The Artist

Choose Your Own Trance

Artist Statement

Rarely do we stop to ponder images on social media, or television. Our senses are overwhelmed by the hypnotic melee of color, shape and sound. Modern media is rapid, pervasive, and highly addictive. It is a surrogate stream of consciousness, widely consumed without question or protest.  


Reflecting upon Classical Art I often wonder, What happened to Culture? What has technology given us and taken away? Is Modern Art substantial? Is it healthy for human psychology?


There is (inherently) nothing like the possession of an original, tangible work of Art. It is like the perfect Lover- dynamic, rare, Yours. Its scarcity is romantic. Its idiosyncrasies draw you deeper. Its value is revealed through careful study. Objects can serve as more than mere tools, or decoration- they can be heirlooms, luxurious symbols, and personal talismans.


I seek relationships between time, value, and beauty. My work embraces slow craftsmanship, traditional materials, and sustained intimacy. Each painting emerges carefully, in real time, without digital intrusions or political agendas. 


I prefer choosing my own trance. 

The mystical persuasion of perfect light, human hands, and our collective past.


the Process


Searching for strange, ornate frames is the first step in my creative process. Treasure hunts always excite me. I scour thrift stores, antique shops, and estate sales for pieces that compliment my style. Once I’ve collected several shapely, in tact frames- I cut hardwoods (mahogany, birch, maple) to size, and a thin sheet of copper is trimmed to cover the hardwood foundation. After adhesive is set, I gently sand the copper surface, and rub it with raw garlic to help give my paint more traction. This unique process was recorded during the Renaissance and offers a smooth, luminous surface that wood and canvas simply can’t compete with. Pairing copper with fatty oil paint lends to the illuminated, life-like quality resonant in classical art. Light is able to penetrate through pockets of oil between pigments- reflect off the copper- and meet the viewers eye. 


Oil paint has been my chosen medium since I first encountered it at the age of 15. The slow dry times, flexibility, and range of natural colors are well suited to my style of painting. I produce approximately 6-8 paintings per year, and they each take several months to complete on rotation. I primarily accept landscape commissions in addition to other self initiated works.  

My Italian heritage greatly influences subject matter and technique decisions. Many of my paintings incorporate chiaroscuro lighting, and references to Etruscan Folk Magic. Still life compositions are arranged after the collection of specific objects, and research into their ritual use. These scenes are illuminated and captured exclusively by candle light, as Artists have done for thousands of years.


About The Artist

Ryan Vai (b. 1987)

Ryan's current body of work marries wild spaces with her formal training in the Fine Arts. She was raised in Chadds Ford, PA, amid the natural splendor that inspired Wyeth and other classical American Artists. Ryan studied at Moore College of Art and Delaware College of Art and Design. She considers herself a life long student of Nature.