The Artist

Choose Your Own Trance

About The Artist

Ryan Vai (b. 1987)

The Artist's body of work marries wild spaces and mundane objects with her formal training in the Fine Arts. Ryan was raised in Chadds Ford, PA, amid the natural splendor that inspired Wyeth and other classical American Artists. She studied at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, as well as the Delaware College of Art and Design. A self described "life long student of Nature", she draws inspiration from organic shapes, native plants, and continually studies the human form.

Ryan Vai Portrait

the Process

Searching for antique picture frames is the first step in my creative process. I visit thrift stores, antique shops, and estate sales searching for pieces that will compliment my style. Once I’ve collected several unusual pieces- I cut hardwoods (mahogany, birch, maple) to fit the frames. Then, a thin sheet of copper is trimmed to cover the hardwood and complete the foundation.


Next, 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 contributes to the illuminated, life-like quality resonant in classical art.



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, just as Artists have done for hundreds of years.