amazed by his work, and he was my first influence as a portrait painter.
Who inspires you to be creative?
RD: Above all else, God inspires me to be creative. If I could state my purpose and objective as an artist in a sentence, it would be to honor God by doing my best with the colors I have to imitate His creation. I’m also inspired by other artists, both past and present. I am mainly influenced by painters and sculptors of realism from the 16th century to now. A great painting or sculpture by a great artist inspires me to constantly push myself to become better at what I do. We’re never at our absolute best, and that’s the beauty of being an artist.
When did you have your first show?
RD: As a student, my first show was in high school. As a professional, it was the Blue Springs Fine Art Show in 2010. My first solo exhibition was at Latte Land on the Plaza in Kansas City in 2011.
Where is a place you like to paint?
RD: My favorite place to paint is in the comfort of my studio at home.
Why is art important and relevant today?
RD: We have so much media and noise bombarding our lives on a daily basis from TV, internet and social media, radio, and our cell phones. On top of that, many of us work fast-paced jobs and live a fast-paced life while eating fast-food. Art has a profound relevance for us today because it does what it has always done – it teaches us to slow down. It teaches us to enjoy a moment of serenity and beauty without worrying about anything else in that moment. Some of us need a lot of work in that area of life. If you’re at a gallery or museum surrounded by great art, and you’re more fascinated with your cell phone, something is terribly wrong.
I teach portrait painting to a small private group of students, and one of the challenges some of my students have voiced is their lack of patience. So even for some artists, slowing down is hard to do. We want to be able to do quick 30-minute Bob Ross-style paintings, but I have learned and continue to learn over and over again that there simply are no shortcuts to real excellence in painting. And I’m sure that applies to other areas of life as well.
Delgado’s art can be seen at the Gamber Center, 4 SE Independence Ave, until July 17.